When I first saw this verse in the Living Bible years ago, I said, "I want that, Lord!" I have struggled with anxiety and fear for most of my life, and until I began reading the Bible, I thought that I had no choice in the matter. Here, the apostle Peter was telling me that I could actually experience "increasing freedom from ALL anxiety and fear."
But how? My answer came in the form of the Amplified translation of this verse. "May grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be yours in increasing abundance [AS YOU WALK CLOSELY WITH GOD]." How do we walk closely with the Lord? We spend time alone with Him - reading His Word, listening for His voice, praying and sharing our most private thoughts and deepest desires with Him. And we make pleasing Him our number one priority - being willing to offend even our closest loved ones, rather than offend Him.
Scripture says, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3 NKJV) In order for us to walk closely with God, we need to be in agreement with His laws, His truth, and His principles. The more we align our beliefs and actions with Scripture, the better we will hear the Lord's voice and be empowered to obey Him. This involves following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul wrote, "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." (Galatians 5:25 NLT) The Amplified translation puts it this way: "If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage - our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]." Walking closely with God means walking in the Spirit, and becoming more and more like Christ all the time.
As followers of Christ, you and I have the potential and privilege to experience "increasing freedom from ALL anxiety and fear." Let's not settle for anything less.
Prayer: Lord, teach me what it means to walk closely with You. Renew my mind so that I will always be in agreement with Your laws and Your truth. Help me to spend undistracted and unhurried time alone with You and Your Word on a regular basis - pouring out my heart to You, listening for Your voice, and drawing on Your strength. Thank You that as I follow Your Spirit's leading in every area of my life, I will experience the freedom from anxiety and fear that is my inheritance in Christ!
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