“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the lord.’
Jeremiah 1:17-19 (NIV)
Wherever you find yourself today, regardless of your past or present, these truths remain: there is a call of God on your life to step into a bold and beautiful future. Such a call requires you to stand up in the full authority of Heaven – against the fear of man. The story of Jeremiah reveals a connection between the favour of God and the fear of man: we cannot have the fullness of either in the presence of both. Before he could overcome the physical battle of war, Jeremiah had to face the spiritual battle of fear. The invitation for Jeremiah to overcome fear, observe the possibility and own the calling on his life, is the same one extended to us today.
Overcoming fear and stepping into calling begins with steadfastly choosing to listen to the whisper of Heaven over the noise of the world. While the voice of the crowd is always focused on what we do wrong, the voice of Heaven is always focused on what He did right. Every hope you can ever put in other people, pales into insignificance compared to the hope of Jesus and the word He speaks over your life.
We’re called to see the possibility that lies before us through the perspective of faith over fear. We can position ourselves in the presence of God to hear the narrative of Heaven and His heart for us. The Bible speaks of a high place where He speaks to us (Habakkuk 2:2); ‘a private place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near him and receive the revelation-secrets of his promises’ (Psalm 25:14). Church is a high place. What would it look like for us to position ourselves in higher places so that we can see through His lens?
In verse 17, Jeremiah is instructed to get himself ready and stand up. As individuals and as the local church, there is a charge for us today: to get up, get ready and to step into what we’ve been set apart for. Other translations of this verse speak of Jeremiah ‘girding his loins’ or tying up the loose ends of his armour. This is a picture of Jesus in us: tying up the loose ends so that we can walk forward, confidently, into the battles of life. We can have hope and faith because everything is tied into the finished work of Christ. Because of who He is and what He did we can overcome the fear of man and step into the fullness of His favour. It may be the enemy’s tactic to put fear in God’s people, but Jesus removes this by His grace. Focus your fight on the things of Heaven and watch every fear flee as you stand in the perfect love and victory of Jesus.
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