Memo 1030: Enterfear
This past week, I had some down time at a conference I was attending and opened my Bible app to the book of Joshua:
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:3-9).
While reading, I thought of a word that really isn't a word but it seemed to fit this scenario in Joshua 1 and that word is the title of this week's Memo: enterfear. Let's examine that make-believe word more closely.
WALK THE LAND
The first thing that struck me about the above passage was the opening phrase: "I will give you every place where you set your foot." The people were about to enter the Land and they had to walk it to gain a sense of ownership of its size. You and I need to do the same thing, for our purpose land is big, bigger than we can imagine, and that requires us to have faith, "step" out, and get comfortable with the scope of our call. That may be to a people group, a nation, or a certain type of work like among children or the elderly.
Then the next thing that stood out was the promise that "no one will be able to stand against you." That didn't mean no one would try to stand against them, it simply meant they would not be successful. Often we misinterpret promises in ways we want them to read instead of how they actually do and this would be one of them. We would hope there will be no opposition but often there's a lot and we must trust the Lord of our inheritance to help us withstand our enemies.
After that, I noticed the phrase "I will never leave you nor forsake you." That sounded like a promise Jesus made: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). That indicates that our "land" or work may not be across the street or where we would like it to be but where God chooses it to be. That may be in a distant land or among people who don't look, think, or talk like we do. Finally, there were repeated admonitions to be courageous and fear not, which is where the source of my new word enterfear comes into play.
The people were about to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness. They along with Joshua were afraid. They were fearful to enter the Land thus suffered from enterfear. I would suggest that you may as well. We allow fear to inter-fear with entering into what God has for us to do and be. Our inner-fear interferes and thus we are paralyzed by enter-fear. We struggle to get started because we feel the assignment is too big or we are not worthy or the timing is not right.
I don't think the Lord would have told Joshua to have courage and not to be afraid or discouraged in five different phrases in those opening verses unless that is exactly the state he was in. He was afraid. It reminds me of what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7: 'For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid [or has not given us a spirit of fear], but gives us power, love and self-discipline." While we are familiar with that verse and can usually quote it, we don't often quote it in conjunction with the previous verse: "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands." What's the context of the fear of which Paul wrote? It's in conjunction with the gift of God that's in you. You can suffer from enterfear when you need to embrace the gift you have and the impact God wants it to have.
Do you suffer from enterfear? Where are you hesitant to enter into and then walk the land God has given you? Where have you allowed fear to shroud the gift of God that's in you? This week, God wants you to listen to the words He spoke to Joshua and apply them to your own situation so you'll no longer longer allow enterfear to interfere with God's will for your life. As you do, you will bear fruit and experience joy that only comes from being used of God in a way that exceeded your expectations, but not His. Have a blessed week!