Fight or Flight…or Die? (Part 4)

This is the final post in this four-part series.

field water“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

This has been a long and painful journey for me, but victory in Jesus is my reward!

The fight or flight mode is about survival. God has wired our minds and bodies in such a way that we can make reasonable decisions and respond so that we can have the best chance to survive. Do I believe I am strong enough to come out on top if a battle should ensue? Or do I believe I can outrun my enemy? In either situation, if I am wrong, I die. At least, that’s the way it works on Wild Kingdom.

My desire to be loved, appreciated, thought of or at least, acknowledged by this world is wearisome. There is always someone else to please and something else to prove. I have never found real pleasure in praise, but rather relief in no punishment. I thought staying out of trouble was good enough. As long as I wasn’t causing problems, God and others would be good with me.

But the truth is God doesn’t want me going along to get along or just existing. He wants me living, thriving, and loving. And love is risky business. We might get hurt. We might be rejected.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:27-28, 32

I thank God that my bout with anger didn’t last long before He showed me how I needed to love and serve those under my authority, taking control of what I could and giving up to Him control of what I couldn’t. And again, God met me where I was and showed me how I couldn’t ignore or deny my responsibility to love others through difficult situations. Even people who I do not consider an enemy will mistreat me or hurt me at various times. How should I choose to respond? Too often, this is the sentiment proclaimed in society: “Run far from those who cause you problems! Get them out of your life! You don’t deserve their treatment and they don’t deserve your kindness!”

Well, that may be true, but it’s not good…and it’s not love. God says we are to love, do good, bless and pray not just for those who do the same for us, but for those who hurt us as well.

At the heart of deciding not to fight and not to run is surrender. “I give!” I had to acknowledge that I am not perfect, I would not please everyone, and I could not do everything. In relying on myself, I denied the power of Christ in my life. In looking to others to save and protect me, I had taken my eyes off the one who had already saved, sealed and delivered me. He has already overcome the world!

God has called me beyond my comfort zone, beyond the safety of my own little world where keeping the peace was more important than speaking the truth. All this time, God was working in me, transforming me into someone new. Hidden in Christ’s perfect love, I have no need to fear. I have died to Him so no one can take my life. I answer to Him so no other approval is needed. No more fighting, no more running, no more hiding. I have surrendered; I can rest.

Something to Consider…

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.’” Luke 10:41-42a

Surrender doesn’t mean compromising your standards, values or principles which are founded on God’s truths; it means fighting for the right things with a humble heart of compassion, mercy and grace. Don’t waste your time fighting for things that have no real value. Pick your battles wisely, boldly fighting for and standing on His truth.

Surrender also doesn’t mean we run from our problems and give up; it means we run to Jesus and invite Him to be the solution. In what areas of your life do you know you need to move forward? In what ways can you be strong and courageous each day, taking one step, choosing one thing you can do to make progress following His lead?

In Christ, we have all we need to live and die without fear, walking in His perfect love!

What’s Your Story?

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed two days. And because of His words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

I have a difficult time sharing with others — my joys and celebrations, that is. I don’t want to brag or bring attention to myself. I try to do my best, enjoy the benefits of my successes and move on. There are a few close friends I may talk to but that’s about it, no lime-light for me.

In this passage, the Samaritan woman tells a ton of people about her encounter with Jesus. The woman at the well has just been called out about her multiple marriages and now her adulteress relationship. Did she fly off the handle with Jesus and tell Him to mind His own business? Did she become offended and walk away in a huff? Did she cry and throw herself a pity-party? I have no idea what range of emotions went through this woman’s mind at the time but what I do know is at some point, she became open to the truth of Jesus. And then she went and told others about Him! This is her sharing a huge joy and celebration with others!

This passage states that many and many more believed in Him. Not all people who hear your story, or mine, will believe. There will still be scoffers, mockers and those who just refuse to believe. But because of your story, many who listen will believe.

Those who believe will seek Christ and want to hear what He has to say personally. Their faith will be strengthened and solidified. One thing we can do when telling others our stories is encourage them to find out for themselves who this Jesus person really is.

Over and over in the Bible, people come to know Jesus through the telling of real experiences from real people. They are not pastors, teachers or others in position of authority but just ordinary people who are willing to share what Jesus has done in their lives. Jesus Christ has made known to me the ways of my life and has shown me a better way. My passion is to encourage you in that better way.

Something to Consider…

Has Jesus made a difference in your life? Have your shared your story with others? What has the experience of sharing your faith done in your own life? Maybe you have never shared your faith. You don’t know even know where to start. Ask Jesus to help you put into words what He has done for you. One of the best places to start sharing your faith is in a community of other believers like a church or small group. As we hear others, we are encouraged. As we begin to share, we become courageous. Consider who may come to know and believe in Jesus because of your story.