Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No. 09 Fearfulness Or Faithfulness???
We all face issues from day to day that often assail us with fear and anxiety. Yet God has called us to trust and rest in HIM!!! And while that isn’t always “easy”, it is quite simple. We must consciously keep our heart, mind and eyes on Jesus.
“Wherefore seeing we also
are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily
and let us run with patience
the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down
at the right hand
of the throne of God.
3 For consider him
that endured such contradiction
lest ye be wearied
in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3
While there is debate over what the “cloud of witnesses” is, the context lends itself to understand that it is a reference to those who have found God faithful in the past. I don’t believe it’s a picture of a stadium full of people cheering us on, but rather a statement of fact—that many have gone before us in faithfulness (that was the message of Hebrews 11) by keeping their hearts and minds fixed on God’s faithfulness rather than their own weakness or immediate dilemmas. This is the confidence that we can take from this passage; that because God has always been faithful, He will continue to be faithful, because God never changes or fails. And through the assurance of the work of Jesus Christ we can lay aside the sin and fear (anxiety-weight) in exchange for the power, courage and ability to “run with patience the race that is set before us”!!! God doesn’t call us to run any race but our own—the race that God has “set before us”. And if God has ‘set’ that race before YOU, then He will provide the ability, courage and endurance to press on and run it with HIM. Scripture is replete with encouraging reminders to help us race on!
“…….for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5a-6
We never walk or run alone—it is God who is with us, and because of that we don’t have to fear but press on in confident assurance of whose we are!
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
But in order to “do all” I must be “doing” what God wants me to do, living in accordance with His Word. Then He enables me to overcome the fears, anxieties and challenges of the world—a world that is becoming more and more hostile to people of Biblical faith. But we don’t have to fear—we can walk in confidence fearlessly.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Our confidence is in the God who is all-powerful, and all- knowing (omnipotent and omniscient, as well as omnipresent!), and He has given us His Spirit of power and love, as well as soundness of mind. And if we look up the Greek word translated “sound mind”, it means ‘right thinking’, having a mind that can know and discern truth and right. And we can only do that when we truly know Jesus and walk in His Word. And walk in His Word is what we must do, and to walk in it, we must know it.
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
And I can overcome fear by keeping my heart and mind on the things of God. As Paul says so clearly:
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself
of no reputation,
and took upon him
the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness
8 And being found in fashion
as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient
even the death
of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
The mind of Christ is the mind of servant hood—servants unto God and unto those around us. We must be willing to die to ourselves and live unto Christ. And a “dead” man doesn’t worry about anything!
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
When we realize that our life is lived unto Jesus, by the power of Jesus, and for His glory, it makes all the difference in the world. I’m not saying that we’ll have a cakewalk, or a path lined with roses; but I am saying that we will have an overriding confidence that circumstances cannot defeat!!! While I may have moments of doubt, fear and confusion, the precious Holy Spirit will touch my heart and remind me to look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”—the one who is always with me. And we must remember that the battleground is in our minds, and our God gives us the victory if we will but avail ourselves of it.
“For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God
to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing
that exalteth itself
against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity
to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
I encourage you to memorize these verses so that you will be able to call to mind the power that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the power to recognize the schemes of the enemy of our soul (Satan, the Devil, the Serpent…. See Revelation 12:9), and to overcome them by the obedience of Christ. Jesus saves us to serve Him, and He equips us to serve Him—we must simply keep our hearts and minds set on Him and that is often a wearisome but worthwhile task.
“He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” Proverbs 4:4
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
And in closing, one of my favorite passages, and one which I quote to myself often (especially verse 8—I encourage you to commit it to memory if nothing else), because it reminds us of the plumb-line of God’s expectations for our hearts and minds. It is a checklist, if you would, for our thought life; and it will help us keep our hearts and minds on the things of God rather than the fear and confusion that dominates the world around us.
“Be careful for nothing;
but in every thing
let your requests be made known
7 And the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts
through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
9 Those things,
which ye have both learned,
and the God of peace
shall be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
So put this checklist in your heart and mind and use it to measure your thought life and actions. It will make a difference in your life. And why do we need to do all these things? First and foremost, because God told us to, and also because HE is worthy of our allegiance and praise—and only a life lived in devotion and obedience to God is a real life of worship and praise!!!
“Saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying,
Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:12-13
May we all walk in faithfulness before Him, and before a lost and dying world? May we recognize that fearfulness isn’t a place where we need to dwell, but we are to continually turn from fear to faith when confronted with issues that frighten us? Remember our God reigns over all!!!
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:6