Do you know this song?
The song speaks truth. But is it our reality?
As we (or more accurately, the congregation) sang this song recently at my church, my mind started whirling and asking God some pointed questions.
You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears have gone
But all my fears haven’t gone, I thought. I’m constantly battling fear, all kinds of fear.
I know God doesn’t want fear to be my reality, but I’m prone to think that as long as I walk in this earthly life, fear will be part of it. After all, it is a powerful weapon from our enemy.
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I don’t have to be a slave to fear, but I often am. Why is this? Why do I give in to fear even when I know Creator God stands ready to step in and take good care of me?
The Holy Spirit whispered: Because you have a slave mindset.
Oh, ouch. That’s not exactly what you want to hear in the middle of Sunday morning church services. But it describes my problem perfectly.
Fear rears its ugly head, gets right in my face, and sometimes, all other thoughts flee.
- I remember who I used to be.
- I recall how weak and powerless I am.
- I remember the times I’ve failed, fallen short, and really messed up.
I revert to the slave mindset. I’m unworthy. Incapable. Unlovable.
Oh, but as C.S. Lewis wisely wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”
Enter Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill, a British army officer and politician, was a controversial figure during World War II. Many people loved him. Many others despised him. Whatever your current thoughts about him, his quotes (and things attributed to him which are in dispute as to whether or not he actually said) are often inspiring.
He wrote in his book Their Finest Hour, “Success always demands a greater effort.”
I think that can be applied well to our battle against the slave mindset, don’t you? After all, it’s not going to willingly slink away from us, particularly when our enemy has so much to gain by keeping us enslaved, even if that enslavement is all in our heads rather than actual spiritual reality.
The key is understanding what that effort should look like because it’s not greater self-discipline or positive thinking, although both can help.
No, the secret to fighting fear is staying grounded in what God says and how He thinks.
- It’s reading the Bible.
- It’s getting into and staying connected with solid relationships that challenge you to read the Bible.
- It’s praying and asking God to tell you more.
- It’s committing verses to memory to remind you of truth.
Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet
The slave mindset sneaks up on all of us from time to time. But we don’t have to stay within its grasp. We were made for more, and Jesus’s obedient life and sacrifice paved the way for our freedom.
Grab hold of that and cast off the slave mindset every time you recognize its lying clutches in and around your life.
Fear controls Amber, although she doesn’t recognize it. If a painful circumstance or tragic situation in your past makes you quick to distrust the people God’s placed around you, Amber’s story might encourage you to think a little differently.
For years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her as she slowly made her way east. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she’s ever known before.
Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she’s entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairytales, she watches for cracks in the facade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge.
Or could she be wrong? Could they truly be genuine? Could this family really hold the key to what she’s seeking?
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