Week of November 18
Staying With God’s Program
Have you ever been trapped by fear? When we allow fear to build up and to affect us continuously, we begin losing not only our joy, but also our effectiveness in witnessing. Ever present fear steals our God-given potential. It causes us to keep quiet instead of testifying to God’s salvation.
Fear keeps us from reclaiming our workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools for Christ. Fear keeps us from giving generously of ourselves to the work of God. Fear keeps us from telling everyone we know about the One who saved us eternally.
Our only hope against conquering fear is faith. Like a see-saw, when faith is up, fear will go down. Fear will hold us back, but faith in God will lift us up. We can find comfort in the words of the psalmist: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1–2).
Joshua 6. As Joshua faced the fortified walls of Jericho, he must have had his doubts. But instead of giving into fear, he responded with unquestioned obedience to God’s battle plan. And that is what faith is all about—it is expressed in obedience.
Even if God’s strategy doesn’t make sense to us, faith will compel us to obey. The more time we spend with God and studying His Word, the easier it becomes to exercise complete trust in His promises. As we develop intimacy with God, we can better hear His voice and understand what He is leading us to do and to say. As Scripture reminds us: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Whenever we act in obedience, God can work through us to touch even the most hardened hearts. Whenever we follow His strategy, He will give us success. He will give us our Jericho, causing the walls to crumble. The secret of Joshua’s success at Jericho was not his own military ingenuity, but his obedience to God’s plan.
When we seek to obey and to spend time in His presence, God will give us the words to speak to someone who does not know Him. He will tell us when to speak, and when to remain silent. He is the God of the harvest; He knows when the fruit is ready—and when it is not. When we are still and know that He is God, He will guide our words, our steps, and our minds. He will bless our service to Him, and He will overwhelm all of our fears.
This does not mean that we will not make mistakes or occasionally give in to fear or self-serving interests. Read Joshua 7. When Achan deliberately disobeyed God’s command, he brought failure to the entire nation. The Lord told Joshua the reason for the failure at Ai: “Israel has sinned. … That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction” (Joshua 7:11,12).
When we fail, one of the hardest things we must do is confront the reason for our failure— especially if it is the consequence of a hidden sin in our life. Unconfessed sin keeps us from being effective witnesses for Christ. That is why we must constantly purge these sins from our lives. When we confess and walk away from those sins, we will find a new beginning in our lives. Ai was eventually defeated, but only after the sin was purged.
Are you facing a Jericho today? What menacing obstacle stands in the way of your victory? What hindrance keeps you from sharing about Christ? Is it fear of rejection, failure, or being embarrassed? Or perhaps you have recently had a failure at Ai. What hidden sin is lurking in your camp? Confess it to God today and seek His help in purging that sin from your life.
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