Leaving a Legacy of Faith, Not Fear...

Years ago while crossing the border from Nigeria into the Republic of Benin, I received a lesson about spiritual warfare that I have never forgotten. Apparently there was a festival for one of the false gods of Benin that was a “men-only” event. Women weren’t allowed to see the men parading the idol down the street. The only way our team could pass through Benin on our way to Togo was if the other woman pastor and I were hidden from view under piles of clothing and material in the vehicle. I admit that I was skeptical - I couldn’t believe that the people were truly so afraid of one idol. I remember hearing the men of God we were with mention the market as we passed. It was so hot piled under the material and I was curious. I raised my head and peeked out of the window as we passed what was usually a busy marketplace…it was empty. There wasn’t even a stray dog to be seen. I could hear my companions praying and I began to talk to our Father as I settled back under the heavy cloth. With a wave of shock I realized that this was how the enemy controlled unbelievers and believers - entire nations! He used fear. The idol was made of stone. It had no life, no power, no ability to do anything. It was a lie-based fear that held the people in captivity. Since then, I have witnessed the enemy use this tactic over and over again.

Today we live in a world that seems to be unraveling and fear of disaster, terrorism and abuse is ever rising. Through the media we have learned to fear speaking our opinions unless we want to fight. Fear of the violence sweeping the land is holding people captive in their homes. We have news reports about the environment, politics and the economy, terrorism and disaster streaming into our homes and filling our children with fear. While we need to be informed and keep our children informed so that we can protect them as we should, we are all facing the very real truth that we cannot possibly protect our children from everything. So…how do we respond? What can we give our children so that they will not grow up traumatized from our current fear culture? Here are some thoughts to consider…

1) Limit the deluge of media/news reports coming to you and most especially your children. Don’t let the bad news become the focal point of mealtime conversations and your quality time. Be conscious of how you speak about bad news in front of your children. Are you speaking faith-building words or fear?

2) Turn the bad news into a prayer opportunity for you and your family. Search out scriptures to combat the fear and believe for change. With God, ALL things ARE possible!

3) Take in an abundance of God’s Word, fellowship with faith-filled believers and worship. Fill and surround you and your family with faith. Choose to trust God. Limit your intake of negativity to bite-size portions. Maybe do more fellowship with positive, godly people and less time in front of the TV or on-line???

4) Don’t let the bad news become your guiding force. Remember to maintain Jesus as Lord of you and your family. Pray about things. Let Him lead. If the enemy can control us through bad news and the resulting fear, he will keep the bad news coming! One way to shut down enemy activity in your life and family is to simply choose to reference God in everything and to do as He leads.

I think it’s important to realize that with every day moments, we are making deposits into the spiritual inheritance we will leave our children. Will we leave a legacy of faith or fear for them?

I love these verses from Isaiah 8 (NLT):

The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms: “Do not think like everyone else does. Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear (reverence/respect) Him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe….(vs.11-14)

I will write down all these things as a testimony of what the Lord will do. I entrust it to my disciples, who will pass it down to future generations. I will wait for the Lord to help us…My only hope is in Him. (vs.16-17)

Tomorrow I leave for Nigeria and am determined to take a message of faith, not fear. I want the next generation to know that God IS greater, better, stronger and able! I want them to trust that He IS in control when they make Him Lord of their lives. I want them to know the comfort of His abiding Presence and the assurance that He WILL work all things together for their good. I can’t rescue every child or protect them from this life, but I can help them to find the One Who is Good; Who is their Peace and their Protector. I can help them to discover His amazing love that casts out ALL fear.

The children growing up in today’s world are fighting battles our aging generation never imagined when we were their age. They are being assaulted with fear every time they turn on the internet or TV or even a video game. Some go to sleep with gunfire outside their window. They don’t need their parents and pastors and teachers to be afraid too. They need us to arm them with a faith that can pray and change things; a faith that fights back the fear and gives them strength. They need a faith that is as living and real as the God they serve. Our God is not made of stone. He lives!

Determined to leave a legacy of faith!

Carla Ives