Month: February 2018

Two Reminders for Overcoming Timidity

A page in A.A. Milne’s book The House At Pooh Corner said,

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Have you ever felt that way with God? You just want to be sure of His presence with you. In moments of weakness, we can be timid in obeying the Lord. Yet, Psalm 100:2 tells us to serve the Lord with gladness. How do you reconcile those feelings?

Let me encourage you: by God’s grace, timidity can turn to confidence.

2 Reminders For Finding Victory Over Timidity:  

You are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In Judges 6:34, The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon. He was completely covered and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God for his task. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit would empower people for specific purposes at specific times.

The difference now is that the Holy Spirit dwells permanently in all who have repented of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 1:13, ESV)

Christians are in the spirit, not the flesh. The flesh can become timid, but living by the Spirit can change that.

9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11, ESV)

You have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in you that dwelt in Gideon and even raised Jesus from the dead!  So when you look out at your task for the Lord and you feel timid, remember that you are not working out of your own power—take time in prayer to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s strength in you.

You have the truth of God to guide you (36).

V.36 is so interesting. Gideon starts by saying “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have said…”  When did God become a liar?  If He already said it, why would you question if He’ll do it?

Timidity comes when you don’t trust the words of God. If you don’t trust the words of God, then what are you going to trust-your words? The words of others? Everything becomes shaky at that point. God has spoken, it is true, and we can follow it faithfully.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5, ESV)

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19, ESV)

To be guided by Scripture, you need to listen to what the Lord has said and obey those commands. As you’re faithful in those, you’ll grow in faith and gain more wisdom and discretion to be faithful in more specific situations in your life (Proverbs 3:21).

  • You might say I just don’t like this job and I hate going everyday.  The Lord has commanded that we work with all of our heart (Col. 3:23), so you need to be faithful to that command until another door might open.
  • You might say I just feel like I have no control of my children. God has given much instruction on parenting, so study those passages and put them into practice.

You have the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God to guide you! Be faithful and bold to be committed to the work God has for you.

Are there specific verses or ways that help you overcome timidity in your life?

Five To Focus 22. Let Scripture Train in Righteousness

The last of four roles of Scripture in your life: it will train you in righteousness.

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:16

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Check Your Heart First

God teaches us an important lesson through Gideon: focus on your heart before you focus on others’ hearts.

In Judges 6, Gideon knew that God was raising him up to save Israel from the oppression of Midian. The very night that Gideon had a revival moment with God, building the altar called the Lord is Peace, God gave him his first instruction. It is not a war plan; it’s a worship plan.

Priorities! You would think that God would unveil some great military plan to stop the Midianites,

sort of like he did to Deborah and Barak. But God takes a different course of action here and we must catch this lesson. Israel wanted peace. They experience oppression for seven years under the hand of Midian and cried out to the Lord for help. God raised up Gideon to save them, but they needed to look into their own camp for peace and freedom before thinking about Midian. Israel was filled with idolatry and God told Gideon to tear down to the altars to Baal and Asherah in his own town before he gave him any instruction about the Midianites. God was reorienting their heart to Him–a worship plan!

You must get your priorities right in order to be at peace with the Lord. You can cry out to him when you’re in difficult moments (like Israel), but if you’re still trying to find satisfaction and peace in idols, it’s going to be very difficult to see the Lord for who He is and who He needs to be in your life.

Check your own heart before you try to step out in faith to accomplish what the Lord has called you to.  

Photo by Taylor Nicole on Unsplash

Five To Focus 21. Let Scripture Correct

The third of four roles of Scripture in your life: it will correct you.

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:16

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Overcoming Doubt By Trusting God’s Character

Fear can cripple us from obeying God. We will come up with all kind of excuses, like Gideon. Judges 6 introduces Gideon as a fearful man. We are introduced to Gideon in verse 11. He is threshing wheat in a winepress. Now, what is wrong with that—threshing wheat in a winepress? It is unusual, but it is also clear from verse 11 that he is hiding from the Midianites. He can’t be out in the open with this or they’ll take it.

What Gideon didn’t realize is that God has chosen him to be the next Judge, the one who would rescue Israel from this oppression from the Midianites.

