As 2016 begins its final fade to black, I am mindful of the fresh canvas God gives us for a new year brimming with its inspirational promises and powerful rush of hope. What a blessing!
It is that fresh canvas that prompted me to develop the following seven steps to loving God more and fearing less in 2017. These seven steps will be the foundation of my new series called LGFN Life! that will be launched in the new year.
With the broad goals of getting closer to God and not being afraid, the series will feature messages built around seven challenges Christians face and God’s antidote to each one. My prayer is that God will use these seven steps to help you and many others love God more and fear less.
Here are the seven steps to love God more and fear less in 2017:
STEP #1: PAIN
CHALLENGE: I am in PAIN
GOD’S PROMISE: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
ACTION: Realize that your pain is a disguised opportunity to help others. Set aside the negative chatter in your head for a moment and make a list in your mind of the positive things God could do with the circumstances you are facing right now. Now turn your focus there and start thinking positive thoughts–unencumbered by the negativity of your past–about the wonderful possibilities.
STEP #2: HOPELESSNESS
CHALLENGE: I feel HOPELESS
GOD’S PROMISE: “Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself; For emptiness will be his reward.” Job 15:31
ACTION: Hopelessness is a gateway to our full surrender to God. We cannot overcome it on our own. The Voice Villain’s painful and disconcerting attack triggers a torrent of hopelessness coursing through our veins that will eventually strangle our hope. If we allow distance to form between us and God, we land in a heightened state of vulnerability that will continue to produce negative images across the cinema of our mind. God wants us to give the whispers of hopelessness in our ear to him so he can take them out of play.
STEP #3: ANGER
CHALLENGE: I am ANGRY
GOD’S PROMISE: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
ACTION: Our anger is a gauge for how much of our life—yesterday, today, and tomorrow—we have YIELDED to God. Anger cannot be removed with a self-help program or by “trying harder.” It requires God’s Word and prayer to focus on his TRUTHS to push it out of our heart and mind.
STEP #4: INADEQUACY
CHALLENGE: I feel WORTHLESS
GOD’S PROMISE: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
ACTION: Thinking that God could never bless me is one of Satan’s lies to thwart your faith journey. But we must remember that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. And that includes YOU and every other believer! God can take our feelings of worthlessness and replace them with his promise to use us in a significant way for others and his Kingdom.
STEP #5: FEAR
CHALLENGE: I am AFRAID
GOD’S PROMISE: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
ACTION: Our level of fear is determined by how much we BELIEVE that God is in control. We must Believe with a CAPITAL B! There is no partial belief. If we believe 100% that God will protect us, then there is no room for fear. God wants to remove our fear and replace it with trust in him and his promises.
STEP #6: CONTROL
CHALLENGE: I am the BOSS
GOD’S PROMISE: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
ACTION: We’re not the boss! If we think we can do anything on our own, it won’t be long before we think we can do everything by ourself. That leads to a life of trying to be boss and controlling all aspects of our life. A very dangerous proposition, indeed. Let God drive your life car and stop being a back-seat driver!
STEP #7: NO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
CHALLENGE: I am STAGNATING
GOD’S PROMISE: “We are not meant to remain as children, but to grow up in every way into Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15
ACTION: Spiritual maturity is a life-long process of exploration and discovery. It has no ending, just inflection points of enlightenment, learning, and growth. But being in a position to receive God’s blessings from those positive developments is only possible if we avoid becoming overconfident and take action to spend time with God and his Word. Take one small step today toward spending time with God and his Word—even if it doesn’t feel right. And then do it again. And again. And then again until a habit is formed.
MORE COMING SOON!
Look for all of the posts and messages in this series—7 Steps To Love God More and Fear Less in 2017—coming soon on the Love God Fear Nothing Platform:
DAILY DEVOTIONAL: https://www.markaffleck.com/?page_id=16644