You’ve heard of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Well, this is about fear and trembling (in your town).
I’m going to start today where we left off yesterday: “Either you are dead to the grace of God (it’s all still about you) or you are alive (vulnerable, stumbling, weak, but full of faith). There is nothing in the middle.”
Did that bit about being “alive (vulnerable, stumbling and weak, but full of faith)” cause you to pause? It should have, because it is not what we normally expect. The great men and women of faith are often presented as heroes — superhuman, like the “Supers” we celebrate in Marvel comics and on screen. But if you put one finger in Hebrews 11 and another in the story of that person as told in the Old Testament, you find a very average human being who is most likely trembling at being put in an impossible situation where faith is the only thing that will bring them through. Many of them even argued with God to pick someone else.
What that tells you is that when God picks you for a task, your excuses are irrelevant. God is going to empower you for what He is asking you to do since you are going to do it by faith.
It’s also true that a number of these “Heroes of the faith” didn’t finish well. Samson gave in to Delilah, Gideon built a golden ephod, David sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. I think in many of these cases they had so much amazing success with the power of God in their lives that they mistook God’s power for their own and thought they were invincible.
Paul said to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is a work in us (Philippians 2:12-13). This is not fear of the enemy or fear from lack of faith, it is fear that respects the power of God — that it’s not just us, but God working in us. And the trembling part is the realization that we are dead ducks if God doesn’t show up. That fear and trembling is a permanent state if we are going to walk in the Spirit. It’s a constant sense of our weakness and our need, and our utter dependence on the Spirit of God. Being alive is being awake to the Holy Spirit in our lives and that comes through being vulnerable, stumbling, and weak, but full of faith. That’s where the strength is, from the youngest of us to the oldest. And when Hebrews says we run the race God has marked out for us, that means we run until we finish, not until we retire or get tired or need a break. We run until the finish line and we keep going in fear and trembling.
Being weak is no excuse for being used of God; it’s a requirement.