Get out of the grave and dwell with the risen Lord…
This isn’t just a bumper-sticker quote or canned answer to fear. Sometimes it’s hard to describe spiritual experiences without sounding fake. Fear really does dissipate in God’s presence when we spend time with the risen Lord.
Monday I shared of how the Lord healed me from clinical depression by exposing and cleansing my fear of failure/rejection. Depression was such a part of my life for so long, I’m still in awe of God’s intimate love.
That’s not to say that I haven’t had bouts when those wrenching feelings of hopelessness returned. Again. But each time (without fail) I’ve traced its onslaught to fear. I’m dwelling on some past event where I’ve failed or been rejected, or some future event where I fear the same.
It’s frustrating. If Father God values me enough to give His Son to pay an inconceivable price to forgive my shortcomings; if He’s adopted me as His dearly loved child; if Jesus still loves me when I do fail enough to work with me and train me through it… then why does it matter whether anyone else accepts me? Or how they may judge me? Why do I still see my identity in the (false) value they place on me, rather than as an image of my Father God, a “son” in His household?
Lashing myself with all of this only makes it worse.The ONLY way to move from these lies into the truth is by focussing on Christ, listening for His voice, allowing His presence to penetrate, and His perfect love to cast out the fear (I John 4:18).
An angel spoke this to the two Marys at Christ’s empty tomb:
He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.
Consider that our fear was nailed to the cross with Christ, and He took it to the grave and left it there. Christ no longer dwells in the tomb with fear. He’s not there. He’s risen. Instead of dwelling in the grave where our fear still lingers (or trying to fight it off or hide it behind a mask) we simply need to rise up with and dwell with our risen Lord.
GET OUR MINDS OUT OF THE GRAVE!
When fear tries to overwhelm, get out of the grave. Focus on listening to the voice of the living Shepherd, abiding in His presence away from fear. When fear returns (some days more than others) don’t dwell there.
This isn’t just an exercise of willpower, trying to keep our thought life under control. It’s a genuine conversation with Father God through Jesus. Ask Him, “Where are You? What are You doing right now in my life and how can I dwell with You there?” Then listen for His answer.
What does that practically look like?
- Praise, thanksgiving and worship lift us into the Spirit’s presence where fear dissipates!
- Meditating on scripture and conversing with the Lord (speaking or journaling) about what we sense the Spirit is speaking through His word.
- The Spirit may nudge us to pray for specific people or situations, or ideas for blessing others. As we obey, our thoughts dwell on blessing them rather than fear.
- God may lead us to call or visit someone, to encourage each other or simply chat about what He’s doing in our lives.
- As we wait on Him, the Spirit gives vision and motivation for working spiritual disciplines into our lives (quiet rest, meditation, fellowship with others, worship, fasting, study, good works, giving, etc.) so we hear our Shepherd more clearly, and not the voice of fear.
Jesus (really does) keep us in perfect peace as our minds dwell on Him, as we trust Him (Isaiah 26:3). Let’s rise with Him, dwell where He dwells, listen for His voice, and walk in His direction.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Scripture for Meditation: Genesis 2:25; 3:7-10; John 10:3-4, 27; Romans 8:1-11; Galatians 3:26-29; Philippians 3:8-11; I Peter 5:6-11; James 4:7
I’d love your feedback! Feel free to leave a comment. You can keep updated on this conversation by subscribing in the column to the right. Joy and blessings to each of you!