Break Free From Hell On Earth Living
I know someone who lives their entire life in fear and suspicion.
I am sure you know someone like that, too. They read into every comment you make, finding criticism where there is none, uncovering personal slights that were never made, always assuming the worst. These kinds of people live their life in constant fear. It's a sad and hellish existence.
There was a lady like this in one of my former churches, who served as a volunteer in youth ministry. One day I gathered for lunch with my main youth volunteers and proceeded to praise them for their gifts and talents.
My purpose was to encourage and inspire them. She left the meeting and immediately phoned a friend and told her that all I did was belittle her, make her feel small and not as good as the other two leaders.
When you begin to travel down the path of fear and suspicion, when it becomes the way you live and move in the world--it taints every aspect of your life. It makes it so you can't even see or hear the good things that are directed toward you. When you live like this, blessings become cursings, positives are turned into negatives and assumptions become realities.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we find this bit of wisdom from the Apostle Paul:
"God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control."
If God is not the source of the fear and suspicion that we might be feeling, than we can only assume that the source is none other than the Enemy. And when I say "Enemy" I mean the Accuser, Satan, Evil... whatever works for you to describe it. Suffice to say the source of fear and suspicion is "Not-God."
In the same way that we talk about how God wants his children to live (in the words of that old hymn) as though heaven has "come down" and "glory has filled our souls," we might find the opposite is true when we live in fear and suspicion.
When we allow fear and suspicion to cloud our minds, darken our hearts, fill our spirits with murkiness and gloom---it's like hell on earth.
It's the other half of that verse that I want to turn to now, though. God is not the author of fear and suspicion, to be sure. God is the source of a spirit of power and love and self-control. But like most aspects of our relationship with God, we have to embrace these positives and intentionally live into the hope they bring.
If you've been living your life in fear... If you are in constant agitation because you feel people are out to "get you"... If you imagine insults and slights at every turn... If you can't find peace in any of your relationships, and constantly have a need to be at odds with other people...
It's time to name those feelings for what they are: lies and deceptions from the pits of Hell. It's time to turn from them and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit of God that longs to thrive within you. It's time to shake loose from those bonds and begin stumbling after the source of hope, peace and love.
May you find the strength to see the world with eyes of hope this day and every day, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.