Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts on Psalm 119:55

55 I remember Your name in the night, O Lord,
And I keep Your law.
I have shared in a previous verse (verse 14) about how I lived the first 26 years of my life as a slave to fear, and how God opened my eyes to the fact that Jesus died to free me (and you) from fear.

But that freedom didn’t happen automatically. It wasn’t as if the Holy Spirit said, “don’t be afraid,” and with a snap of the fingers I wasn’t afraid any more. Life in God rarely, if ever, seems to work that way.

Instead, what happened was that my eyes were opened to the things I was afraid of. That night in particular, I realized that I was afraid of 1) looking at my credit card statement, and 2) I was afraid of the dark.

So with this new revelation that I was no longer a slave to fear, I immediately got online and paid what I could for the credit card. It wasn’t the entire amount due, but I paid what I could.

And then I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and turned out the light.

Like David, who ran toward the giant when everyone else ran away, for the first time, I decided to face my fears instead of run away from them.

And there in that pitch-black bathroom, a real battle began. A spiritual battle.

The most horrible thoughts I have ever had began to flood my mind. Images appeared - entire scenes where I would make myself a fool in front of people I love and admire. I would have terrible thoughts of being rejected by others. Thoughts of horrible things happening to me and my loved ones. On and on they went.

And every time a thought popped into my head, or a scene played in my imagination, I would say one of two things:
Since I have flesh and blood, Jesus shared in my humanity so that by His death He would destroy the one who had power of death, that is the devil, and free me who all my life was subject to slavery to the fear of death (see Heb 2:14-15)
Or else I would simply say:
I reject those thoughts in the name of Jesus!

For the Scripture says:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Cor 10:4-5 KJV

I don’t know if I was in the darkness for 30 minutes or 5 hours - but I decided that I was not going to be afraid of the dark any longer! Jesus died to set me free from that fear! But after some period of time - something changed.

I literally felt something change - like a straightjacket had been ripped off of me. And I knew it was a spirit of fear that was being kicked out of my life.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

And I wish I could say that the battle was instantly over. It went on for weeks and months- and every time I had evil, fearful thoughts, I would simply call on the name of Jesus.

The battle was even taken into my sleep, where I would have nightmares of being chased, or of falling, or being attacked in some way.

But what amazed me, was how even in my dreams - every single time - I would instinctively cry out, “Jesus!!”

Sometimes the dreams would be so bad that my mouth would be closed and I couldn’t say Jesus’ name. And in such cases I would wake up from the nightmare saying aloud, “Jesus! Jesus!”

And I must say that the name of Jesus has been my salvation, my deliverance from fear. Even in my dreams. Therefore I sing with the psalmist:

I remember Your name in the night, O Lord

A couple closing comments:
I remember the first time that I lay down in bed, and when I closed my eyes, there were no horrible images there. It had been many months since that first night. But they were just gone, and my mind was clear. The devil does not have infinite resources. He will flee when we resist him.

Those fears and things still come at me from time to time, and I still resist them. It is much fewer and far between - but almost as if the devil just comes and knocks on my door to see if I’ll answer; to see if I’ll respond in fear. But when he does come knocking, I just let Jesus answer the door!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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