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Monday, October 6, 2014

Worry, Fear, Faith, These Three




Yes I know that 1 Corinthians 13:13 says And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love, but with the fear and worry generated by the threat of terrorist attack, civil war in Syria, war in Gaza and throughout the Middle East, now unrest in Hong Kong, the Ebola epidemic, recession, depression, the “end of the world”, crime, etc.  I say this “And now abide worry, fear, faith, but the greatest of these is faith.

"Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults - 18% of the population - in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The disorders run the gamut from panic attacks and specific phobias to obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, a random kind of worry described as free-floating and relentless. Sufferers also have a high incidence of depression and physical ailments, including migraines, high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive disorders and chronic pain, according to NIMH....Being unable to sleep or relax without alcohol or medication are also red flags." (WSJ, Tuesday, June 10, 2012).

Here’s what the Apostle Paul said;

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Worry  

 There is a great deal of difference between worry and concern.  Concern makes us do something, to take some constructive action. Worry doesn’t help us but it places a tremendous burden on our minds and bodies without solving the problem.

You've probably seen this quote posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ at least once. "O God, grant us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference."  It’s part of The Serenity Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr. (Click here to see the entire prayer

I've heard this too; There are two things we should not worry about: the things we can change (we need to get busy and do something about these), and the things we cannot change (no amount of worry will help these). Instead we should let God give us the courage and strength to master the unavoidable, for with God, nothing is impossible.”

Worry is the enemy of faith because when we are worrying we are not trusting.  

Fear

Fear is the atmosphere of worry. Nothing weakens us as much as fear.  God calls to us to not fear, but to simply trust Him in everything.  We dishonor God when we let fear get the best of us causing us to not believe God or His Word. Luke 1:74 (NKJV) 74  To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,
 The word “fear” is used 385 times in the Bible so it must be important to God and something that He wants us to understand.

When we have fear, we cannot have faith. There is a danger then of it becoming unbelief which is the greatest sin a person can commit. It starts with doubt, moves to worry and then becomes fear. Fear defeats the promises of God.   Matthew 13:58 (NKJV) Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

If you've read some of my previous posts here or on FaithTheEvidence.Com you know that one of my favorite authors is Charles Spurgeon. Here’s what he says’

“We must not fear; for fear dishonors God. Doubt the Eternal, distrust the Omnipotent? O, traitorous fear! Thinkest thou that the arm which piled the heavens, and sustains the pillars of the earth shall ever be palsied? Shall the brow which eternal ages have rolled over without scathing it, at last be furrowed by old age? What! Shall the Eternal fail thee? Shall the faithful Promiser break his oath? Thou dishonorest God, O unbelief! Get thee hence! God is too wise to err, too good to be unkind; leave off doubting him, and begin to trust him, for in so doing, thou wilt put a crown on his head, but in doubting him thou dost trample his crown beneath thy feet.”

Faith

God operates on the basis of faith, not fear.  Here is a definition of faith from two non-biblical sources from an earlier post (Read post "Faith What Is It? here):

 The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
  •  strong belief or trust in someone or something
  • belief in the existence of God
  • strong religious feelings or beliefs
  • a system of religious beliefs


Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says that faith is:

Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say “amen” to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.

Fear and unbelief are tactics of our Satan, our mortal enemy.  We have the equipment to resist him and become the conquerors that we are as believers. "By Faith You Are More Than A Conqueror"

1 Peter 5:9 (NKJV) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Ephesians 6:16 (NKJV)  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

1 John 5:4-5 (NKJV) 4  For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is what Jesus said to Martha when he visited her home and Martha was distracted and anxious because of the actions of her sister, Mary;

Luke 10:40-42 (NKJV) 40  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 41  And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Like Martha, the answer to our anxiety, fear and need for order is to focus all our attention, thought and worship on Jesus. He is the only one who provides lasting purpose to fulfill our deepest desires.  He will always be with us:

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) 5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Worry or fear or anxiety needs to be replaced with the filling of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

And now abide worry, fear, faith, but the greatest of these is faith. (DEJ)

For a complete study on overcoming fear, anxiety, and worry CLICK HERE!!  and read the Overwhelmed posts.

God bless you,

Donald