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Philippians 3:12.Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13.Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14.I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15.All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

16.Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17.Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

18.For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

19.Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

20.But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21.who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  NIV

Their god is their stomach…..when I read that many years ago, the Lord was showing me that I was putting my stomach (almost literally, my main fear was of vomiting) above Him.

Think of it…what do people do to what they consider a god?  They obey it.  They fear it.  They protect it.  They create rituals around it. They devote time in contemplation about it.  No sacrifice is too great.

That is how it was with my fears, with my stomach.  I obeyed my fears to protect my stomach.  I was afraid that my disobedience (carelessness, not obeying my fears) would bring about wrath (food poisoning or other illness).  I protected my stomach with ridiculous rituals of washing and scrubbing, presenting “offerings” of whatever food I was eating as clean as I could get them.  No sacrifice of my life was too great—I gave up even leaving my house at one point.  I spent hours in agony about my stomach, thinking about it, fretting about it.  I spent more time thinking of my fear than thinking of God.

This revelation was a kick in the gut, no pun intended.  I realized that I was actually acting in worship to my stomach!  I was devoting more time obeying my fears (the “bible” of my stomach, filled with rules and regulations and rituals, to keep myself from getting sick) than I was obeying the REAL Word of God!

My glory of going so long without being ill was my shame.  My glory of having the “identity” of OCD, panic disorder was my shame.  My “badge of victimhood” was my shame.

Not only that, but my focus was on earthly things.  I was not doing the work that the Lord had for me for His Kingdom, because I was wholly focused on my fears.  My “work” was a daily regimen of fear-based tasks and avoidances.

So, though I was a Christian, I was living like a heathen.  I was not living for God, I was living for my stomach, for my fears.

Are you?

It might be painful to admit, but like we have been saying, admittance and repentance is the key to forgiveness and healing, not dismissing the truth.  If you are living in fear, you are living in sin, because the Lord specifically told us not to fear but to trust in Him in everything, to believe that He loves and will provide for our needs and give us life to the full.

And if you are actually “disordered” with OCD, panic, or chronic anxiety, then that is not only a sin, but a life based around a sin.

Yes, this is hard to realize this.  And painful.  And you might be either angry, dismissive, or crying in anguish.  Your spirit wants to love the Lord, you want to give yourself to Him.  But bad habits and sinful, human nature has overcome your spirit and will.

But there is good news!  You do not have to live this way!  The Lord Himself provides for your needs. We just have to obey Him.  All that this requires is living for Him and not for you, not for your fears.  You will step out in faith and see that God isn’t going to say “HA  You trust Me, so I can make your life miserable…”.  No.  He is going to say “My dear, beloved child is obeying Me.  I will bless this obedience with healing and life through My Son Jesus.”.

So, where is your focus?  How much time a day do you spend on your fears?  How much do you give up, change, adjust so that you can accommodate your fears?  The Lord is asking you to give up your fears, to sacrifice your petty attempts at saving yourself so that He can really save you and make you useful and bountiful for Him.  You have to give up your strength, your “knowledge”, your faith in your rituals and superstitions, and instead take His strength, His wisdom, and His commandments.  Only then will you be actually healed.

Take the time right now to pray, to ask for forgiveness and to consider giving up yourself for Him.  Give up your fears for His grace, because you cannot have both.  Give up your meager attempts to save yourself from pain or suffering and allow Him to guide your path, with you knowing that He works everything out for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. NAS

 Go ahead.  Pray now.  Give yourself to Him, the One who truly loves you.

 

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