JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
UNIT III Key 6 SURRENDER
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Two words for “fear” are found in the Bible. One is slavish fear, the kind of fear a slave feels for the slave-owner. Such fear is not what the Bible tells us to have for God.
The other use of the word “fear” means respect, awe, and reverence. We have been saved by Grace alone; we accept that we are totally dependent for our salvation on the mercy of God. When we have faith in the enormity of the Ransom paid for us on the cross, what else could we feel toward God except respect, awe, and reverence?
When we have that respect, awe, and reverence for God, what holds us back from building a life based upon the wisdom He gives? We identify the lies that come to us from our environment. We identify the lies that were injected into our minds at vulnerable times. We hear the deceitful whispers of the enemy of our souls, who uses the lies of the environment and our own self-will as leverage to tempt us.
As fallen human beings, we are not totally helpless victims. As little children, we were helpless against the big people who hurt us; but at some point we became bigger and stronger, and we could question the messages we had received from those with whom we had grown up. And how did we use our ability to reason?
Humans are separate from the animals because we can reason. Like any of our other abilities, we can use reason for good or for evil. Fallen humanity often uses its ability to reason to defend and justify sin.
When we repent of our sins and receive God’s forgiveness, our ability to reason is redeemed as well. We can use our ability to reason to work with the Holy Spirit to expose the lies in our minds. We can use our ability to reason to face the truth about God, ourselves, and others. We can use our ability to reason to confess our weaknesses rather than defend them. We can use our ability to reason to confront the lies with which the culture tries to indoctrinate us. We can use our ability to reason to confront the games that others play in order to manipulate us and bend us to their will. When we confess our sins and receive forgiveness, our minds begin to be restored to the uses for which God originally intended them.
One very pleasurable way in which our minds remain in bondage to the self-will and deceptions of the enemy is through the use of fantasy. Fantasies appear to be unique to the human race. The male pronghorn antelope does not waste any time fantasizing about an attractive female antelope; he simply locks horns with any other male pronghorn that stands between him and her. Nor do the females of any other species seem to fantasize; they simply signal their availability and wait for a male to arrive.
The male pronghorn does not waste any time fantasizing about what a hero he is to his herd; he simply turns on the coyotes pestering the herd and drives them away. He feels no sense of humiliation if the other male pronghorns join in; if anything, he is glad to have the help. In his mind, getting the job done is the most important thing; and once it is done and the coyotes safely out of the way, he turns his attention to the next thing, which is usually food.
We often develop a fantasy life to cope with painful reality. In a hostile and rejecting environment, the mind of a child will naturally seek escape; and a rich fantasy life probably has protected many children’s minds from being overwhelmed by reality. Helpless children develop fantasies to create worlds in which they are powerful, special, and loved. But at some point, fantasy worlds become hindrances. Fantasies make us weak instead of strong. They weaken us by maintaining and reinforcing the lies. They prevent us from developing genuine strength.
To become strong, we must face our lives and ourselves as they are, not how we wish they were. We are not omnipotent superbeings. We are ordinary, and we must learn to love ourselves as ordinary. At the same time, those whom we love are also ordinary. They are not meant to be actors in the movies of our fantasies, they are not put on this earth to be extensions of our will, and we have no right to be angry when they fail to behave like the people in our fantasies. We all have a common need for redemption in Christ, and we all have the gift of a Savior Who died for us. We must surrender our fantasies and learn to love ourselves through the love Jesus has for us, so that we can love the others through the love Jesus has for them.
The blessing of learning to love our ordinary selves, and learning to love other ordinary selves, is that we become truly strong. The only Superbeing, before Whom we are very small, loved us enough to pay for our sins on the cross. When we come before Him, confess our weaknesses, receive the free gift of forgiveness, and give Him rightful awe and reverence, we can learn to love who we really are and love others as they really are. Rather than loving ourselves and others based on how closely we resemble the characters in our fantasies, we can give love based on the love that God gives us in Christ.
Plan of Action: