Those of you who have read “Seasons”, my first book, will recognise this devotional. However, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to post it once again. I originally wrote this over 15 years ago. If there was ever a day for this truth to be repeated, this is the day. To whom are you listening? I asked myself this question a lot this past week, and in all transparency, I have often allowed the voice of fear to take precedence over the voice of truth and reason.
Moses sent twelve mighty men as spies into the Promised Land. Ten men returned with a message that struck fear, despair and resistance in the camp. Two men returned with a word of hope, exhortation and encouragement. The children of Israel chose to listen to the message of fear. An entire generation bore the devastating consequences of their fear-based decision.
In our media-driven age, we are bombarded with dire warnings daily. Economic soothsayers pronounce doom and gloom every week. At the faintest whisper of regional instability, headlines blast across the world that the end is near. Political camps carefully craft campaigns, presenting the worst-case scenario, then brazenly present their candidates as modern-day messiahs who will lead their nation out of the sure disaster caused by their rivals.
Fear makes a terrible advisor. It is the worst possible foundation on which to base life-altering decisions. Fear causes you to cave into wild speculations. Fear clouds your heart and mind and tempts you to give more credence to the voice of man than to the voice of God.
Jesus did not sugarcoat the challenges that lay ahead for His disciples. He painted a clear picture of the future, including persecution, trials and death. Like Joshua, Jesus promised them that the victory would be assured as long as they remained faithful. He exhorted His twelve disciples not to be alarmed then challenged them to keep their hearts untroubled.
Jesus’ challenge echoes with His followers today. We have a choice. Do we listen to His voice and live in the sure peace that He is our good and perfect Shepherd? Or do we listen to the myriad of fear-mongers, allowing ourselves to be tossed to and fro in the winds of controversy, rumours and deliberate misinformation that come across our desks?
Personal Application for 2020.
Stay informed but do not stay obsessed with network news.
Budget your listening time and allow yourself only one news program a day.
Do not watch 24-hour news channels. They have to fill their programming somehow, and they do so with a lot of speculation and opinionating.
Go to government websites and read official press releases. Then form your own opinion and make wise decisions.
Resist the urge to stockpile on items that you will never use by being generous of your time and resources to those who are fragile. Speak truth to those who are anxious and worried but never do so in the form of a rebuke. Love them, be patient with them. As you brainstorm ways to bless others creatively, you will find your anxiety levels automatically diminish.
Increase your contact with life-giving friends and family via phone, text, face messaging, etc.
Get into the word. Go to Biblegateway.com and listen to the Bible as an audiobook. While I wouldn’t recommend The Message Bible as your main study bible, I DO recommend it as something you can listen to as a ‘book’, rather than as a study. Order the audiobook version, or listen to it on Biblegateway. Fill your home with music. Have a dance party, no one will see!
Allow the peace of Christ to reign in your hearts and kick fear to the curb.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden