“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”
Let me start with a question. Have you ever been in a situation where you literally did not see a way out?
You may be in it right now. You are confined by the walls of doubt and despair and nothing anyone says or do can lift you up.
You are imprisoned by your doubt, by your stronghold, by your struggle, addiction, regret, heartbreak, fury, injustice, or whatever it may be. You are trapped in a situation you never intended to be in.
You were hurt by someone you never thought would hurt you.
You are addicted to something you don’t think is a real issue or a big deal.
You are doubtful because …. Well why?
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I think we get so confused and disheartened by things because we A) do not understand them or B) have no control over them, doubt is literally like a mist that takes over our lives, that drops down in front of our eyes so that we don’t actually see what is going on in front of us, our life becomes a blur and all we know are the four walls that confine us.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
As a Christian we tend to think that it is only important to have Faith. Yes we need Faith, but faith does not work alone. We need to be bold and courageous as well… and don’t forget about confident.
Some may argue that being confident means we are being self-righteous, self-serving, self-indulgent, but in the grand scheme of things we need all four to work together to benefit one another. There is no point in being confident but not bold, there is no point in having Faith without courage.
It is so important to be courageous in many different situations in our lives, because Fear and Faith do not coincide. So that means whatever we feed to fear we starve from faith. We cannot have it both ways. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of Power/Love and Self-Control.
Here are 4 things we should be exercising everyday:
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not,
The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.
What is the point in me going through all this with you? Because people underestimate the 4 working together. in fact, we need to get up day in and day out and pick up our armour of God with courage, so that we can act boldly and confidently in our Faith, the measure of Faith God gives to us.
Often I say the thing that helps me a lot on days when I am feeling down is power dressing. There is nothing more amazing than putting on an amazing outfit as a girl and feeling good, looking good and knowing that the day is going to be good. It gives me the courage to face the day, the confidence to do things that I normally wouldn’t, and the boldness to be true to who I am.
I feel the same applies to our life as a Christian, we need to get up with our armor. Put it on and apply it to our life.
We need to literally pick up the sword of the spirit which is the only attacking weapon that God gives us, because he knows that his word is truth and is life and will dispel anything the enemy will attack us with.
The word of God is powerful. When we speak it into our situations, they change. When we declare it over our lives, they change,
When we tell it to ourselves, we change.