Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fear Not: Part 2

Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God trust also in Me. John 14:1

Jesus knows to deal with the mind we must look at the heart. He knows that the heart is the wellspring of life. Jesus, quoting Isaiah, states to the Pharisees, “ The people (speaking of the Pharisees) honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain: their teachings are but rules taught by men". He goes on to say, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth is what makes him unclean.” Matthew 15:8-10 These are what make a man unclean, but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean. Jesus goes on to say in verse 18, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander. Matthew 15:18-20.
Let me pause here for a moment, and give you a little background on the above verses. The Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus in Capernaum from Jerusalem to ask him why His disciples break the elder’s laws by not washing their hands before they eat. Jesus' response in the above verses takes the emphases off of behavior and places the emphasis on the heart behind the behavior. In fact, Jesus states, to follow some of the traditions taught by men, these same men were actually transgressing against God. The Pharisees's traditions had become more important than God's commandments. These verses also imply that essentially all sin resides in the heart. Again, it is much easier for us to obey behavioral commands than it is for us to obey with our hearts and keep our hearts pure before God. We must take a stand to guard our heart. John 14:1 says do not LET your hearts be troubled. The word LET in this verse implies that this fight is active. To guard our hearts is a moment by moment battle that takes an intentional effort not to let the world infiltrate our hearts with all kinds of selfish desires. We must be careful what we allow to penetrate our mind and our heart. This active moment by moment battle takes place in our mind.

Let’s go back one last time to John 14:1, Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God trust also in Me. Fear is a trust issue. Who are we putting our trust in when the storms of life are raging war against us? Are we putting our trust in ourselves or are we placing our faith and trust in God. Are we focused on our situation or on God’s Word? Trusting that He is going to work out his purposes within us? Do we believe that God is going to supply us with all we need and give us the strength to get through the darkest night? In the midst of our fears our focus must be entirely on God. Fear set's itself up against Faith but if we put our trust in God than our Faith will conquer fear.

I want you now to take a moment to go to Psalms 69 and read it aloud.Our God is big enough to handle all our fears. We must cry out to Him humbling naming our sin and our condition. Telling Him exactly how we feel and asking Him to lift us up. He already knows every detail but when we cry out it opens up communication between you and a mighty God. It gives Him the opportunity to comfort you through your times of fear and despair. In fact, when you read the Psalms, you discover that what starts out as crying out turns into praise. When we cry out to God in the midst of our troubles, he in-turn, reveals himself to us. Think of it this way, if your child was fearful or sad you would want them to come to you and tell you what’s wrong. You would want them to TRUST you with the things closest to their heart. Most of the time, we already know why our children are sad but we still want them to trust us with their feelings of sadness and with their fears. We want them to want us to comfort them during their times of distress.
Jesus, our mighty comforter longs to comfort you during the most difficult of times. Will you allow Him to come in and minister to you during your darkest of hours? Will you cry out to Him in the midst of your distress?

Re-post: Fear Not written in 2008 for a Bible study entitled Footsteps.

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