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Circle of Life

Day 11— Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear

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This is part of our newest devotional book Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear — 30 Devotions to Battle Fear and Anxiety. Click to download a sample or purchase the full devotion.

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the Lord your God, obey him, and remain faithful to him. For he is your life, and he will prolong your days as you live in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” Deuteronomy 30:19–20

God’s Kingdom rests on the three elements of freedom, choice, and love. The interaction of these elements, which are intertwined and interdependent, is what I call the “circle of life.” Freedom and choice are requirements for love to exist. Without freedom, we have no ability to choose. Without the ability to choose, we cannot love. The very character and definition of love requires that it be freely given as a choice and that it cannot be mandated or forced. In other words, God’s own nature cannot be extricated from this circle of life.

Scripture emphasizes the importance of our freedom, telling us,

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (II Corinthians 3:17);

“For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1);

“For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love” (Galatians 5:13).

Scripture also establishes the importance of our choices See Deuteronomy 30:19–20.

Finally, Jesus made clear that everything hinges on love when He taught, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

Every action and response of God comes from His heart of love for you.

Scripture tells us God is love (I John 4:8), and being Himself love, He could do nothing else but act in love. So, if something is not loving, it is not coming from God. This concept is so powerful and so deeply meaningful to how we view God, and thus how we relate to God, it deserves serious contemplation. If we do not believe this truth, we are vulnerable to all kinds of deceptions that ascribe to God things that are actually the result of the actions of the enemy. Not seeing God through the lens of freedom, choice, and love causes us to misinterpret Scripture, to falsely blame God for bad things that happen to us, and ultimately to distance ourselves from God or even reject God.

Satan offers us counterfeits for the “circle of life.”

Instead of freedom, he offers control. He encourages us to try to “control,” or he deceives us into giving into the “control” of external forces. Because control feels more stable and secure to us, we are easily persuaded to abdicate our freedom in exchange for that illusion.

Instead of choice, Satan presents fear and worry. We are convinced by listening to fear and following where it leads or worrying about what is to come. We will keep ourselves from getting hurt, but Jesus tells us the opposite: “Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?” (Luke 12:25).

Instead of love, Satan offers shame and condemnation. He sets us up to judge ourselves and others, preventing love from flowing from our hearts or receiving love from God, and convinces us we deserve condemnation. Paul counters Satan’s argument by saying, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2).

Like God’s “circle of life,” Satan’s counterfeits are interdependent and interconnected. When I try to control, such as closing off my heart to protect myself or hiding behind a false smile, I realize I have no control and I feel fear, which leads to shame because I believe I “should” be more capable. Out of my shame, I try harder to control, creating a self-reinforcing circle. Through this “circle of death,” Satan attempts to restrict our freedom to choose, because he knows limiting choice means limiting love, both in the giving and in the receiving of love. Shame also limits love, because we soon believe we do not deserve to be loved and reject the gift of God’s love freely offered to us. Satan will tell us repeatedly we should, we have to, we can’t, and we must, each of which limits our choices. Ultimately, he will use this “circle of death” as proof that we are worthless and unloved.

When we step out of the “circle of life,” we enter Satan’s “circle of death” and begin a spiral into our own destruction. Jesus, however, always offers us a pathway into the “circle of life” through His truth.

If you find yourself believing fear or shame or feeling in control or out of control, powerless, or trapped, go over the verses listed above to fight against the enemy’s lies, then turn to Jesus and ask Him what truth replaces these lies. When reduced to its foundations, every truth has its origins in the love of Christ for us. He loved us enough to make us partners and co-heirs with Him and to give us the freedom to choose Him, so we can truly love Him and receive His love.

Written By Dr. Donna E. Lane

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Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear — 30 Devotions to Battle Fear and Anxiety

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