Sunday, August 24, 2014

Neutralizing doubt, worry and fear in your life

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."

Introduction: Distinguishing doubt, worry and fear
What is the difference between doubt, worry and fear?  These three emotional and spiritual states are weaponry used by the enemy to plague the people of God.  When taken up by the believer, each one sabtoges the ability to see God clearly.  Doubt has to do with how I respond to God and His Word spoken to me in the past.  Fear functions similarly, only it deals with how I respond to God in the present.  If doubt has to do with what God said in the past and fear has to do with how I’m relating to Him in the present, then what about worry? Worry deals with my perceptions of what He will do in the future - all three of course are species of unbelief.  

All of those reading this blog can relate to all three of these deadly weapons.  Thankfully God has given us the scriptures to combat these and other devices used by the enemy of our souls.  Romans 15:4 tells us: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  Sections of the Old Testament like the Psalms can readily equip us to defeat doubt, worry or fear.

So where are you finding yourself doubting, worrying or fearing?  I would encourage you to begin reading the scriptures out loud.  What Paul writes in Romans 10:17 concerning the beginnings of saving faith also applies to how one is kept in saving faith: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  As we noted earlier, the Psalms are among the most effective sections of scripture in defeating doubt, worry and fear. 

Consider the following thoughts from Psalm 37:

1. Warnings that can guard you from going down the road of doubt, worry and fear

Psalm 37:8 states: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”  Notice that underlined word “fret”?  At least three times we find it mentioned in this Psalm.  In the Hebrew language this word “fret” is translated for the term “chara”.  Chara refers to literally getting oneself all hot and bothered or stirring up oneself into a heated frenzy.  Does that describe how you are feeling and dealing with life?  Do you feel pressure building in your gut, like you are going to explode?  That’s exactly what the Psalmist is warning you and I about here.  Thankfully He gives us this warning.  So what is the solution offered by the Psalmist?  Consider the next thought.

2. Walk in the rest of God
Psalm 37:1-8 acts as a series of bullets that you can use when that disturbing, troubling notion grips your heart.  Note how God gives a series of commands.  Commands are particularly important, since for every command in scripture there is always a provision of grace to carry them out.  God’s commands are not given because I’m simply able to do them.  Many people get discouraged when trying to carry out God’s commands.  They will say: “They are just too hard”.  Dear friend, the commands of God are not hard, they are impossible – that is, if you are not taking advantage of God’s provision of grace. 

Note how we are given instruction on resting is God in the following verses: “Fret not” in 37:1; “Trust” in verse 3; “Delight in the Lord” in verse 4; “Commit your way” in verse 5.  With these commands we see the provision of grace in verse 6: “And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.”  

So if you are in the midst of darkness, note that God’s word gives you provision to enjoy an open heaven, a noonday sun despite the midnight of your circumstance.  Psalm 37:7 tells us to “rest in the Lord” and in verse 8 to “cease from anger”.  We are not promised immunity from trouble, however we are given the “rest of God” whereby we can rise above doubt, worry and fear. 

3. Win the battle knowing that God is fighting for you
Psalm 37:40 states: “And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.”  What is remarkable about this Psalm is that it begins with the command not to fret, and it ends with the confidence of victorious faith.  This is not a “pie in the sky, sweet by and by” theology, this is real life doctrine.  Knowing that God will never leave me, not forsake me, is more than enough to overcome doubt, worry and fear.

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