Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to get True Freedom

Fear, Freedom. Two words could not be more opposite. Nor could the sources of each be more opposite. Fear comes from the Evil One, and he creates panic through fear. In contrast, God gives us the Holy Spirit, whose presence replaces fear. He also gives us power and love. Because of this power, we can freely choose thoughts that are victorious, loving, and right. Paul expressed it well: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Satan's lies often appeal to our fears. One of the greatest fears Satan inflicts us with is the fear of rejection. God shows us in His Word that this fear is unfounded and something we can easily deal with if we choose. Pearl has a solid marriage and several children, all of whom she teaches at home. This homeschooling mom has tough but fair standards for her children and won't allow them to participate in certain activities. Some neighbors are surprised and critical of Pearl's regulations for her children, and she admits their criticism makes her insecure and doubtful of her approach. "Some people think I'm too tough," Pearl told me one day. "This whole thing that 'the fear of man brings a snare' is very powerful in my life," she said, referring to Proverbs 29:25. "I would cringe every time someone criticized my children or how I was living. Some time ago the Lord brought that verse to me, that the fear of man brings a snare. For a whole year that verse would come to my mind, and every day I would ponder it and meditate on it." Meditating on Scripture is an excellent way to absorb the truth. It helped Pearl greatly, until one day she realized its impact. She returned to me with a smile of victory. "One day this person made a very critical statement about my family. I had no negative reactions at all. My thought was 'the fear of man brings a snare.' That critical remark was that lady's opinion; it does not happen to be mine. I was able to thank the Lord that the truth had gotten to my heart." Pearl learned a great principle: Overturn Satan's fear tactics with the truth. Keep in mind that Satan has other fear tactics beside the criticism of others by which he tires to undo as Christian's freedom. Beyond rejection, Satan often engenders fear related to worry or guilt about something wrong when our actions were not wrong. He will also stir up others to accuse us of wrongful things we have not done. These kinds of brutal condemnations can deeply wound us. What should we do when accused? Tell the enemy to "take it up with Jesus." He died for our sins and any wrongs we might have committed. Thus, we can go our way knowing He will deal with the devil. It's when we dwell on those accusations that we begin to slip. Such accusations were a part of Rodney's life recently, and this is how he handled it. Rodney is involved in a major Christian ministry that has a world wide reputation. Someone involved in a branch of that ministry began to question Rodney's motives and actions publicly. Often, he would take some of Rodney's statements out of context and use them as weapons against him. There were phone calls and letters written, but even when Rodney's critic was faced with facts and documentation, it didn't matter. Things would start all over with new "facts." Rodney would graciously answer the critic, but he come to the point of saying, like David of Shimei, "God has allowed him to curse; let him curse" (see 2 Samuel 16:11). Rodney said to me, "God's grace is sufficient, No weapon against me will flourish without God's permission. I will leave it with the Lord." As Rodney continued to read the Scriptures, the Lord took him to Psalm 37, which describes God blessing those who are criticized and hated. The more his critic would curse him, the more God would bless. God can turn a curse into a blessing every time, if we will let Him. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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