We've all meet people who live with a great sense of foreboding. As I heard one gentleman say, "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen to me." Like bitterness (the aftermath of difficulties as experienced by those who fail to see the loving providence of God in all things), an attitude of apprehension regarding the future does not merely affect the bearer thereof. The personal poison of fear spreads to others through attitudes, words, and actions that anticipates misery rather than the promised presence and involvement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?' (Isaiah 51:12-13).
"They all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done" (Nehemiah 9:6).
Fear in one fosters fear in others, be they few or many. More importantly, faith accomplishes the same. If my expectations include God's working in blessings, difficulties, and the everyday realities of life, I will invariably encourage others to confidence. Conversely, if I harbor a godless expectation, I pass on the poison. My demeanor and attitude communicates even if I never express a word of doubt and trepidation. "No man is an island" wrote the poet John Donne. More importantly, the Lord Jesus proclaimed the power of our influence - "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). We live interconnected lives with others, and our expectations, whether according to Truth or not, affect everyone around us.
Do we consistently expect God, as it were? If so, we know that blessing, trouble, and the mundane are all coming. We know even more that the Lord will be waiting for us in all, and He will accompany us during the journey. We will experience the normal human reactions to all. Pleasant things will please. Difficulties will ruffle the feather. And the mundane will seem ordinary and without luster. However, if "My expectation is from Him," a consistent peace and assurance will grace our hearts, and again, the hearts of those around us (Psalm 62:5). I've long maintained that one of the greatest tools of ministry to others we possess is the Christ-enabled capacity to consistently know the peace of God. A growth process is required, even as the Apostle Paul confessed, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11; emphasis added). We must be sure we have signed up for the course, as it were, by determining to believe that God constitutes the great fact of our moments to come. Such a chosen belief germinating into conviction assures a harvest of peace that will bless the garden of our own hearts and those of others.
"Edify one another."
(I Thessalonians 5:11)
Weekly Memory Verse
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.