Last week we started a series called Facing Fear. It is a Bible study on fear and faith, (click for whole series) and this week we’re learning about an interesting aspect of a right relationship with fear – the Fear of the Lord. We want to know, what IS the fear of the Lord, why is it important to fear God, and what does walking in the fear of the Lord look like?
FEAR. We all have the capacity to make it our constant companion. Chronic fear can paralyze us, keeping us stuck in misery and brokenness. This is never more true than in the aftermath of a shattered heart! When the world turns upside down, it can be difficult to figure out how to reconcile fear and faith.
Have you ever wondered if it’s even possible to win the victory over unwelcome thoughts in your mind? The Bible offers some simple, though not easy steps to show us how to achieve victory.
We’ve been looking at the life of one of the most complex characters in the Bible, finding a treasury of lessons from the life of Joshua. But before we talk about his commitment to leaving a legacy of faith, let’s remember what we’ve already learned. He started out as Moses’s assistant, a minor supporting character and servant leader. During his time in that role, Joshua watched and learned. He communed with God, and his faith grew and grew and grew. Then Moses died, and Joshua was called to take over as the leader of Israel. The command for his life, “be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” was demonstrated at the walls of Jericho, and then throughout the years when Joshua the warrior swept through Canaan, conquering the Promised Land with the army of Israel. We’ve come to know him as everything from a calm and easy-going leader to a fierce and savage warrior. We’ve been impressed by his willingness to do whatever is asked of him. But as his story starts to come to the end, we see a few final aspects of Joshua’s character, particularly his determination to leave a spiritual legacy, and find ourselves inspired one last time!
We’re working our way through a study of the life of Joshua. So far we’ve seen him as a servant leader under Moses in the first part, and then as a brand new leader, standing firm in faith at the walls of Jericho in the second. Now, in this third part, we find a new and terrifying role for him as Joshua the warrior comes to the forefront. God had taken more than 40 years to prepare him for a job only one person so far in history has done: lead the people of Israel into the promised land to conquer it. I often think this massive task is seemingly forgotten (or at least overshadowed by other stories), but it was a huge job! As Joshua emerged from the shadows, executing justice in obedience to God, we find he was a beast! After so many years as a quiet observer, Joshua steps up with an unexpected amalgam of character qualities, all relevant to those of us working to heal from the wounds of sexual addiction.
I hope you read part one of this series about the life of Joshua, because it helps us understand how we’ve come to this point in which we find Joshua at the walls of Jericho, stepping out as the brand new leader of the people of Israel. Though we did see him lead the army into battle once before, mostly we saw him learning, serving, and watching. We saw him sitting silently in the presence of God, meditating regularly upon the words of his Lord. Through Joshua’s example of servant leadership, we learned so much about what it looks like to be strong and courageous even when we’re simply learning quietly!
We also mentioned how the life of Joshua was kind of unique because he served so many different roles from beginning to end. In this part of the series, we’re going to look at another one of those roles. As leadership is passed down from Moses to Joshua, we’ll see a new kind of strength and courage from the new commander. No matter what God asks, we always find Joshua standing firm in faith!
I have always loved reading about the life of Joshua in the Bible. He has been one of my favorite Bible characters for as long as I can remember. The theme of his life was, “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” From his first appearance in Exodus when we see Joshua as a servant leader, through Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy where we see him and Moses demonstrate one of the best examples of spiritual mentoring in the Bible, and all the way to the end of the book of Joshua, we find him as a man of integrity and faith.
Of course, a character who demonstrates such admirable qualities would bring valuable lessons to any believer, but I believe his example of standing firm in faith is of particular importance to those of us facing off with the monster of sexual addiction. Whether we are the addict, or the wife of the addict, Joshua’s strong and courageous life of victory can inspire us to go all in, as he did, to a life lived in passionate pursuit of our Lord!
There is a very important reality about addiction, lies, and relationships we need to address. When we’re active in our addiction, or even at the beginning stages of recovery, it can be difficult to understand why confession is SO important. The enemy tells us we’re protecting the people we love by not telling them what we’ve done, and that WE certainly are better off if we keep those secrets. As liars ourselves, we believe these lies pretty easily. But keeping secrets in a relationship shatters the foundation of trust needed for success. And as far as our own recovery is concerned, the consequences of telling lies are absolutely detrimental, dragging us back into the addiction again and again.
I hope you read last week’s post by my all-time favorite guest author, My Love! He shared the first two of four myths about recovery from sexual addiction, or, “lies sex addicts believe about recovery.” If you didn’t catch it, please go back and read it now. You really don’t want to miss it. Today he’ll finish up with the last two myths about recovery. We’re looking forward to many more posts from him in the future which you’ll now be able to find under the “For Him from My Love” category.
I spent decades of my life as a slave to sexual addiction, all along wanting out (on some level) and believing I could and would get out soon. Instead, it just spiraled further and further out of control until my whole world started to cave in around me. When God suddenly broke through and got ahold of me, He began to reveal lie after lie I’d spent far too long believing. Each of these “lies addicts tell themselves” kept me from fully embracing recovery. They kept me in the chains of sexual addiction.
Our Bible reading plan through those first few months took us through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (The story of Moses and the Israelites) If you’ve ever read them, you know these books can become somewhat difficult to get through. Once you get past the first half of Exodus there isn’t a whole lot of narrative, at least not in big chunks. Instead, there are seemingly endless lists of laws, regulations, instructions on how to build the tabernacle, instructions on how to divide the land, inventories of materials needed to build the tabernacle, genealogies, and other lengthy records. Meanwhile when sections of narrative do show up they can be exasperating as the people of Israel complain, argue, and disobey God time and time again. Of course, it’s Scripture, which means it’s inspired by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. Never has that truth been more clear to me than in these past few months as my love has devoured these words of God and found beautiful lessons each and every day in some of the most unlikely places. What a joy it is to witness the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of someone you love!
Upon the recommendation of our therapist, I started to read The Anxiety Cure, by Dr. Archibald Hart. It is the most helpful, informative, yet Biblically sound resource on this topic I’ve ever found. Reading it changed so much about how I think about Anxiety and Depression because it helped me to actually understand the physiological aspects. If you suspect that you or someone you know may suffer from Depression or an Anxiety Disorder, this book is for you!
Well, we’re halfway through the 90 day therapeutic separation. I thought it would be a good idea to give a little update because God has been doing some big stuff! We ended up changing a few of the parameters to the plan after about a week. I’d like to explain those changes and then get to telling you about some of those big ole mountains God has been moving.