There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear. As believers, we have a hope and security that all things will work for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes. We have the unique ability to never let fear control us again because of the hope that has been placed within us. We empower that which we fear, and in turn our fears often become our realities. It is one of the most prevalent tactics of the enemy to disempower those who love God and those who don’t alike. But we never have to let this become our reality again.
In 1 Samuel 17, Goliath uses fear and intimidation to try to defeat the Israelites. Hoping that when someone finally steps up to the plate, that the insults hurled not only at the army, but at the God that Israel places their trust in will leave them paralyzed with fear. Questioning whether the God of angel armies was truly able to deliver them, and in-turn leaving them unable to fight back and making them an easy prey.
What if David listened to this fear? What if David never stepped up to the plate? What if he never had a revelation of perfect love that drove out every ounce of fear? Goliath may have never been defeated, placing the Israelites under Philistine rule and changing the course of history forever… But instead, David placed his hope in the Lord. And Love drove fear away, and into the enemy camp. Suddenly, the righteous were empowered, and the wicked were frozen in their tracks, unable to retaliate against the boldness that comes with knowing who stands at your back. The victories of the Godly become the enemy’s worst nightmare.
The fears of the wicked will become realized when the fears of the righteous are placed in the hands of God and exchanged for hope and love. When the storms of life come, the wicked become paralyzed by their own fears and doubt. But those who place their trust in God have a security that He will stay true to His word and turn what looks like our dark and scary roads into gold behind us.
Proverbs 9: 7-9
Several years ago I was driving home from ministry school and I heard the Lord tell me to drive to a gas station and follow a man with a black hat. I drove to the nearest gas station and as I pull in, a man with a black hat walks out and around to the back of the station. I followed him around the corner and watch him get in his car and drive away, but as he does, I see a young homeless girl sitting just behind the car, and immediately I hear the Lord tell me, “That’s her, go love the HELL right out of her”. I jumped out of my car and begin to strike up a conversation with her and tell her how valuable and loved she was, but she was closed off, as if she didn’t believe the words I was saying were true. I was struggling to find out how to reach her and then she exclaims, “I just need a cigarette”. Everything inside of me wanted to say “No! You don’t need those, you need Jesus!” But Immediately I knew what I needed to do. I ran and got cigarettes from the gas station and gave them to her. She said to me, “Aren’t you a Christian? I thought you guys were against all this stuff” and I responded, “My job is not to change you, it’s to love you.” She was taken back, but preceded to put the cigarette in her mouth and light it. As soon as she lit it, she coughed and spit it out. It was as if in an instant, all of her desire to smoke was driven out completely by love. She then gave her life to Jesus because of the love that she was shown, not judgment or condemnation.
So often Christians feel the need to try to immediately change someone and correct their actions. But we forget that our job is not to be the ones to transform, but to be the ones that extravagantly love, and when we do, God will do his job to bring the transformation. If we call out someone’s sin that has no grasp on what that actually means, it will do absolutely nothing to transform them, it will often bring nothing but contempt and turn them away. People are not attracted to Jesus because of the rules he brings; they’re attracted to him for the freedom that he brings. It is the kindness of Christ that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Proverbs 9:7-9 doesn’t give us an excuse to ignore the lost, but it rather gives us a mandate to love them into wisdom and truth. God is love, and wisdom always follows encounters with God. When love is displayed, God is invited and wisdom cant help but come soon after. Our job is to love the lost, and to disciple those who have seen and experienced truth. Love always triumphs over punishment.
Wisdom is not just knowing what to do, but actually doing it. It is applied knowledge. It is the creative nature of God put into practice in every day life. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” It is contagious, and when it is asked for, it cannot be withheld from you (James 1:5).
One of the most precious gifts that can be given is the gift of wisdom. It is amazing that one of the most important things in the kingdom of God is the gift that is the most accessible and sits only one declaration away. Solomon was a man who understood the power of wisdom and the importance in leading a kingdom given to God. When he asked for wisdom, God granted him riches, possessions, favor among other world leaders and a thriving kingdom. Wisdom grants us the ability to steward the rest of God’s gifts and it opens up the door to invite the counsel of God into each situation. No amount of wealth or goods can compare to the power of true wisdom, we must realize the power that comes with the gift. With wisdom, God created everything that moves and breathes. He ordered their steps and showed us how to live righteously. Everything that operates in the Kingdom of God operates out of wisdom. It literally creates an invitation to experience the fullness of the covenant we have received through faith.
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” We must understand that as believers in Jesus, and people that are called to walk in the fullness of God that we can’t just go through life by our own efforts, but we must constantly seek the knowledge and wisdom that God has freely given, not only for ourselves but for the world around us. It is of more value than jewels, money, kingdoms, and fame, and we owe it to ourselves, to God and to those around us.