More from Danny Silk’s book, Keep Your Light On:
While God is not afraid of sin or sinners, most of us are. We’re afraid of people’s mistakes, and we’re afraid of our own. It’s no wonder our entire society, including our court system, is set up in such a way that fear and punishment are the solutions to bad behaviour. And as long as we operate out of fear, we will inevitably continue to reproduce distance and disconnection in our relationships with God, others, and ourselves. The cycle can only be broken by repenting from the lie that we can control other people and by accepting the truth that the must control ourselves.
As soon as you begin to believe this truth and stop trying to control people, you’re going to be confronted with a lot of resistance from the old ‘normal’. And it won’t give way to Heaven’s normal without a fight.
Remember fear and love are enemies. They come from two opposing kingdoms. Fear comes from the devil, who would like nothing more than to keep you permanently disconnected and isolated. Love comes from God, who is always working to heal and restore your connection with Him and other people and bring you into healthy, life-giving relationships.
Fear and love have opposite agendas and opposite strategies for achieving them. They cannot coexist in a person, relationship, or culture.
God is very clear that the Spirit He put in you is not the spirit of fear, but the Spirit of love: “You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV) He’s also clear that partnering with the Spirit of love is the way to displace fear in your life. John wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 NIV) If you want to partner with the Holy Spirit, then you
must have a strict “no tolerance” policy about fear and punishment in your life and relationships. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve used those tools—they have got to go!
Learning to partner with the Spirit of love requires you to become powerful. That is a serious challenge. When Paul told Timothy that the spirit of love is also the spirit of power and a sound mind, he implied that its opposite, the spirit of fear, is the spirit of powerlessness and a weak, divided mind. When you grow up partnering with the spirit of fear, as most of us do, you learn to simply hand over your brain and your power, letting fear take control. But as soon as you decide to partner with the spirit of love, you have to think and make powerful choices.
Often we can’t even remember making a decision to listen to fear and turn our love off. But in order to turn our love back on, we have to marshal our internal resources to think, decide, and act. We have to become powerful and exercise self-control in order to say, “Yes, I love my spouse.”
The choice we make to turn our love on is, in a way, even more powerful than the choice we made to get married in the first place, because we make it after experiencing a history of pain with one another. We no longer have illusions about the worst fear and pain could bring out in us. We know that our choice to love one another can not be conditioned by what the other person did or did not do, and that it has to be strong enough to withstand the fear and pain that derailed us in the past. We understand better than before just how powerful we need to be to make that choice. And wonderfully, we decide to be powerful, to respond in love and cast out fear in our relationship. What a change.
From Keep Your Love On, by Danny Silk.