“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).
There are times in our lives when it feels like the whole world is about to collapse around us. In times of trials and troubles our hearts seem to beat faster, we begin to feel a surge of heat going through our bodies and ultimately we go into a great panic. This is a natural reaction of flesh in horrifying moments such as these. But we are different people because we have died to the flesh and now have been given the opportunity of a renewed mind (Romans 12:2) that has adjusted the way it receives logic. It is no longer held captive by the limits of flesh but is now led by faith. When the church in Corinth was challenged in their faith in the resurrection, Paul reminded them that through faith they have been freed from the limits of fleshly logic: “[F]or we walk by faith, not by sight”(2 Corinthians 5:7). Our faith in the Almighty God will expand our capabilities.
Samuel reminded the Israelites the power of trusting God, even when fleshly desires led them away from His grace, a mistake that Israel fell into quite often. And although we have their example to remind us how tragic this is to our relationship with God, we still make the same mistake. So, what can we do when this happens? Should we go into panic mode looking like an Ostrich ducking his head into the sand? May it never be. We must remember how great our God truly is and how powerful His promises are. He has promised to never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and to remember our sins “no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Just as we can learn from the mistakes of our forefathers, we can also learn how to stay strong in our faith when we stumble.
Instead of panicking we can make the decision to “serve the Lord with all your hearts” (1 Samuel 12:20). We do this by not turning aside to chase futile things (v.21). Turning away from God to pursue fleshly desires it will leave us in chaos. The same Hebrew word used for “futile” here is the same word used to describe the earth as “formless” (Genesis 1:2). Life is “formless” when lived outside the eternal purpose of our Father. But God sent His Son to this earth to give form to our once formless lives. So, instead of panicking, we can choose to serve Him eternally.
Another alternative to panic is obedience. Samuel said he would instruct them in the good and right way (v.23). But Israel had to make the decision to obey his instructions. This seems like it would be easy because he showed that he would pray for God’s guidance in the instructions he was going to give them. But just because flesh has instructions in the way that pleases God does not mean it will make the choice to follow. Paul was an inspired man yet he had a battle going on within himself (Romans 7:15-20). Paul had to make the decision to follow the Lord’s instruction just as we do today: “…but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). It takes a disciplined mind to achieve greatness in anything we choose to pursue. If we are going to be great in the kingdom of our Lord then we must discipline our minds to obey His reasoning.
Many in this world say they love God, but their lives are lived outside His eternal purpose. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). True love for God is shown in faith. When we trust God enough to deny our fleshly desires and pursue the things that bring glory to His name, then we can honestly say we love Him. We will do well to learn how to love so we can learn how to accept His love that will prevent us from panicking.
In His Grace,