Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Defeating the triple threat of doubt, fear and worry

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.” 

What is the difference between doubt, worry and fear in the Christian life?  Doubt has to do with resistance to past insights from God and His Word spoken to me in the past.  Fear has to do with my hesitation in responding to God and His Word 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 worry deals with my perceptions of what He will do in the future. Dr. Adrian Rogers has noted that worry is a mild form of atheism. When one really thinks about it - doubt, fear and worry are species of unbelief. 

These three emotional and spiritual states are weaponry used by the enemy to plague the people of God.  The Christian's spiritual warfare includes battling these species of unbelief that want to run uncorralled in the human heart. When left untamed, doubt, fear and worry will contribute to blurring our vision of God and His character.  

Like all of those reading this blog, I can tell you first-hand the countless wrestlings I've had against these three dreaded foes.  Thankfully, God has given us the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Sovereignty Lordship of Jesus Christ and the scriptures to combat these and other devices used by the enemy of our souls.  Thus we will considering some key passages from one of the great chapters in the Bible - Psalm 37.

So where are you finding yourself doubting, worrying or fearing?  I would encourage you to read 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.”  

I would encourage you to turn to Psalm 37 note some incredible verses that gives the believer the arsenal needed to defeat doubt, worry and fear.  

1. Warnings to heed
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 the Psalmist's warning to us.  So what is the solution? 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. Winning the battle (by 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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