Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sellout (05/26/11)
TITLE: THE MONSTER WITHIN US
By Dolores Stohler
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Overcoming fear is one of the most difficult things we face in life. Virtually everyone knows it intimately. Some fears are healthy because they keep us from doing things that might harm us,like overdosing on drugs. And fear leads us to respect those in authority, and to fear and respect God.
All these fears are a normal part of life and we certainly don't want to rid ourselves of the healthy ones. But there are fears that are deadly. They keep us from doing things that will help others (fear of loss or failure), showing love to friends and family (fear of rejection), and even from giving our hearts to Christ (afraid of losing control). As we struggle to overcome our fears and succeed in the eyes of the world, we may be losing that one gleaming gem most precious of all: eternal life.
There’s no doubt Satan is walking among us fueling the flames of fear. When we allow it to govern our lives, we are, in reality, selling our souls to the devil. His aim is to disarm us and fill our souls with apathy until there’s no fight left within us.
There’s only one sure way to combat evil and that is to hand our fears over to God and ask Him to deal with them.
Years ago I had friends who were driving to the Cook County Jail in Chicago on Friday nights, participating in a Bible study with non-violent offenders. When they urged me to go with them, I submitted because I didn’t want to reveal the fact that I was afraid. My inward being shook at the thought of the jail for it was located in a spot notorious for crime. And I wanted no association with criminals. I spent the week before my first visit on my knees asking God to calm me.
Prayer works wonders! I walked through the gates of that jail on Friday night, totally confident that Jesus walked with me. And those Friday nights proved to be really eye-openers for me. The Lord filled my heart with compassion for the men I spoke to, most of whom came from impoverished backgrounds. And every one of the crimes they confessed had its beginnings in fear. It occurred to me that this might be the devil’s main tool for leading people to sin against God..
When they asked at the prison if I would give my personal testimony, fear struck again. If there’s one thing that really shakes me up, it’s public speaking. Again I asked the lord for help and He told me to concentrate on relating some of my past fears and insecurities to my audience. “Speak with humility,” the Lord directed. But when I approached the mike that night, the devil must have been smirking. I was scared stiff! Imagine my surprise when the audience gave me a standing ovation! I had done what no other speaker felt led to do, connecting with them on a personal level. Compassion forms bonds that cannot be broken.
I am reminded how Christ defeated Satan when He hung on the cross. We saw His fear in the garden of Gethsemane, praying “Father, take this cup of suffering from me.” He went on in trust, submitting to the Father’s will, and changed the world forever. And in His parting words as He returned to the Father, He presented us with a gift more precious than words can describe, the gift of His Holy Spirit.
“And I pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18 NKJ)
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