God wants to recondition our guilt with grace. And He wants to recondition our fear with faith! – Mark Batterson
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?
Today we continue our Chase the Lion series with the topic “Facing Fears.” Once again, much of today’s content in excerpted from Mark Batterson’s teaching.
Fear Factor: It is so easy to read about a lion encounter that happened three thousand years ago and totally underestimate the fear factor. I wonder if Benaiah suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Sure, he killed the lion. But not before it scared the living daylights out of him. He was inches from thirty bared teeth. I don’t think he ever forget the smell of the lion’s bloody breath. And the sound of the roar had to echo in his mind’s ear forever!
I don’t care how battle-tested or battle-scarred you are. I don’t care how crazy or courageous you are. You don’t come face-to-face with a five-hundred pound lion without experiencing sheer terror or pure fear! But one thing sets lion chasers apart. They don’t run away from the things that scare them! Normal people don’t chase lions, but lion chasers aren’t normal.
Lion chasers chase their fears!
If you look at Scripture through the filter of Ivan Pavlov, there are some fascinating conditioned reflexes. All four gospels record the story of Peter denying Christ. Luke 22:60 says that right as Peter was denying Christ the third time, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
This had to be the most painful failure of Peter’s life. And I have to wonder if Peter felt a twinge of guilt every time a rooster crowed! You know how certain stimuli trigger certain memories?
Imagine what it was like for Peter every morning. It was a daily reminder of his failure! The rooster’s crow was a conditioned reflex just like Pavlov’s ringing bell.
Now let me tell you what the enemy wants to do: Satan wants to remind you of your worst failures over and over and over again. He wants to crow like a rooster every morning!
I think Jesus calls us to be revolutionaries. Satan wants to turn us into reactionaries! He wants to condition our reflexes with guilt and fear! But Jesus came to recondition our reflexes!
Instead of hating our enemies we pray for those who persecute us. Instead of trying to be first we go last. Jesus said that whoever keeps his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will keep it. And when we get slapped on the cheek we don’t slap back. We turn the other cheek.
For what it’s worth, I think it’s easy to act like a Christian. It is much more difficult to react like a Christian.
I think Jesus reconditioned Peter so that the sound of a rooster’s crow was no longer a reminder of his guilt. It was a daily reminder of God’s grace! The grace of God turns final mistakes into single mistakes! Peter messed up. But Jesus didn’t give up! God wants to recondition our guilt with grace. And He wants to recondition our fear with faith!
Heavenly Father, You teach us that perfect loves casts out all fears. Take each of us to a deeper abiding in You that we may know how deep and how wide is your love so that we may face and overcome our fears. Reprogram our minds and reflexes that we may react like Christians, not just acts like them. Thank You Jesus. Amen and hallelujah!
Link of the Day
Chase the Lion: Facing Fears – Flash video by Mark Batterson
Blessings to face your fears!
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