If, like me, you struggle with these things on an almost daily basis, you should realize that your life is a major grapple with (unBiblical) fear.
Because the ultimate product is fear.
A fear that, at first glance, seems to be of myself--my tendency to fail, to disappoint, to make careless or foolish mistakes; but in actual fact, really stems from a fear of others. Fear of what other people will think of me, what other people will say, will do. Fear of how my failures and limitations will affect my relationship with other people.
This is the fear that Timothy struggled with, as we know through Paul's exhortation to him in 2 Timothy 1:6-7. Timothy felt insecure about his youth, his inexperience, his ability to lead the church, and other people's criticism.
This sort of fear is crippling.
It limits our interactions with other people--we're scared to let them find out too much about us in case they glimpse our goriness; we're scared to do too much for them in case they get discontented or disappointed when we fail; we're scared to be honest, to be sincere. We're scared of what they might think of us or how they might construct what we've said or done, we obsess over a tiny action or word for hours later and spend the small hours of the night writhing in misery. Tell me I'm not the only one. I used to be haunted by the memory of something stupid I did or said--or something someone else did or said, that I thought 'maybe meant they didn't like me/were mad at me'; cue Blimey Cow's epic scream, 'They'll hate me forever!!!'--for weeks. I made myself thoroughly miserable by brooding over it, coming up with additional interpretations, replaying the whole incident (which probably was about five seconds in real time) until I was sick of myself and people in general.
This is when my short-term memory could actually have been useful. Of course, it immediately failed me.
I only managed to control this obsessive mental hoarding and replaying of my mistakes after I was converted, and realized that someone liberated by grace from sin should surely also be liberated from the depression that stupid mistakes and failures kick me into so easily. Of course, every now and then they still come persistently popping up. Even after I've forcefully put them away in my mind, they wriggle out of their drawers, sometimes years later, to make me writhe all over again. I can tell you about at least six deeply ingrained memories of this sort that come to mind right now, with the oldest dating from somewhere around my sixth year, and the newest being last week.
It limits what we dare to do, what we dare to commit to, what we dare to stand up for. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I'm being dumb to give a different opinion--I don't have a great track record for being smart, after all.
Maybe this is way too far out of my comfort zone.
Maybe I should just keep quiet.
This last is probably thought in brains everywhere about a million times every minute. We all know that feeling. Not the self-control in the face of a I'm boiling over with self-righteous anger and I have plennnnnty to say if I let myself go---we don't see enough of that, unfortunately. The Eeee I feel insecure and inadequate, let's just sit tight and tell myself I'm being humble!
Crippling. That describes this fear, its effect on us--not just when we look back at the past (ugh) but when we face the present, and even the future.
In direct contrast, true humility is empowering.
Biblical humility empowers us because it doesn't just stop at acknowledging your lack of competency (ability; skill; love; forgiveness; smarts; etc) That's where unBiblical, crippling fear stops--and that's why it cripples. Who wouldn't be paralysed in the face of their own inadequacy and incompetency?
Instead, Biblical humility acknowledges God as the source of whatever quota of ability you were blessed with, and the source for more.
Power. Strength, skill, perseverance.
Love. Forgiveness. Empathy and intuition. Gentleness and selflessness.
A sound mind. Foresight, wisdom, tact, intelligence, insight....
And fearlessness. Once we stop relying on ourselves and our limited ability--once we start relying wholly on His limitless ability.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
a quiet voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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