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moving past fear to find freedom...

In any journey whether it be a physical, emotional or spiritual; you must conquer fear before you can truly begin to live in Christ's freedom

· Faith,fear,Discipleship

Perfect love expels all fear...

1 John 4:16-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[a] because he loved us first.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
-Plato-

In any journey there is a moment of fear or skepticism when you find yourself questioning and wondering if you can find enough strength and courage to move forward. The truth is that it is much easier to just stay focused on past or worry about too much of what is coming in the future. In any journey there is a time when you question whether God is actually listening to your prayers or if He even cares about your situation. In those times of frustration and emptiness you have two decisions: 1) you can stay where you're at and focus on the mess and turmoil that seemingly consumes every part of your world or 2) you can move forward trusting that God truly does love you more than you know or feel or accept in the moment --- you can move forward knowing that God gives you confidence to overcome the fear and doubt that consume your every thought.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
-C. S. Lewis-

When we begin to truly move past our emotions and begin to live in the truth about what life with Jesus looks like and feels like, we can expel all fear. The question is how do we do this.

During the process of our adoption, I would find myself in my lowest moments asking God what I needed to do different. I found myself asking God what I had done wrong. I couldn't figure out why God would make me go through this terrible ordeal and why God didn't want Farah and I to be parents to our new son. I found myself beginning to believe that God was keeping Roman in Africa because I had sinned or I had messed up or not been obedient. See I knew that wasn't how God worked, but I couldn't move past the emotions of feeling like it was because of my choices.

When we look at 1 John 4, there is a verse that we may move past pretty quickly, but one we need to take a deeper look at when talking about fear and freedom.  v17 tells us that we "live in God" and that "our love grows more perfect". You could say that the more we "live in God" the more we are able to understand what His perfect love for us looks like. John goes on to tell us that, "such love has not fear"! Wait a minute... I love Jesus and I live in God...so why do I still fear what is ahead? Why do I still worry about situation I find myself in? Why can't I just simply trust! I mean really it should be easy for me to trust - I'm a preacher!

The truth about fear comes just a little later in this verse. It says if we fear and are worried it is because we are worried about and fear God's punishment. If I fear God's punishment, then I will fear God and if I fear God in this way, I will never be able to truly "live in God" and experience God's love that expels fear.

During this adoption process, I worried that it was my sin and my disobedience keeping Roman from me. I worried that my sin would cause God not to listen. I was worried about punishment. But Jesus says that he takes our sin from us. Jesus says that our sin is no more. So why do I worry about it. It's because I've got the wrong mindset. I've been worried about the wrong thing. True freedom in Christ comes not from the emotion of worry or fear, but knowing that we don't have to fear anything at all. God knows I'm going to mess up. God knows that I'm a sinner. And God knows that I will struggle with my emotions when things go wrong. God knows that I will question and God knows that I will ask why. The truth that sets me free is that even though God knows these things and knows how I'm going to miss the mark in future - He went ahead and sent Jesus to the cross for me anyway.

God knows that I'm a mess. God knows that I'm broken. God knows that I worry and fear. God knows that I need something greater than me - He sent Jesus. In the midst of this journey I realized that it wasn't my disobedience that caused my worry and fear - it was my distance. It was the distance that I had put between myself and God. God didn't move - I did! I had decided to walk in fear and not faith. My faith had been challenged and I allowed my emotions to move me away from the truth that God's love is perfect and that perfect love is where I find freedom.

Basically, there are two paths you can walk: faith or fear. It's impossible to simultaneously trust God and not trust God.

-Charles Stanley-

I will be leaving at 4 AM to go pick up my son in Washington, DC and meet him for the first time and I'm afraid. I'm worried. I terrified! I literally can't sleep. I know that God has not forgotten me, but yet I wonder if I may have forgotten God along the way. In the middle of stress and worry - did I forget to truly "live in God". I think maybe...yes! But I right this blog tonight on the eve of my world changing forever and I tell you that it's OK that you've moved from "life in God"; but it's not OK to stay there. Learn to walk with a love limp and don't forget that God's love is perfect...move from fear to freedom and remember that Jesus has set you free. Don't pick up the chains of fear again...you are not a slave; but a son...or daughter. ;)

You are no longer a slave, but a son!

So I am no longer fearful of my sin or my punishment. God is a just and loving God. I'm no longer fearful of what people do or don't do. I do however still worry about how I will jump the next hurdle. I'm just not worried that I will do it alone. I will trust in His grace, His love, His power, and His timing. I will not be moved by my situation and will not be overcome. I will however: "live in God, So I will not be afraid on the day of judgment, so that I can face him with confidence because I live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If I am afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that I have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:16-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

He first loved me and I will again learn to love Him first

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