Don’t Let Fear Overtake You

Acts 21:10-14 ESV

“While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”’ When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’”

We Belong to Jesus

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, our lives become his and not our own, for he bought us back for God with his blood shed on that cross that we might now be God’s possession and that he might be Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives. And this is why Jesus said if we want to come after him that we must deny (refuse) self and take up our cross daily (die with him daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. We now belong to Him.

And Paul understood that. He understood much more than that, for he knew that being a follower of Jesus Christ meant daily denial of self and a willingness to be hated and persecuted for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of righteousness. He understood that his life was no longer his own, that he was bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, and so he was now to honor God with his body.

And so he was willing, if necessary, to be persecuted and even killed for the sake of the preaching of the gospel, if that was the will of God for his life. For this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It means we die that he might live his life in and through us for his glory and praise. So, we have to put self to death every day and say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God, in his power and strength, and we then submit to God’s will and purpose.

We also must believe in the sovereignty of God over our lives, that God had a plan and a purpose for our lives even from before the creation of the world. Even before we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers he knew us, for he is the one who formed us in the wombs of our mothers. Jesus Christ is the one who made us and who gave us the breath of life. All the days ordained for us were written in his book before one came into being.

[Rom 5:3-5; Rom 8:29; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 1:3-11; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 1:3-4; Eph 2:21; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:5-9; Tit 2:11-14; Ps 139:13-16; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; Heb 12:3-12; Jn 15:1-11]

Urged Not to Go

Sometimes well meaning Christians will try to discourage us from doing the will of God in order to spare us danger and/or harm. And sometimes it is our enemies pretending to care about us who will also try to “spare us from harm out of concern for our welfare,” but their concern is not genuine. What they are concerned about is that we are spreading the truth of the gospel and they want that to stop, and so they fake compassion for evil purposes.

And sometimes Satan will whisper in our ears all kinds of lies in order to try to stop us from sharing the truth of the gospel. He will try to get us afraid of being harmed or rejected or lied about, etc. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that God is fully sovereign over our lives. He is in control over all things. Nothing will come into our lives but God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, and he will accomplish his purpose through it.

Nine months ago we had a mice infestation in our apartment. It took us quite a while to get rid of the mice and their urine and feces. In the process I got very ill from the mice, for they carry diseases. The illness was a lot like mononucleosis, which I have had before, and it has had its aftereffects, too. And during all of this I had to keep reminding myself that God was in control of those mice, too, and he allowed all this to happen for his purposes.

I am still left with a weak knee in my right leg and occasional pain in my right foot and knee, so walking and stooping down have their challenges, for sure, as well as I was left with some loss of balance. I am working on strengthening my body and it is getting better, but I am not fully recovered. Again, I must remind myself that God is fully sovereign over my life and that he is in control and that he has all things under his command.

But Satan is going to try to instill fear in our hearts and minds. And he is going to plant thoughts in our minds and he is going to use other humans to try to make us fearful and to try to discourage us, and some of these humans will be our enemies who are out to destroy us and others will be naïve and vulnerable people Satan will use to try to keep us from doing the will of God, and some of them will be well meaning in intention.

But no matter the source, human speaking, it is still Satan who is trying to get us afraid so we will stop doing the will of God and so we will stop sharing the gospel. So, we have to not yield to fear. We have to not let circumstances get the best of us. We must remain steadfast in our faith and determined to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he sends us in doing whatever he commands and not be persuaded of men to not obey the Lord.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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