By Cindi McMenamin, Author
Are you someone who is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop? Do you find it's easier to expect the worst than the best? Do you find yourself fearful that God won't really come through for you?
Consider the following scenarios and see if you can relate:
Diane is single and in her early 40s. Her greatest fear is that she will never marry. Although she had a string of unhealthy relationships when she was younger, she can't help but feel that God is punishing her now by not letting her enjoy her life with someone who will treat her well. What do I have to do so God will give me another chance? she asked me recently.
Melissa is frustrated that she can't get pregnant. But beyond that is a deeper fear that God is still mad at her for a rash decision she made 10 years earlier. Maybe I will never be able to get pregnant because I terminated the one pregnancy I did have! Perhaps God will make me pay for that the rest of my life, she expressed to me, through tears.
And Sarah and Jason saved for years to buy their first home. They entered a mortgage commitment carefully and after much prayer. But now that Jason has lost his job, Sarah fears they will lose their home as well. Why is God punishing us? she asked me. If Jason was going to lose his job, why did God let us get the house in the first place?
As humans, we are no strangers to fear. Our fears range from living out our lives alone, to not being able to have children, to losing our jobs or homes or someone close to us. Often, our fears are rooted in a misunderstanding of who God really is. Depending on your upbringing, you may see Him as One who is angry and has no intention of letting you live a life you will enjoy. Or, you may tend to see Him as the One who seeks to pay you back for mistakes you've made in the past. Or, maybe you see Him as One who will think good and hard before coming to your aid when you find you are in need. But God isn't an angry God with a vengeance to get back at you. He's a God who loves you and wants your love and trust in return.
Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (NIV, emphasis added). God wants your faith—not your fear—that He really can come through for you. But in order to have faith in Him, you must know who He is and be convinced He's trustworthy.
The Bible tells us "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...." That means if you love God perfectly, you will trust Him completely, and where there is complete trust, there is no fear. So let me help you get to know—and love—this God you no longer need to fear.
1. List Your Past Mistakes that Have Made You Fear God
We all have baggage that we, by nature, try to hide. But God wants to release you of the guilt and shame in your past. By listing your sins on paper, you are acknowledging them to God so He can remove them from your mind and heart. Psalm 32:5 says "I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'—and you forgave the guilt of my sin." Not only does God forgive us of our past mistakes, when we are truly sorry for them, but He removes them from us and makes us no longer accountable for them. Psalm 103:12 says: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
2. Look to Scripture to Reshape Your Understanding of God
In order to really believe you're forgiven, you have to give up any false perceptions of God by looking to the Bible to see who God really is. Get into His Word and you will discover:
- He's not a god who considers you bad, but is instead the God who said, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
- He isn't a god who points his finger at you and shakes his head. He is instead the God who said "I know the thoughts that I think toward you...thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
- He isn't a god who desires that you be punished. He is, instead, the God who laid down His life to suffer in your place so you would not have to be separated from Him for eternity (Romans 5:8, paraphrased).
- He is not a god who will withdraw his love from you if you do something wrong. He is, instead, the God who says "nothing can ever separate us from Christ's love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away" from those who have put their trust in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38, NLT).
3. Let God Show You His Softer Side
It wasn't until I started looking for God's softer side that I saw it. I saw Him as my Protector, Provider, Rescuer, Loving Father, Spiritual Husband, and Friend. God said, in Jeremiah 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Look for the God who pursues your heart. And let His perfect love for you drive out your fear.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone, When God Pursues a Woman's Heart and When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts. For more on her books and free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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