Vertical Ascent

I’m pulling out the chains and opening up the dungeon door.

Fear, this stalking enemy, must be stopped. Contained. Rendered useless. Left to prowl, he will rob me of the joy that is mine – mine for this day.

Paul reminds us that there’s another way.

Fear is a battle fought in the most private, personal recesses of the soul. It’s a battle where my soul is shaped, shaped by the the pure magnitude of God’s strength, expanse and love. Here, my weapons must be exchanged for God’s.

For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Never before in my life have I had such a desperate need to “take captive every thought.” My thoughts have the power to cripple me. But, what is my mounting imagination against the power and Presence of God? Will my thoughts of fear be given free reign? Will they be allowed to engulf?

Consume?

Destroy?

Or will each fear be made captive, forced to submit to the Author of life, the Master of Life Abundant? There’s no magic formula. No 3-step plan. Making fear captive is a journey that is more personal, rugged and potentially spectacular than most I’ve been on. It requires taking my eyes off the seen and choosing to gaze and gasp at the unseen through the darkest night of my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor me it begins with the vertical ascent described in Psalm 43:3.

Send forth your light and your truth ((expose the lies behind those fears)), let them guide me ((redirect my thinking)), let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Take the time to read the whole of Psalm 43. It speaks of our enemies, our stronghold, our mourning, our joy, our distress, our hope. This psalm captures, in one place, the range of my emotions in most of the hours of my days and all the hours of my nights. Where does this take place? Up on a peak where perspective becomes crisp and clear in the mountain air. Fear loses its grip.

Psalm 46:4 reminds us that in this place where God dwells, there is a river that makes glad.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

The River. It’s source is the One who declares “I AM WHO I AM.” (Genesis 3:14 HCSB – Holman Christian Standard Bible)

We are invited to dive. Splash. Soak. Float.

Ezekiel was given the image of The River through the vision in Ezekiel 47:1-12.

Don’t miss a single word, especially its parting shot in verse 12:

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

What thought (or fear) in your life needs to be made captive?

Hike it up the mountain.

Swim it down the river

First time here?

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8 thoughts on “Vertical Ascent

  1. Isaiah 35:3-4
    Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with Divine retribution He will come to save you.”

    Isaiah 51:12-14
    I, even I, am He Who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget The Lord your Maker, Who stretches out the heavens and Who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.

    These are two of the scriptures I stand on daily. My arms wrap around you, Tim, Josh, Joe, Sam, Anna, and Noah. Fear comes. It torments. It robs our peace and strength. It looks at the future and threatens us with doubt and unbelief. How do we fight? We can’t, but, praise be to OUR Lord and Savior, Jesus, He has gone before us, fought the battle and won.

  2. The days pass so slowly and yet too quickly. The demands continue. I often think of Jesus as He was told of the death of John the Baptist. He wanted to grieve. He needed to grieve. He needed to get away…just for a little. But the demands of the crowds was too great. He set aside Himself and gave to all the needs before Him. It just isn’t right. It isn’t fair, but it is our call just as it was His. You are all being loved, prayed for, remembered and we sit with you all in stillness as the days pass and God heals. Love you.

  3. I greatly appreciated and identified with this post. I have never heard such an in-depth, accurate description about wrestling with fear before. Because of God’s dealings with me the past two years, I know exactly the anguish, desperation, etc. of dealing with fear that is threatening to “take one under.” (But Is. 54 – no weapon formed against you will prosper.) I had no idea that I would ever go through such a deep inner working. It is bringing good fruit, but, oh, the fieriness of trial. I most certainly have not gone through the battle to the extent you are, but have wrestled with similar emotions/needs/desperation, etc. The other day, He called me to yield totally to suffering for His sake. He gave me grace to yield, and I have experienced the blessing of obedience.

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