In the beginning Adam and Eve walked fully exposed by God's side. They were created in the image of God, and had untarnished identities. Then the serpent came onto the scene and used deception to distort that identity. Which brought about feelings of shame and fear, which neither man nor woman had ever experienced before. They covered themselves and hid from The One who made them, walked with them, named them, and loved them. Fear entered their minds and hearts, and robbed them of their identity.
Fear is the foundation of bondage and strongholds. Behind the worst of us, is something fearful. When we fear what we cannot control, we become controlling. When we fear for our approval, we manipulate to gain approval. Fear is buying into the deception of illusion. And while fear is a powerful force, our greatest enemy is not found there. And contrary to our beliefs, the devil is not our most powerful enemy. For Christ gave us power over him when He died on the cross.
We - are our worst enemy.
For deception or fear to have any power over us, we must grant power to it. That is why the devil relies so heavily on deception to begin with. When we buy into fear, and lies from the dark side; we erect towers of power that sabotage the essence of our being - to be Sons and Daughters of The Most High God. The Apostle Paul gave us great instruction about taking every thought captive, and coming against anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. And renewing our mind. Jesus told His disciples to "watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees". Which was their ideology. It was a corrupt mindset. The Pharisees began to plot the death of Jesus when He began to press their "fear" buttons. Which was coming against an idol they had erected in their religious lifestyle. Which had become their identity. They would rather have religion than accept a Savior.
In a similar sense, Western Culture has put a lot of value on intellect. We are taught to seek knowledge (book smarts) very early on. And in many cases, to pursue a career we must go through a process of learning, to get a degree. Which then only validates us for applying, but not a guarantee. And if you get the job, your knowledge usually never benefits you as you need experience to really know how to do your job to begin with. You can read a book on open heart surgery a million times, but until you have to cut a person open, that "knowledge" is vaguely useful.
Western Church culture often teaches us that the more Bible we know, the closer to God we get. We have a form of godliness, but deny it's power. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church "I did not come to you with wise and persuasive words, but by the demonstration of the power of God. So that your faith would not rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power". When we elevate knowledge and intellect as a source of power itself, we become powerless without it. One of the most agonizing valleys to walk through are the ones that don't make sense. When God doesn't make sense, or contradicts our understanding of what we perceive, we are completely undone. This is one of my hardest struggles. And it is all based off of fear. I need to be able to understand God's mode of operation in my life. But He says, "trust me with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding". Our wisdom, understanding, and thoughts are central to everything we do. That is why fear and deception are rooted there.
I would go as far to say that behind every great issue we deal with is a battle in our mind. Whether we realize it in the moment or not. And at it's core, is a fear of something, that we are either empowering or dis-empowering. There are certainly issues that arise in life that we cannot control. But what we allow to happen in our mind, and the effects those situations have on us, are within our control. If they were not, The Bible wouldn't say we could take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Which basically means - go back to being the way we were in the beginning in The Garden. When we walked exposed in truth, with God, knowing that He more than has our back.
I titled this post "Intentional". That is because everything we do to become the best version of ourselves, has to be done intentionally. Passivity has no place in greatness. No matter what you aspire to become, or what you set out to achieve, you must do it with the fiercest of intention. Gold medalists win because they have the mind of a gold medalist. People lose incredible amounts of weight and have a transformation, because they have a mind set on transforming. Marriages that last forever stand the test of time because two people intentionally refuse to give up. The battle in our minds - the battle against our fear - can be won. If we make up our mind to not give in, give up, or be defeated by it.
The best version of yourself is riding on one thing, and one thing alone. Your ability to be intentional about being the best version of yourself. You must have no place for passivity. Ever. You can overcome your fears, but you have to be intentional about facing them. Intentional about letting God help you where you are powerless, being real about where you are in this season, and intentional about where you are trying to go. You can do this. Because you are more than a conqueror. Christ is in you! Your hope. Your glory.
We our are worst enemy. Fear is a paralyzing prison. The battle is almost always in the mind. And the best you is one intentional decision away from becoming reality.