We all know that the Old Testament character Abraham is known as “the father of faith.” Abraham was a farmer who learned how to obey God and operate in faith. As a result, his family was put in order, they became wealthy, powerful and, best of all, declared righteous by God. Romans 4 says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
But, before Abraham’s life could be radically transformed by faith, he had to deal with something else first. That “something else” was fear. He had already walked with God for some time and had known some degree of blessing. But, fear still had a big part in Abraham’s life.
God came to Abraham saying, “Fear not, Abram (that’s what he used to be called), I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1).” No matter how much faith you have, if you still are full of fears, your faith won’t be able to work for you very much.
Fear is the primary cause of many of our problems. It’s the main reason few people ever live the life that they feel that God intended for them to live. It’s because most of our decisions are based on our fears more than on the faith that God has given us.
The more of your decisions you make based on fear – your fear of failure, your fear of rejection, your fear of poverty, or even your fear of ridicule, the more likely you are to have those very factors come into play in your life.
In other words, your fear acts like a magnet, to draw to you the very things you fear. Even the righteous man Job found this out. He said in Job 3:25, “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come to me.”
With so many things to fear, how do we keep them from coming upon us and overtaking us? Well, you know that Jesus said “man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).” That means you can’t serve God and the flesh. It also means you can’t be walking in fear if you’re walking in faith. On a simpler level, if you’re thinking on the things you’re believing God to do in your life, you can’t at the same time be thinking about the things that you fear!
You want to be thinking about, meditating on, occupying your mind with the things that you desire and keeping your mind OFF of what you fear. Remember, what you feed grows and what you starve dies. You get changed into the image of what you look at.
If you’re looking at the Lord and what He’s doing in your life, you’ll grow into the image of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says when we look to Jesus, we… “are changed into the same image…by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The biggest challenge is to dwell on what you desire rather than what you DON’T want. Since you and I can really think on only one thing at a time, if we’ll spend most of our time thinking only on what we want, we won’t have time to allow what we fear to creep in.
There’s an old story about how a traveler in ancient Greece was walking down the road and asked a stranger how to get to Mount Olympus. The stranger, who happened to be Socrates answered, “If you want to get to Mount Olympus, make sure that every step you take is in that direction.”
In the simplest terms, living a life with the blessing of God on it begins with the power of choice, and taking full control over the thoughts that you allow yourself to hold.
This is the ONLY way to conquer fear, anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness and hopelessness. All of these self-destructive emotions affect not only your body, but your spirit as well. Plus, they’re hard on those who have to live and work with you!
When you really think about it, all of these ways of feeling hurt, upset, lousy and scared are nothing more than thinking on what you DON’T want, or don’t have, or didn’t do. That’s it.
What else is happiness, contentment and joy but thinking on what blessings you DO have, and HAVE had and WILL have? It’s impossible to be fearful, angry, depressed, anxious hopeless or bitter when you think on the goodness of God in your life, past, present and future. You and I have to admit, that God has been better to us than we deserve!
It’s a matter of thinking ONLY on what you want, and NOT on what you DON’T want. It’s bringing your thoughts and meditations to what you want and refusing to dwell on what you fear.
For most of us, this is almost impossible. We could sit down and talk for hours about what we don’t want and what we fear might happen. When asked to talk about what we fear might happen. When asked to talk about what we DO want in life, most people are at a loss.
They usually start with something like, “Well, I don’t want to lose my job; I don’t want to be broke; I don’t want my kids to get into trouble, I don’t want to backslide and miss God…” These are all things they DON’T want!
If you want to walk in faith and contentment, you’ll have to be transformed by renewing your mind, like it says in Romans 12:2. This is what Philippians 4:8 is about. Instead of telling you what NOT to think on, God tells us what TO think on:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest, just pure, lovely, or of good report