The Angel of the Lord visited him and said “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (v.12). Two parts- first, a reference to the Lord, and second, a reference to Gideon.

Gideon takes issue with the first reference—God? where is God?

There’s something really interesting about Gideon by the way— if he’s no older than 40-50 years old at this time (maybe the average lifespan of a man at that time), then he was born into a time of peace in Israel. Prior to being put into Midianite oppression, Israel experienced 40 years of peace.

All he knew was peace. These last 7 years were something so foreign to him.

So, he was doubting the character of God, and it didn’t take long for him to get to that point. He might have lived for 40 years hearing the good accounts of God to Israel, and then in 7 short years, his view of God changed.

Circumstances can quickly change your worldview if you’re not careful to keep a proper focus.  

Gideon also took issue with the second part of what the angel of the Lord told him—that he was a mighty man of valor. He explained how he was the youngest person in his family, which was the weakest family in their tribe.

God doesn’t say, ‘Oh no, you’re not that weak’; he doesn’t correct him. It’s true: Gideon really must have been weak! But God told him what would forever change his life and lift him out of his crippling doubt and fear: “I will be with you” (v.16).

Eventually, Gideon built an altar to the Lord and called it “The Lord is Peace” (v.24). He stopped thinking about himself–his limitations and his lack of understanding–and found peace by remembering God’s character.

Think about the name of this altar. The Lord is Peace. The name addressed every doubt that Gideon had. He remembered who God is. The fears, hiding, doubting—all of that is met in the God of Peace.

Is fear crippling you from obeying God? Don’t make excuses from your personal limitations, but trust in the character of God to complete what He started in you (Phil. 1:6).

Five To Focus 20. Let Scripture Rebuke

The second of four roles of Scripture in your life: it will rebuke you.

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:16

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Circumstances Blind Us to God’s Faithfulness

You’ve probably heard the account of Jesus feeding of the 5,000–all these people getting hungry, no food, doubting disciples, and Jesus miraculously multiplying the five loaves and two fish to not just feed everyone but have much left over as well (Matthew 14:13-21).

Notice that the phrase “desolate place” occurs twice (verses 13 & 15) in this passage. That’s part of the setting. A desolate place and hungry people.

Now fast forward to Matthew 15:32-39 where the feeding of the 4,000 is recorded. This situation is similar but different from the feeding of the 5,000 (Jesus acknowledges both in Matthew 16:9-10). The similarity is that people are gathered to hear Jesus teach and they are hungry (16:32). Jesus told his disciples that he had compassion for those hungry people and desired to feed them.

But look at what the disciples ask Jesus right after he says that:  “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?”

Wait-WHAT??!!! Did they already forget what happened possibly within just a week prior?

  • The desolate place.
  • Enough food.
  • So great a crowd.

ALL of that was true for the feeding of the 5,000. Two desolate places. Enough? There was more than enough–12 leftover baskets in fact (14:20). So great a crowd? They just saw a great crowd miraculously fed.

Somehow, all of a sudden, the circumstances blinded the disciples from God’s faithfulness and the power of Christ.   

Does this happen in your life? You have seen God provide and have seen his grace over and over. But for some reason, when that difficult situation confronts you, you somehow go blind to His faithfulness.

Find great comfort in 2 Timothy 2:13: “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”  The context of that passage contrasts denying Christ with being faithless. The ESV Study Bible footnote says that being faithless is a temporary lapse in trusting Christ, for which there is still hope because Christ is faithful to pardon, restore, and keep those who are truly his.

Even when we find ourselves like the disciples having a temporary lapse in trusting Christ, there is still grace and forgiveness. Right after the disciples ask Jesus how they could feed so many people, Jesus doesn’t just slap them across the face and say don’t you remember last week??!!

No, our gracious Savior lovingly said, “How many loaves do you have?” Grace on display! The Lord could look into your circumstances and calmly ask you to tell him all about it, then trust Him, and rely on His grace for every situation.   

Five To Focus 19. Let Scripture Teach

The first of four roles of Scripture in your life: it will teach you.

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:16

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