Words of Grace
For many believers, perhaps most, there is a disconnect between the way they feel and the truth. In other words, we often don’t feel strong, even if Jesus is our Strength and in Him we are strong. We often don’t feel free, even if Jesus has set us free. And we certainly find it hard to feel righteous or good or even forgiven most of the time.
That disconnect is normal. For so long the flesh has told us what we are supposed to feel and then has shown us that our feelings reveal the reality of our lives. If we find ourselves in trouble, for example, the flesh tells us to be afraid. Then our flesh tells us that the fear proves our weakness. In fact, a great deal of evidence could be shown that in these circumstances we find ourselves to be strong, and we would still think of ourselves as weak because we felt fear.
The message of the flesh is a lie. Yes, it feels right. Yes, it feels normal and familiar. Yes, it is what we have always felt. But it is still a lie. The message of the flesh is designed to keep us walking according to the flesh. But you and I, and all those who belong to Jesus, live according to the Spirit and must learn to walk according to the Spirit. The flesh is no longer our master and no longer our “normal.”
I suspect that many of us have shared an experience like the following. You are called to talk with someone about something that is uncomfortable. Perhaps you want to share the good news. Perhaps you are supposed to challenge a decision or an opinion. Perhaps you need to ask the person to do something. Whatever it is, you lack confidence and you are afraid. At least that’s what the flesh is telling you.
One time I was moved by God to confront a man in my church about his relationship with another man’s wife. It was one of those times when I couldn’t take someone with me and I had to do it right away. There was little choice. But I was afraid. I actually drove to his house and then drove away again. Finally, I stopped and talked it over with the Lord.
Now, you have probably done that. You have examined why you are feeling afraid. You have asked yourself or the Lord if this is the right thing to do. You stopped in the midst of your fear and confronted it. And, when you did, the fear was put into perspective. It maybe didn’t go away, but you knew that you had to do the uncomfortable thing and you knew it would somehow be okay.
Well, I decided that the man could try to punch me, but I would still talk with him. I knew my heart was right. I had respect for him and spoke to him in love and the visit went very well.
You see, my flesh lied to me. First it told me that I had something to fear. The man might get angry (even though I had never known him to be an angry man), or he might get violent (even though I could hardly imagine him doing anything), or he could leave the church or organize his supporters against me or whatever. My flesh played through all those scenarios and more until I was afraid. Then my flesh showed me my fear and told me I was too weak to do this thing.
But it was a lie. Once I understood that none of the things I feared could really hurt me and I was doing the right thing, the thing God wanted me to do, then I found the confidence that was there all the time.
You see, the Spirit is confident. The Spirit knows that you and I can do whatever the Lord calls us to do. The Spirit knows that there is no reason for fear and no reality of weakness. Jesus is my Strength and my Confidence.
Don’t let the flesh pull you back into bondage by pushing away your confidence. If the Lord is calling you to do something, do it in strength and know that He is with you. The results are His.