Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Die to Fear

Day 87

Die to Fear

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Philippians 3:12


ear is a powerful hindrance to our bid for freedom from overweight. Our circumstances may be so stress-filled that it doesn’t seem safe to take our eyes from the things that are causing us anxiety.  

When Peter attempted to walk on water, he began to sink when he took his eyes from the Lord.[i] We can imagine Jesus, eyes filled with compassion, reaching down to take firm hold of His impulsive, passionate, and very frightened disciple. For a moment Peter continues to flail helplessly, but the awareness of his Savior’s firm grip focuses his attention, and it is when Peter reaches out to grasp the Lord that he becomes calm and is pulled to safety.

We have no way of knowing whether this is how the scene unfolded, although we understand from the Biblical account that Peter was safe from the moment that Christ took hold of him. But perhaps Peter, still frightened, did not receive the truth of that safety until he in turn reached out to take hold of the Lord. This is the truth of Philippians 3:12: Christ has taken hold of us, and now we must press on to take hold of him. The King James Version says it this way: “…that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” 

So long as we keep our eyes on our frightening circumstances and the frailty of our own efforts against them, we cannot receive the comfort of the Lord’s firm hold upon us. It is when we lift our eyes to His that we are inspired to reach out our hands to Him, and only then do our hearts receive the truth that we have been saved at last from all that has kept us bound by fear.

When we take our eyes from the Lord, we are like Peter, who very well may have continued to thrash wildly for a few moments even after the Lord had taken hold of him. It is only when we lift our eyes to His face that we have wits enough to cooperate in order to help and not hinder our own rescue. 

When we have made repeated failed resolutions to lose weight, despair and hopelessness threaten. But we must remember this: from the moment we confessed Him as Lord and Savior, Jesus has held us firmly in His grip. We are no longer our own, we belong to Him, and His intense interest in everything that touches us brings His power to bear upon those circumstances that have caused us such discomfort of fear. He is in control of our self-defeating patterns of behavior and our sin. And yes, He is sovereign even over the number on the scale, the way people perceive us, and the judgments they bring. We can raise our heads high, because we are beloved of the Lord. 

May we remove our eyes from everything that has discouraged and frightened us, and take firm hold of Him who has never let us go. As Andrew Murray says of the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12:  “It was because he knew that the mighty and the faithful One had grasped him with the glorious purpose of making him one with Himself, that he did his utmost to grasp the glorious prize.”[ii] 

Pray:  Father, I’ve been so afraid. I’ve been afraid of the health consequences of my continued overweight, of the judgments of other people, and, because of my failures and sins, of losing the blessings You have promised. But I know that You have taken hold of me, and covered my sins, and that You work on my behalf. Help me to take my eyes from my fears and place my focus on You. Lord help me to cooperate with Your work in my life so that I may help and not hinder my own rescue from the self-condemnation and fear that have held my attention for so long.  Amen. 


There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18

[i] Matthew 14:22-33
[ii] Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ, public domain

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