We are going to talk today about choosing FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR. Every day, we have the choice to believe God is in control, taking care of us and good things are ahead, or we can choose to live worried, expecting the worst, and wondering if we are going to make it. People say, “I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job.” “I’m afraid my marriage won’t make it.” “I’m afraid my child will get mixed up with the wrong crowd.” They don’t realize they are choosing fear instead of faith.
Fear and faith have something in common. I want to make sure we hear this. Both fear and faith ask us to believe what we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
However, the same can be said of fear. Fear says believe the negative. “That pain in your side, that’s the same thing your parent died from. It will probably be the end of you too.” Faith says, “That pain is only temporary.” Fear says, “Business is slow. You will fail.” Faith says, “God will supply all your needs.” Fear says, “You’ve been through too much. You will never be happy.” Faith says, “Your best days are ahead of you.” Fear and faith ask us to believe what we cannot yet see, so fear is faith in reverse. Faith brings good to you. Fear brings bad. Faith is God believing through you. Fear is the enemy believing through you. Fear is faith in reverse.
Here is the key: What we meditate about is what takes root. If we go around all day replaying our fear over and over, it can become a reality.
Job 3:25 For the thing which I GREATLY FEARED is come upon me, and that which I was AFRAID of is come unto me.
I’ve had people tell me how good things were going and then turn right around and tell me, “I’m afraid it won’t last. I’m afraid it’s too good to be true. I’m waiting for the bottom to fall out.” When that thought comes, you must change channels and switch from FEAR to FAITH. Say, “Lord, you said your favor will last for a lifetime (Ps 30:5). You said goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps 23:6).” That’s CHOOSING FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR.
Once I faced a situation that had the potential to turn out really badly. It involved other people. Every day when I woke, the first thought was “This is not going to be good. It’s going to cause a lot of heartache. You may as well plan for the worst.” I battled meditating on that all day and all night. That’s the way fear works. Fear will dominate your thought life. Fear will keep you awake at night. It will wake you in the middle of your sleep telling you the worst is about to happen. Fear steals your joy. Fear robs your enthusiasm. Fear makes you sick. I felt the Lord told me if I would give as much energy to trusting God to work it out as I was putting into fear, God would make it work together for good.
I could believe for the negative by putting energy into fear, or I could believe for the positive by putting my energy into faith. I could believe for my good, or I could believe for my bad. From then on, every time fear would ask me to believe the bad, I changed channels and instead put my energy into believing for my good. The situation soon ended. It not only came out ok, but it came out better than I could hope. That is CHOOSING FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR.
Today, people have so much to fear, i.e. economy, their health, for their children, you name it. God is saying to you what he said to me. Don’t use your energy to believe for the bad and fear. Instead, use your energy to believe for your good and faith. It takes the same amount of energy to believe for your good as it does to worry and believe for the bad. It’s as easy to say, “All things work together for good for those who love God and remain in his purpose,” as it is to say, “This is bad. I will plan for the worst.” It takes the same amount of energy to say, “God loves me and will take care of me,” as it does to say, “This will be the end of me.”
People say, “I’m afraid I’m going to be laid off.” I understand what they are saying. They are concerned, but instead say, “Father, my life is in your hands. I know you are guiding my steps and I will go over and not under. I will have good success.” But Delbert, what if I do get laid off? You continue to choose faith knowing God has something better for you. If you will keep the right attitude, God will give you an even better job, better benefits, and more money.
I ask you today, “Are you using your energy for FAITH or for FEAR, to believe positive, or believe negative? One day, two blind men began following Jesus calling out, “Have mercy on us. Have mercy on us.” They followed Jesus for a long time and to a house.
Matthew 9:28-29 They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, "Do you believe I can make YOU see?" "Yes, Lord," they told him, "we do." Then he touched their eyes and said, "BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH, IT WILL HAPPEN."
Jesus said your desire would happen BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH. The KJV says according to your faith be it unto you. Do you believe Jesus can do it? “Oh, sure Delbert. I know Jesus can do it, but will he do it for me?” That’s not what Jesus asked the blind guys. “Do you believe I can make YOU see?” Do you believe Jesus will do it for YOU? He loves you that much. Once you decide Jesus loves YOU and will do it for YOU, your faith explodes. You believe for good and not bad. So, where is your belief taking you – up or down – faith or fear? Faith brings good things. Fear brings bad things.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us THE SPIRIT OF FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
If you are going to CHOOSE FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR, you must be careful with your selection of friends. Fear is contagious. Negativity is contagious. We learn from people to be negative and to expect bad. If you are around people who are always complaining and worrying, that spirit of fear will eventually get on you (as it did Timothy). Let me give you some good advice. Find some new friends. If you stay around people who fear and expect the bad, you will choose fear instead of faith. I know you love your friends, but if they carry the swine flu and you get around them… Be kind and respectful, but put on your bacteria mask and back off. “Yes, but Delbert, I’m married to that person, or I work with that person every day.” Then, you have to take frequent heavy doses of positive faith.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for IT AFFECTS EVERYTHING YOU DO.
