By Pastor Noelle Huether
As we remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country, I also think about the families and friends of the fallen. I hear their stories as the watched the transformation of their loved ones from wild teenager to polished soldier. Many young recruits enter the military full of themselves with grand ideas of heroism. Some young recruits see the military as an escape. A place without Mom and Dad, but three meals a day, roof over their head and a paycheck. Whatever draws a young man or woman into the military, they are never the same after the few weeks of boot camp. Isn’t that right? One of the areas boot camp tries to reprogram, so to speak, is our natural reaction of Fight, Flee or Freeze. Think about it, what if a soldier was in the middle of a mission and reacted with any of these natural tendencies of ours…
If a soldier reacts immediately by Fighting, he or she may kill innocent people, children, or even other soldiers.
If the soldier flees he puts everyone in danger and could be also be killed himself.
If a soldier freezes, again, everyone and the mission is put into danger.
A new recruit is trained to overcome their natural tendency to Fight, Flee or Freeze in the face of danger in order to stay focused on the mission and their commanding officer.
We, like a new recruit, have a tendency to fight, flee or freeze when we perceive any sort of threat coming our way. I’m going to take this to a different level today though, I also see this tendency in our personal lives regarding our response to truth.
What do you do when God is trying to teach you something?
How should we respond when God is trying to correct us or reveal a sin within our hearts?
How do we deal with these fight, flee or freeze tendencies in our own hearts and minds?
How can we even identify when we are instinctively reacting instead of facing truth?
When we do identify our defensive instincts, how can we get past these techniques of avoidance and truly resolve that which we are trying so hard to protect?
Grab your Bibles, open them up…
Let’s read what King David learned about how to respond to truth. As you read this, keep in mind that King David is the one on record for everyone to see that he not only committed adultery, but he also murdered his faithful soldier.
Psalm 139, NIV, David writes about God’s character and His Grace.
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.”
What stands out to you in these verses?
There is nowhere to go outside of God’s presence. God is everywhere, knows everything we do, say and think. Everything. It can be just plain uncomfortable in God’s presence. He is Holy, we are not. When we acknowledge our sin, doubt, frustration, even depression, we want to Fight, Flee or Freeze when brought face to face with God’s truth and grace. King David had already faced his sin of adultery and murder with God. In King David’s humility, God restored him although it did cost him the life of his newly born son. Still, King David does not let his past cause him to keep running or fighting with God, he acknowledges God’s greatness and all knowing presence as a blessing and joy.
King David overcame his natural tendency to fight, flee or freeze when being corrected by God or confronted with an area in his life to grow in. Our natural tendency, seems to be to perceive God and His work in our lives as a danger, a threat. We become defensive with a strong desire to protect ourselves, to be right. Be honest as you read on, when do you…
Fight – to blame, counter attack, accuse, verbally or even physically attack
Freeze – blank look (blink blink), ignore, justify, feign ignorance, lie, deny
Flee – run away physically or emotionally, become depressed, become offended, isolate yourself, woe is me syndrome, play the victim
We have identified what fighting, fleeing and freezing in God’s truth is, but what does Facing God’s grace and truth look like?
Later in Psalm 139 is our answer. Turn with me to Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Facing grace, facing truth is acknowledging that God does know everything, including our heart. Why keep fighting Him? Why keep fleeing from His presence and others? Why ignore or justify yourself or your sin when you can walk in truth? Live at peace with yourself and others?
When you face God fully on, you will find forgiveness, freedom and a love beyond all your expectations.
1 John 1:8-9
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Right now, this side of death, this side of eternity, we get to embrace the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus! Right here right now we all have an opportunity to be totally cleansed, inside and out. We can shine like the stars, no guilt, no shame, no fear, no reason to fight, flee or freeze. We have this wonderful opportunity at any time to Face Grace. We can have Freedom!
How do you recognize a well trained, seasoned soldier? They face whatever comes their way with confidence. They do not react by recklessly attacking, by fleeing or by freezing. To do so would mean loss of innocent lives, other soldiers or even their own life.
The point is, we have this amazing opportunity to face God and His grace right now so that we too can face situations that come our way with confidence. When we submit to God’s grace, He will lead us in all our ways.
His goal is that we walk in His grace continually, moment by moment. That may take time to build up to living a life continuously facing His Grace. We start with now.
What is an area right now, here today, that you need to face God’s grace?You can identify these areas by honestly asking these questions:
What is causing you to fight with God or others?
What is it that is driving you to flee from Him and others?
In what areas are you frozen in place and not moving at all by justifying, ignoring, lying or denying even is an issue?
Face Grace right now and take a moment to pray about an area, or areas, He is trying to help you overcome.