Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Your Ultimate Fear

I'm still going through this book called Whiter Than Snow by Paul David Tripp. It has been one of the most challenging things I have read with such continual focus on sin and the need for grace. Meditation 32 is called 'Your Ultimate Fear.' The title captured me right away. I live with way more worry and fear in my life than I should. I say that I trust that God is in control, yet continually try to do my own thing. I would like to just give a cliff notes version of this reading:

"Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me." -Psalm 51:11 This should be our greatest fear in all of life, but is it?

She had it all and maybe that's why she was so afraid. Everything she had was nicer than she ever thought would be hers. But morning after morning she'd sit there and worry. She'd worry about her marriage, finances, children, and health. She even worried about natural disasters.

Something very significant had happened to her, and she didn't even know it. The very things for which she'd been so grateful, the very things she once though she didn't deserve, had morphed into things that she was convinced she couldn't live without. What she had once greeted with surprised gratitude were now the sources of major anxiety. The things that had once seemed out of place in her life had become the very things that defined her life. And so she lived with fear. 

Something else had changed. The thing that was meant to define her life, and that once did, no longer defined her. There had been a time when everything in her life was defined and evaluated by her relationship with God. There was time when she greeted God's grace with a surprised gratefulness. Now these thoughts were no longer center stage. No longer would she identify herself as a sinner, rescued by grace. No longer did she get her meaning, purpose, and sense of well-being from the Lord. That once heartfelt and wholesome question, "Where would I be without the Lord?" had been replaced by the question of how she'd cope with the loss of any one item in her personal catalog of material things. 

But I didn't think long about David or about my friend, because my mind turned to me. What is the thing in the world for which I'm the most thankful? The loss of what thing do I fear the most? The existence of what in my life gives me meaning, purpose, and that inner sense of well-being?"

Questions to ponder:
1. Be honest: what is it that brings the most fear into your heart?
2. What things in your life are you convinced that you cannot live without? Pray for a heart that is so fully satisfied with God that you are able to be content with what He has placed in your life. 

These words have to cut to my heart these past couple of days. I've been thinking about some of the resolutions I made for 2011. One of them was this - I desired to learn what it means to be content with God and what He has provided. So often during 2011, I have failed in being satisfied in God. I was challenged with one of my favorite verses of Scripture over the weekend, "You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11). Oh that my greatest fear would be to not experience the fullness of joy that comes from His presence! I need it and want to be fully satisfied in Him alone. 

“The enjoyment of God is our highest happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.”
― Jonathan Edwards

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