Fear can strangle us or we can at least suffer from what many call the paralysis of analysis. Beginning on Friday I will begin writing on the fear of man because I believe we do so more than we realize.
I have taught my children to live by the rule that if you cannot justify an action in 30 seconds, then it is probably wrong. You see, there are no gray areas in my life. Oh there used to be plenty! But I’ve learned that there is right and wrong, and I don’t know. My associate pastor Pete Belmain shared with a few men at my house a couple of Sundays ago that he experienced tremendous freedom in coming to the conclusion that it was okay to say, “I don’t know.” I’ve taught my children, and I am still learning, that we can go to God’s Word for guidance and trust His promises within because they are sure. You can count on them; you can take them to the bank. King Solomon knew this as well as anyone:
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Notice that Solomon wrote “shall be safe” not “might be safe” or “can be safe.” No, we shall be, will be safe if we will trust in the Lord. Most people I know, when you talk to them long enough and bore down to the deepest desire of their souls will tell you they want peace of mind. To rarely be ruffled by events is definitely a gift.
I once preached on a Wednesday night that I lived a 95% stress-free life. Most that night did not believe me. I told them they were mistaking stress for stressors. I have many stressors as does any person living in the real world, the trick is I work very hard not to allow that to become stress. How? By trusting in the Lord.
My youngest daughter Becky, while she was in college, called me one day stressing really bad about what I do not remember. She asked me for some advice on how to deal with the stress. I told her I was going to teach her a very simple principle when it comes to dealing with life’s stressors. I told her if it is out of her control, don’t stress about it and if it is within her control, don’t stress about it. You following this? If you have no control over the situation, stressing about it will not change it. In fact, it will make it worse. If you do have control over the situation, then don’t stress about it…deal with it! Remember, simple doesn’t always equal easy but this one gets as close to it as you can get. How do we maintain such a mental state? Listen to the Prophet Isaiah:
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
I don’t know about you but that passage is like an ointment to my mind. Let’s think about this for a moment. God is going to keep me in perfect peace if I will keep my mind on Him and trust in only Him. Not only that, I can trust in the Lord Jesus Christ because His strength never falters; it is everlasting. HALLELUJAH!
That is something for which God deserves great praise. Our pastor is teaching our men that the recipe for fear is praise, not prayer but praise. Praise God for Who is and what He has done in your life. How you ask?
If you are a blood-bought, born-again Christian I want you to imagine the most horrible thing that could happen in your life. Go ahead, you can overcome your silly superstition of worrying about if you think about it, it might come true. Right now, I want you to imagine something so horrible that could happen in your life. Now, this side of death, and even in death, are you still saved and bound for an eternity in Heaven? Of course you are. Can you think of any other guarantee in life more valuable than that? Of course you can’t.
We are supposed to be living the blessed life as a Christian. The problem is too many Christians in America equate blessings strictly to material things. Oh these things are blessings, but they can also be curses depending on the state of your heart. However, the blessed life is one that trusts in God:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
Benjamin Franklin, our most elder Founding Father and one liberals’ favorite deist, was witnessing the near collapse of the Constitutional Convention when he spoke these infamous words:
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
Franklin finishes his famous oracle with a call for the convention to pray. Most delegates say it saved the convention and our nation. How could Franklin, a deist no doubt, trust the future of a foundering nation into the hands of Almighty God? He knew that God’s providence was solid.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers