Standing on the Promises - Part 2
God gives us his Word to nourish us spiritually and to feed our faith. Just knowing God’s Word can make a big difference. When we have a problem we can find Scripture that speaks to that problem and draw wisdom and strength from the Scripture as we face the problem.
There is a spiritual battle going on in this broken world between good and evil and we will be caught up in it. God has given us armor and a sword to use in fighting this battle. (Ephesians 6:14-17) And the “sword” God gives us is the “Word of God” or the Bible. (Ephesians 6:17) We need to learn to use our swords (the Scriptures) so we can fight the good fight and not give up.
One problem in my life has come up over and over again down through the years. That is the problem of fear. Whenever a threat to myself or my family or my loved ones comes up, I automatically react with fear. Scripture says: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but He gives us a spirit of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind.” (2 Timothy 1; 7) When I feel fear I pray for that spirit of power and love and a balanced mind that God gives. And I tell myself that. “I will not live in fear”.
When fear takes over I fall back on to the Scriptures. One particular Scripture verse that gives me comfort when I am afraid is Isaiah 41:10 which reads: “Fear not for I am with you, be not afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yea I will help you; yea I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” When I become anxious or fearful I am brought back into the comfort zone when I remember that God is with me and that He will do what needs to be done at the right time – even if that time is after I die.
Another Scripture I love is “Cast all your cares on Him, for He care for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Scripture instructs us to pray about the things that cause us to be afraid or anxious. To bring our worries to God. Instead of being fearful we are to be prayerful. We are to exchange fear for prayer! Every time we are afraid we pray. Philippians 4:6 reads: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
And then if we bring our fears to God we are promised peace. God will give us his peace in exchange for our fear. That’s a great exchange isn’t it? Here is what Scripture says: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Our heavenly Father does not want his children to live in fear. God has promised us peace through Christ Jesus if we pray and give our troubles to Him. It looks like we are encouraged to pray and give our problems to God and then we receive this gift of peace.
Feeling fear is part of life. But we can resist the fearful feelings and not let them get the best of us. First pray about the fear. Give the problem to God and pray for God’s grace to enable you to stand. Say to yourself: “I will not live in fear”. And move out in God’s power and strength and love.
We are called by God to walk in faith (not fear) and we need to learn to walk in faith. Our heavenly Father wants us to do what we can and then trust Him. Trusting God brings great peace. And I believe that loving others as God has commanded us to do also keeps us from living fearful lives. If you wish to be free of fear and anxiety you need to learn to live loving and forgiving lives. There are prescription drugs that can help with anxiety and fear. But it would seem that Scripture prescribes love as effective in driving out anxiety and fear. And there is no cost or unpleasant side effects to love like there may be with prescription drugs!
Scripture speaks of love driving out fear: “God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen cannot love God who cannot be seen. …Those who claim to love God ought to love one another also.” (1 John 4:16b-21)
The second promise is also for peace. “Great peace have they who love Your law, nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165) All through the Bible God promises his children great peace. But why then do so few of us seem to have it? This Scripture in Psalms describes the people who have this great peace. These folks love God’s law and they will not let anything offend them or make them stumble. There again if these folks are living in God’s love they are quicker to overlook offenses.
We seem to forget that there are things we need to do to receive God’s peace! If while we are driving our car we get angry at a driver who cuts us off on the road, we lose some of the peace God intended for us to have for that hour. Why give control of your day to other people? It is so easy to become offended. Things that can offend us are everywhere and we need to learn to leave them alone and not pick up the bait. When people make us angry we can lose our peace if we stay angry. In order to enjoy God’s wonderful peace we will need to be a person who is difficult to offend.
In order not to become offended by an insult or a slight we may have to pray and ask God to help us and we may need to say to ourselves “I will not be offended”. Offended people lose their peace because they become hurt and angry and jealous and bitter and resentful and hateful. These toxic emotions affect our whole physical bodies in negative ways. And the offense the offended person holds onto can lead to separation, broken relationships, betrayal, and more. Then we lose the peace that God intended for us to enjoy. All good reason to become the person who is difficult to offend.
Everywhere in Scripture God is calling his children to peace. In order to be children of peace we need to be people who are difficult to offend. Romans 12:18 says: “If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.” Forgiving those who offend us is one of the most spiritually powerful things that we can do. God has commanded his children to forgive and with God’s help we can do it.
The Bible promises us peace and encourages us to not live in fear and to become people who are difficult to offend. It would seem that in order to keep the peace that God has promised us we will need to live our lives trusting God and loving God and other people. And in order to live a loving life we may need to become people who are difficult to offend. God has given us the gift of peace but we have our work cut out for us in order to keep that peace. Let’s trust God and live a life of love. Then we will open the door to more peace and joy than we will have ever known before!
Some of these ideas were taken from Joyce Meyer’s book, Power Thoughts.