In my last post, we began a new mini-series to explore the cautionary insights or warnings that Yeshua has given us in obeying His Word. After a brief introduction, we looked at the issue of not being anxious. In this post we will examine handling holy things with care and not being afraid of persecution.
Cautions ~ Part C
4. Do Not Fear
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1ESV)
“What I am leaving with you is shalom — I am giving you my shalom. I don’t give the way the world gives. Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened.” (John 14:27)
Many times throughout Scripture, God commands His people not to be afraid. For those who honor Him, there is never a need to fear or to be anxious. When we are in right relationship with God, following His commands and loving Him with our heart, soul, strength, and mind, we rest content in His protection and control over the situations in our life.
Yes, we will face trials, difficult circumstances, tragedy, and stressful times; but despite all of it, we can have inner peace – even joy – knowing to whom we belong. Sha’ul says it this way:
- “I can do all things through him who gives me power.” (Philippians 4:13)
- “No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Wow, did you catch that – superconquerors – how kewl is that? It can’t get much better!!
And Yeshua reminds us:
- “I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris. But be brave! I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)
- “When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand upon me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Living One. I was dead, but look! – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to Death and Sh’ol. “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades’” (Revelation 1:17-18)
The challenge is to believe in Yeshua when the storms begin. With so much incredible power living within us and the promised victory He gives, a lack of faith will steal the peace Yeshua promises. When, like Kefa, we take our eyes off Yeshua and look to our circumstances, we begin to sink in the midst of the storm (see Matthew 14:30).
Before Yeshua came to the earth, mankind had only God to believe in to take care of our needs. But in this passage, Yeshua expands belief to Himself as He equates Himself with God in power and strength. Together with the Spirit, they create a formidable powerhouse of strength on our behalf.
To doubt their ability to sustain us is to doubt their love for us and to question their ability in the face of life’s storms. When we see any situation or circumstance as more powerful than God, it reveals just how small our faith really is.
Application: Are there any circumstances or situations in your life that you believe have greater power than God? Are there people in your life that you feel are too far gone for God to redeem? Are there habits, addictions, or compulsions you have stopped fighting and given in to because you do not believe God has the power to overcome them? If so, you may want to ask God to forgive your unfaithfulness and your doubt in His ability to demonstrate His power and love to you.
5. Do Not Be Deceived
“He answered, ‘Watch out! Don’t be fooled! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time has come!’ Don’t go after them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, don’t panic. For these things must happen first, but the end will not follow immediately.’” (Luke 21:8-9; also Matthew 24:4-5).
Being deceived means to be manipulated, lied to, or being under control of someone with evil intentions. It can also mean being deluded or living with a false reality. In the Disciple’s Prayer, Yeshua prays that we would be delivered from temptation and kept from the evil one (see Matthew 6:13). He does not want His people to be deceived, tricked, blindsided, or compromised because of false teachings, deceptive arguments, or counterfeit Believers.
In fact, many people have come pretending to be either Yeshua Himself or a messenger, prophet, or teacher of Yeshua in an attempt to gain a following. In order not to be deceived by false teachers, false leaders, and wolves in sheep’s clothing, you must be spiritually wise and biblically discerning.
The only way to obtain godly wisdom is to have God’s Spirit living and active in your life. He is the One who will reveal truth in difficult situations and protect your heart and mind from the evil one. “However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative but will say only what he hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future.” (John 16:13). Only those who do not know the truth can be deceived. Falsehood is always revealed in the light of truth.
There is another spirit in the world – the spirit of darkness and deceit: “We know that we are from God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.” (1 John 5:19) And we must guard our hearts from being deceived, even in small ways.
The primary means of growing in our knowledge and in truth is through study and meditating on God’s Word. It is the only source of truth apart from God Himself. Those who refuse to spend time in God’s Word are the most susceptible to deception and can be easily swayed to false teachings and fraudulent leaders. Seek God’s truth, be filled with the Spirit of God, and study the Word of God; and you will be able to identify false teachers and false teachings.
Application: Be diligent in your study of God’s Word and continually be filled with the Spirit of God so that you will not easily be deceived by the evil one. Yeshua defeated the temptations of HaSatan by knowing God’s Word. Truth is your only weapon against the lies of Satan and the pressures of society. Ask God to show you if you have been deceived by anyone or if you are adhering to any false doctrines or theologies. Let His Spirit purge you from all falsehood and replace it with His truth.
Remember always the words of Yeshua: “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” (Yochanan 14:15)
In my next post, we will continue our mini-series on the character traits that Yeshua expects us to possess concerning cautionary insights by exploring His commands to not being fearful and not being deceived.