There is a conundrum within the body of Christ, within those who have been truly saved by His grace, one that pits our flesh against our spirit, one that all know. One of the most known Scripture verses to us is Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We all understand that every single event in our lives, no mater what it is, no matter the joy, happiness, sorrow, or pain that it brings is for our good, because this verse penned by the hand of Jesus tells us so. The majority of times we do not understand His reasons for allowing certain things to occur to us, but we do not need to, we need to trust that His promises are true, we need to understand that His ways are not our ways.
Mostly though, we need to remember that everything that happens to us is because we are loved immeasurably, our response is to return that love as best as we are able, to understand fully not what is happening, but the reason behind it. There is another verse that ties directly to this one in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” This is why I termed our existence, our response to the times of trials and tribulation, as a conundrum because when they appear, most generally we fear. But why, or perhaps better yet, what part of us is fearing, what part of us lives with the fear of the unknown, the possibility of persecution and pain.
It is easy to say “the flesh,” and that would to a degree be the correct response, but that’s you, isn’t it. The spirit of man, the man who has the Holy Spirit of God living within him does not know fear, the trust in our Savior by this man is perfect, for we are knit together with the Holy Spirit of God Himself, we know that we are loved, we know the end He has purposed for us. (Jer. 29:11) These are facts, they do not rest upon emotions. So is our flesh our emotions, it is not the thinking, reasoning part of us but instead the feelings, it is the desires that we have. Perhaps to a degree, but what of the feelings of love, care, compassion, how are they to be compared to the part of us that still knows fear, worry, and doubt.
When you were first saved, you were given everything you needed to complete the tasks that the Lord has set before you, (2 Peter 1:3) the Holy Spirit is not dolled out to us in pieces, when He arrived in your heart, He came complete. The responsibility to pursue the goals that have been given to us is up to us, we must make the decision to move forward, or to fear. Our Lord knew exactly what He was saying when He said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41) But think here now on these words, “Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25) “Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17)
How much of your faith is based on fact, and how much on emotions, what part of us has decided to fear and what part has decided to trust. The current circumstances in our lives is what generally formulates our motives, whether they be advantages to us or not, what is happening in the immediate is usually what drives our emotional state. Why would Jesus shed tears for the friends and family of Lazarus when He knew for a fact that in a few minutes He would be raising him from the dead. Our flesh, to a greater degree, is our emotions, and it is these emotions, in my humble opinion, that Paul was speaking about when he said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor. 9:27) Our thoughts are sometimes deceiving, we feel about certain situations in ways that we should not, for all things happen for good.
The man or woman who completely and totally trusts Christ for the direction of their lives is the person who has left their emotions at the door, they have checked them before they act, even before they think. Of course we should not be emotionless, but fear and love have no place with each other. Only those who trust Christ obey Him in all things, only those who realize that all that happens to us is done in love can move confidently forward in the path that He has set before them. Only the knowledge of His perfect love for us will cast out all fear. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)