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Monday, November 2, 2015

7 Ways To Beat Fear

To date, the scariest thing I've faced since battling cancer has been the dreaded post op follow up. Imagine the relief I felt when my first post treatment MRI came back clear. The bible teaches us to not be anxious over anything. It also teaches us not to lie. I'd be lying if I said this Dr. visit wasn't a source of more than a little anxiety for me. When I'm scared, I do the things you'd expect from a Christ follower. I talk to brothers and sisters in the faith, read the word, meditate on scripture, and focus on things eternal.  I think Jesus and myself have handled the whole Big Bad Brain Tumor pretty well so far.  Still, there have been times where I felt as though I were hiding behind a mask.  At times, I have, if only briefly, faked the whole "brave" thing for my family, friends, and for myself. It seems, battling demons with pen and paper is quite easier than dueling the devil in person. 

Fear, the most primal of all emotions, ironically, is an instinct designed to prevent what we really fear the most. Pain. Sometimes, pain is brought on by another thing many fear, the truth. The truth that whatever fears we succumb to defines us. Physically speaking, fears might prolong your life, while simultaneously preventing you from living abundantly, spiritually.  The spiritual fears we succumb to are the boundary lines where our faith stops. The entertainment industry has made billions on our addiction to fear while derailing truth.  Convincing the populace of a huge lies, such as, evil isn't attractive.  Instilling notions that demons aren't real, but if they were, they could be defeated by superstitious rituals.  Teaching salvation from evil can be obtained from accessing the goodness inside us. I find it strange some actually enjoy being made afraid by make believe while they avoid facing their real fears. Wondering why, in a world filled with suffering, some have convinced themselves of a reality where monsters do not exist. I've tolerated Halloweens year after year, perplexed over the delight some find in being made afraid. While, almost no one wants to talk about the truly scary things. Things like disease, death, heaven, hell, and of course, God's judgment, often create silence. Until fate, destiny, or divine providence forces you to face the music.

Each of us have our own unique fears. God's people have an arsenal against fear found in his word. 
Here's 7 weapons He has given us against fear.

Fear itself. Fear is the first tool God uses.  Since FDR uttered the famous words "we have nothing to fear but fear itself", America has been forgetting how to fear God. He uses fear not only to keep use physically safe but to keep us spiritually safe. Jesus said in Mathew 10:28 " And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" The bible teaches us over 40 times to fear God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
 Proverbs 9:10
Fear in God is the first step in overcoming all other fears.  Embrace the fear of The Lord.

Belief: apparently a little bit of this goes a long way. According to Jesus, faith in the amount of a mustard seed can move mountains. It is also the prescription  for fear. But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:36

Trust: it goes one step beyond belief in the capabilities to change things. It allows for acceptance with the way things are. It requires knowing God is good, has a plan, and is always right.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Praise: is a weapon against fear. I believe it is impossible to overcome true fear without praising God. Consider the words of David

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 
Praise God, our enemies hates it.

Service: most of us had an early healthy fear of darkness. So much so, that we associate darkness with fear and vice versa. You probably never thought of service as a weapon against darkness .  The bible teaches service creates light  if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10. 

Power: so often we forget the power that created the universe lives inside us. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us: for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  God gives us power to control and overcome our fears.

Love: causes us to do strange and wonderful things. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. It was love that caused Jesus to leave heaven for us, die for us, and give us the tools to live boldly.

Life is too short to live in fear.
The epitome of someone living in fear is a person unwilling to connect to a creator willing to sacrifice himself for us. It makes you wonder what are they afraid of?

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