Isaiah 41:10 NCV
Fear can steal our creativity and self-worth. The longer it lives inside us, the stronger it grows. And it’s often fed by words; not just the words others say, but the words we say to ourselves. When we think, ‘There’s no way I’m going to make it,’ we dent our armour and undermine our effectiveness.
Fear can show itself as overprotectiveness, anger, pettiness, jealousy, or boasting. It can weigh us down with the feeling that we have to protect and defend ourselves and make sure we’re not forgotten or overlooked.
So when we’re feeling fearful, what should we do? The best thing we can do is acknowledge that we’re fearful, and then bring that fear to God and ask Him to take it from us. This is what He promises us: ‘Don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.’ In Scripture, the term ‘God’s right hand’ refers to His willingness and power to work on our behalf.
Two chapters later in Isaiah, God told the same people, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name and you are mine’ (Isaiah 43:1 NCV). God takes care of what belongs to Him, and as His beloved children, He’ll look after each one of us.
So when we’re feeling anxious and afraid, let’s choose to say, ‘There’s no way I’m going to make it in my own strength, but I will make it with God’s strength.’
Gen 30:25-31:55; Matt 19:15-30; Ps 66:13-20; Prov 6:23-25
Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
Fear will rob you of your creativity and self-worth. It is the enemy of greatness; the antithesis of faith. The longer it lives inside you, the stronger it grows. And it’s fertilized by words; not just the words others say, but the words you say to yourself. When you tell yourself, “There’s no way I’m going to make it,” you’ve dented your armor and undermined your effectiveness. And if you let it fester, it will affect you like a plague.
To overcome fear, you must first identify and expose it. It will hide in your motives. It’ll drape itself in overprotectiveness, anger, pettiness, jealousy, and boasting so you don’t get overlooked. It’ll weigh you down with the responsibility of feeling like you have to look out for yourself, protect yourself, and defend yourself.
So when you’re fearful, what should you do? There’s only one guaranteed course of action: Stand up to your fears – within and without. Here’s a promise from God’s Word that’s as true today as it was when He first spoke it: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” In Scripture the term “God’s right hand” speaks of His willingness and power to work on your behalf. Two chapters later in Isaiah, God told the same people, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV). And what God owns – He takes care of.
Soul food: Gen 30:25-31:55; Matt 19:15-30; Ps 66:13-20; Prov 6:23-25
Matthew 5:37 NLT
Good negotiators understand that talking too much can be a sign of insecurity and weakness. Sometimes the strongest word is a simple yes or no, without going into more explanation or detail. Most decisions eventually come to that point anyway. But in order to do that, we must be able to answer these three questions:
1) Can I make this decision myself? We need to think about if there’s anyone else we need to talk to before making a decision. And whether there is or not, we should always talk to God first. ‘If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking’ (James 1:5 NLT). Once we’ve gained God’s perspective, and we’re the final decision-maker, we shouldn’t hesitate or waver – just make the decision.
2) What will happen if I put off making this decision? In most cases, things will either get better or worse for someone involved. We need to weigh our decisions carefully, thinking about who could be affected and how, and then decide. At this point, we should stand on the Scripture: ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
3) Does every decision have a moral and spiritual dimension? When we compromise our beliefs or character to gain popularity or profit, we end up morally and spiritually bankrupt. We need to hold on to your values, base our decisions on them, and remember this Scripture: ‘The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness’ (Proverbs 12:2 NLT).
Exo 28-29; Matt 6:19-34; Ps 74:1-11; Prov 2:6
Matthew 6:27 NLT
Worry changes nothing except you – and not for the better. It won’t pay your bills, solve your family problems, or give you a good night’s sleep. You don’t add one day to your life, or one bit of life to your day by worrying. But you can age prematurely and die before your time. Read these two Scriptures carefully: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever” (Psalm 125:1 NIV). “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).
Notice that the same word in both Scriptures is “trust.” Worry simply reveals our lack of trust in God! So who are we trusting in? Ourselves! And only when that no longer works, are we willing to hand God the problem. Can you imagine asking Michelangelo, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing with that chunk of marble?” God knows what He’s doing, and when you trust Him. “His peace…will guard your hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7 NLT).
Paul is using a military metaphor here. The Philippians lived under Roman occupation, which was bad. But they knew that the sentries also guarded their town, which was good. They knew that before an enemy could get to them, it first had to get past the guards. And because you’re “in Christ,” Satan has to go through Him to get to you.
Are you getting the picture? Nothing – absolutely nothing – can get to you without first coming through Him! Once you accept that, God’s peace will fill your heart.
Soul food: Zech 1-4; Matt 1:1-6a; Ps 128; Prov 31:10-13
Matthew 6:27 NLT
We can often find ourselves worrying about things. And while it’s easy for people to try and help us by saying ‘don’t worry’, or ‘there’s no need to worry’, it’s not always easy to stop. Many of the things we’re worried about won’t even happen or won’t be as bad as we thought. But sometimes they do happen, so we might think we’re justified in worrying. If we’re finding it difficult to let go of worry, what can we do?
These Scriptures can help: ‘Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever’ (Psalm 125:1 NIV). ‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you’ (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).
Both verses talk about trust. Worry often reveals that we’re trying to trust in our own power, or the efforts of other people, rather than placing all our trust in God. So when we feel worry rising up, let’s use those feelings as a reminder to hand everything back to God and have faith in Him. It might not be easy, and it might take a conscious effort each time, but if we persevere, eventually it’ll become a habit. God knows what He’s doing, and when we trust Him, ‘His peace will guard your hearts and minds’ (Philippians 4:7 NLT).
When Paul wrote those words, the Philippians were living under Roman occupation, which was bad. But they knew that the sentries also guarded their town, which was good. They knew that before an enemy could get to them, had to get past the guards first. And when we choose to trust God completely, He’ll guard our hearts from worry and replace those feelings with His peace.
Zech 1-4; Matt 1:1-6a; Ps 128; Prov 31:10-13