Over the last several weeks our pastor has been challenging us to trace the symptoms of our sin to the source of our sin.
Lying, stealing, disobeying, lashing out in anger….all of these are symptoms of sin—outward evidence of an inward problem.
So often I simply want to address the symptom without addressing the source.
But that’s like wiping an allergy-irritated nose instead of removing the allergen or taking allergy medicine.
Or like putting a band-aid on a wound that really needs sutures.
And so over these past few weeks as our church has been studying the book of Ephesians, I have been asking God to reveal to me the source of my sin(s). Not really the most comfortable experience. Nor the most fun prayer request, but one God clearly delights in answering as evidenced by His quick and thorough response (almost to the point that I want to ask Him if we can take a little break! 😉
And while God has been revealing sources such as pride, self-reliance and flat out laziness (I’m telling you it’s been an eye-opener and making me SO thankful for grace!) The source that rises high above all the others is fear.
The great puppeteer of my heart.
Fear pulls the strings of my thoughts and behavior like no other.
Fear even sources other sources like pride and greed!
That last one really blew my mind! I had never thought of fear and greed as going together, but so much of my greed (my greed for a big savings account, the approval of man, my precious free time) all stem from fear! Fear of the future and not having enough. Fear of not being liked. Fear of having my “me” time encroached on.
The more I trace my outward signs of sin the more I find fear at the root, pulling the strings of my thoughts and behavior.
Perhaps this is why God tells us over and over again to “not be afraid” for He knows how greedy a puppeteer fear is.
“God, what am I to do?” I cried out as I drove to pick up my kids from school.
The puppeteer felt too big, too powerful, held too firm a grip.
“Do not fear, for I AM with you….” the words of one of my favorite verses (Isaiah 41:10) floated through my mind, settling in my heart—giving fear a little push.
The great I AM is bigger than my fear.
God is bigger. He is stronger. He is more powerful. And He holds my heart. He dwells in my heart. And He can cut the strings right out of fear’s hand.
The verse goes on to say, “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God says that He will hold me.
If I hold a Marionette puppet in a firm grip then whoever is pulling the strings would not make the puppet move, right? And… if I wanted to I could even cut the strings completely!
I will probably always struggle with fear.
The puppeteer will always lie in wait, seeking to pull the strings of my thoughts and behavior.
However, there is One greater than my fear, whose loving grip is far stronger. And He offers to help me, to strengthen me, to be with me.
So today I choose Him.
I choose to trust His grip over fear’s strings.
I choose to trust that His plans for me are good, that His ways are good. That He is good.
And with each decision to trust God, the strings of fear become weaker and weaker.
What puppeteer seeks to control your thoughts and actions? Will you ask God to reveal it to you? And when He does will you measure that against God? For no puppeteer can stand against God…ask God to help you. Ask Him for strength. And trust Him to hold you tightly in His loving and firm grip.
If you are struggling with a particular heart puppeteer and want some encouragement and practical help then check out this sermon series on Ephesians called Grace Unleashed