It’s 3 am. You get up to go to the bathroom. Eyes closed, because if you open them you might wake up, and surely you know the way from your bed to the bathroom in your sleep. And then it happens. A thought pops in out of nowhere. What if your child who is four hours away at college gets hurt? Did you remember to leave your phone by your bed in case someone needs to contact you? What if he gets caught up in sin and turns away from the Lord? What if he falls for some crazy girl who leads him astray? What if?
So much for sleep. That’s it. The night is done.
That may sound silly to some of you, but I used to let the Devil torment me like that night after night. Of course the fear and worry are always worse at night than with the light of day. But truth is, I let those fears guide some of my daytime thoughts, words, and actions, too.
I once heard Joyce Meyer say that dread is just a cousin to fear. Worry is just meditation, only we’re meditating on our fears instead of God’s Word. All three of these (worry, dread, and fear) are tactics of the enemy to keep us out of peace and out of focus. They keep us from fulfilling our destinies in Christ. So today I want to share with you three strategies that help me overcome fear and walk in faith.
First, we have to take control of our minds. When those negative, fearful thoughts come, we have to choose to cast them out.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).
We can literally decide to stop thinking negative thoughts. Give those thought to Christ and tell Him to take them away. Then replace them with positive thoughts. The more you read God’s Word, the more available those positive thoughts will be when you need them.
I was sharing with someone recently that when I became a believer, I was in college and faced with many temptations. I remember one day in particular that I was struggling with thoughts and desires from my old nature. I was on campus and started praying, asking the Lord to help me. I felt led to go to the library and look for a Bible. I stood there in the stacks reading from 1 Peter because I knew that I needed my thoughts replaced with God’s thoughts. And it worked.
I just read this today:
“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking” (2 Peter 3:1).
I almost cried when I read that. I wonder if Peter had any idea that one day those words would save me. God’s Words really will stimulate us to think wholesome thoughts. When we are struggling with fearful thoughts and worry, God’s Word will stimulate us to think right. The truth is we fear what we can’t control. God doesn’t want us in control in the first place. He wants us to surrender to Him in trust and let Him be in control. Surrender. Trust.
Second, we have to stop speaking negative, fearful words. Our words are containers for power. How often do we make statements such as, “I dread tomorrow,” or “I’m so worried about my children.” We give the enemy power just by speaking this way.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to have to eat the fruit of some of the things I’ve spoken. Instead of worrying about something that hasn’t even happened, we can speak forth words of life and hope.
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).
Speak positive words out loud so you can hear the words coming out of your mouth, and Satan can, too. You silence the enemy with your Words of praise to God and your thanksgiving. Surrender. Trust.
Third, pray in the Spirit over your own mind and over your situation.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
We’ve heard that Scripture a lot, but it never loses its power. God doesn’t want us to be anxious, worried, fearful, or dreading the future. He wants us to walk in peace, believing Him and testifying of His goodness. That’s how we show the world that we belong to Him. Surrender. Trust.
I know. There’s a lot to be worried about today. Our world seems to be a scary place. As my children are growing up and leaving home, I often find myself having fearful thought about their futures. But the bottom line is this: they belong to the Lord, and He hasn’t give me a spirit of fear. I can trust Him with their lives and their futures. I can trust Him with everything. You can, too.
Be sure to watch the video. Nothing like having a song in the night.