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Pandemic Perspective – Part 12 Worry

Psalm 56:3-4

3 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

David admitted his weakness when he said “I am afraid.” And like David all of us have worries of some kind. Maybe you are worried about losing your job, losing your finances, or losing a loved one that you have depended on for affection and acceptance. Maybe you have fears about loneliness, fears about being accepted by others, fears about failure, fears about rejection, fears about your children, fears about your relationship or marriage, or fears of facing tomorrow. Whatever the fears may be, all of us have uttered the words “I am afraid” at one time or another whether privately or publicly. The feeling of fear has a powerful influence on how we think and act. For some it creates a fight or flight impulse, others are paralyzed, and fear prevents them from fulfilling their purpose in life. The reality is that all of us react in the grip of fear. Fear’s desire is to conquer the soul, to isolate us emotionally so that we can’t enjoy the life God has purchased through His Son Christ Jesus. Yet God wants us to live free from the torment of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 declares, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” God desires for us to live the abundant life while the force of fear wants to prevent us from experiencing the abundant life of joy, the abundant life of peace, the abundant life of freedom, the abundant life of courage, and the abundant life of prosperity. Fear does not act alone but brings with it its twin cousins of discouragement and depression. Together they shout death to our purpose, death to our promises, death to our dreams. Is fear trying to rob you of your dream, to kill and stop you from enjoying the life that God has provided and intended for you to live? David’s life was governed by fear instead of being guided by faith and he knew it, so He made the decision to trust and turn to God and to break the grip of fear through:

  • Confession

David confessed his fear, he admitted to being afraid of people, he said in Psalm 56:1 “O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me.” This was a very real fear and would have included Saul and his army as well as the Philistines in Gath. David understood that in order to break the grip of fear we have to confess it to God. One of the benefits of confession is identification, as David confessed, he also identified his fear. What is it and who is it that causes you to cower in fear? David did not deny his fear, he identified it and confessed it to God. Ask yourself, “What am I really afraid of?” What is the nature of your fear? Are you afraid of failure that will lead to criticism? Are you afraid of failure that will lead to rejection? Are you afraid that your weakness and inadequacies will be exposed? Are you afraid that others will punish, misuse, or abuse you? What is it? Will you identify it, admit it to yourself and confess it to God? Not only did David confess his worry he also:

  • Confronted

We have to face our fears. This is why identifying them is so important; you can’t confront what you do not know. Our natural tendency is to give in to fear, to bow your knee, and give ground but confronting means we will stand firm against it. We must remember that we do not stand alone, in Exodus 14:13 we read, “Fear not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” So even if your knees are shaking, your mouth is dry, and you feel as though you are about to fall down, confront that fear. Fear cannot be wished away or hoped away, it must be confronted and dealt with through God’s Word. People may criticize, reject, and persecute you, but don’t allow them to intimidate you. Face the problem, the terror, and the uncertainty by faith. Its here lastly that David reminds us of the power of:

  • Concentration

What we concentrate on, where we place our focus will impact the battle. Will you choose to concentrate on the promises or the problems? The more you focus your eyes on the problem, the more fearful you become. Faith has a lot to do with focus, instead of fixing our eyes on the fear we need to focus on the Father. Your Provider promises to strengthen and sustain, and He is able to handle anything you may face in this life. Fear wants to create doubt because doubt sees the obstacles where Faith sees the way, doubt sees the darkness where Faith sees the day. Fear is really an opportunity to trust even when our greatest fear is trusting God.

 

 


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 11 Fear

Not only did David look to the Lord and live with the Lord but he also:

  • Listened to the Lord vs 7-10

Psalm 27:7-10

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

David focused on God by listening to His voice over the voice of fear or that of the cynical critics. Are you going to listen to the Lord and hear the voice of victory or that of the naysayers who want to fill you with fear? As David meditated in God’s Temple, he mulled over God’s word. Which means that he took the time to chew over his conversation with God, so that instead of choking on God’s Will He was able to swallow and digest it. One of the reasons we struggle to swallow God’s Word and have difficulty digesting it is that we don’t take the time to chew it. Our quiet time with God should involve contemplation not just conversation. If we fail to take the time to chew over God’s Word we will end up with indigestion, instead of satisfaction we will have a stomachache. David chose to listen to the Lord which means he learned to let God speak, he didn’t try to control the conversation. How about you are you dominating the time and trying to dictate to the deity? Or are you letting Him lead while you listen? So often our prayer time amounts to little more than petitioning without paying attention. We dominate the time with our demands, ramrodding our requests without ever realizing what it is that God wants to say. Is there a place in your prayer life to listen, a space for God to speak? When we create space for God to speak, we learn to listen to the voice of counsel instead of confusion. When we chose to look to God, live with God, and listen to God we will come to know Him intimately. We will stop seeking a solution and start seeking the Savior. As we do, we will be able to look fear in the face and by faith like David voice the victory, “5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.” Which voice are you going to listen to the victor and live in the victory or that of the enemy and live as a victim? Looking to the Lord, living with the Lord, and listen to the Lord will result in:

  • Letting the Lord Lead vs 11-14

As David prays he acknowledges his need for God, which means that he is confessing that he cannot handle life by himself. When we admit our need for the Almighty, we will turn to Him and learn to wait on Him. Letting the Lord lead means learning to rely and rest on Him. This means that David turned to God trusting only in Him to intervene on His behalf with concern and compassion, verse 7, “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!” He also turned to God for guidance and protection, verse 11, “Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.” God desires to see child-like dependence, where we come to Him with all of our heart and say, “I need you!” So often we miss God’s peace and end up living in the fear because instead of going to God for help we try to handle things on our own. What about you are you trusting or trying? When my children were little and became sacred, they would turn to me and hold on tightly. Instead of facing their fears on their own they turned to their father and so should we. Verse 8 reminds us that we can be confident when we come to God because He is the one calling us: “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” How will you respond to God’s invitation to come and commune, are you going to seek His comfort or stay in the chaos? God cares about His children; He will never turn you away. Sometimes we are fearful to come to Him because we feel that we have let God down and He no longer wants us. David expresses this fear as he says in verse 9 “do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger… Do not reject me or forsake me…” But in verse 10 he focuses on the truth and rests in the reassurance that God will never reject us no matter what! As David chose to focus on God his fears dissipated, and his heart grew confident that he would see “the goodness of the Lord”even though he had not yet received the answer he was looking and longed for. It is here that David gives us some of the greatest counsel concerning God, verse 14 to “wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart…” Like David we have many reasons to fear but we also have one greater reason to have peace. As we like David focused on the Lord and remember that he is the source of our Light, our Salvation, and our Stronghold we can have victory over fear. What about you, are you going to give yourself over to waiting on the Lord or worry?