Guard what gets into you. You do this by not allowing it to get to your mind through your ears and eyes. IT AFFECTS EVERYTHING YOU DO. If you get up in the morning and hear the doom and gloom news, go to work and listen to people talk about people and how bad things are, go to lunch with people who constantly put everything and everyone down, then come home and listen to more bad news, your heart will be full and persuaded into living a worried and fear filled defeated life. Because your “friends” said it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Because a so called “expert” predicts it doesn’t mean we have to swallow it. We CHOOSE FAITH NOT FEAR. We can say, “It’s going to be bad,” or we can say, “I know God is still on the throne and my God shall will take care of me.”
What I am saying is don’t allow anyone to talk you out of your dreams because they have talked themselves out of their dreams. Exactly as fear is contagious, faith is contagious, victory is contagious, joy is contagious, hope is contagious. It’s so interesting every time we have a large crowd, I get calls and e-mails about how well I preached or how exciting praise and worship was. What actually happened is people were infected with faith.
That’s one reason I try to keep it positive at Life Gate. I love to tell you what God says you can do and what God says you can be. I don’t want you to catch fear. I want you to catch faith, healing, and hope. You will not catch doom and gloom here. I know sometimes you don’t feel like coming to church. You had a long difficult week, but hear my heart, that’s the time you need to get to church more than ever. You need a big dose of faith. You need someone speaking faith into you. Sundays at Life Gate are an antibiotic injection of faith with energy. You are around other people of faith. It lifts your spirit.
Fear is like fog. Fog is nothing more than a low cloud of mist. You can’t see far in it. It looks spooky and frightening. When you encounter fog, you need to slow down for a bit. There’s actually nothing to it and you will be out of it soon. Fear looks more spooky frightening than it really is. It says, “You will never get well.” “That child will never change.” “Your finances will get worse and worse.” Tell fear, “You sound spooky. You look big, but I know the truth. There’s nothing to you. You will lift soon and I know that on the other side of you, the sun is shinning bright. It will be beautiful very soon.” Don’t give into fear. It’s just a fog and not nearly as horrific as it’s telling you it is.
When we have negative fearful thoughts, they create negative imaginations. For example, you forget something important. The thought comes, “It’s Alzheimer’s. I’m losing my mind. I’ve got Dementia. Dad died from it. It’s my turn.” If you entertain that thought, before long you will see yourself in a nursing home wearing a straight jacket. You will see yourself not able to recognize your own children. You will see yourself at your own funeral. Your imaginations are trying to take you some place bad.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ;
You’ve got to change the channel. Use the weapons of warfare. Don’t allow that movie to run in your mind. You are the owner and you have the remote control. Change the channel. If you are going to let your imagination run wild, let it run wild in the positive direction. If you are going to use energy to imagine, put on the movie where you are old and like Moses, your mind is sharp. Your eyes haven’t failed and you can still climb mountains. Show the scene of you accomplishing your dreams. Play the scene where your children are succeeding and you are out of debt. Choose the “FAITH” channel. Don’t watch the horror channel. That’s CHOOSING FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR. Some of you could easily go to a new level of life if you would discipline your thought life.
You heard about the woman who went to the grocery store and got groceries. She put the groceries in the back seat. She forgot something and ran back in for a few minutes. She came back out to a hot car and sat down behind the wheel. She heard a noise and felt something hit the back of her head. She said, “I’ve been shot.” She reached the back of her head and felt what she said were her brains coming out. She passed out. She woke a few minutes later and sat motionless for over an hour holding the back of her head. A man noticed something was wrong. He called the police who showed up asking her to open the door. She said she couldn’t. She said she was shot in the head and was holding her brains in. The police got into the car and discovered a can of Pillsbury biscuits had exploded. The dough hit the back of her head and she thought it was her brains. Don’t let your imagination run wild.
Some think today they’ve been shot, i.e. the economy is bad, health issues, finances, occupation, marriage, children. The enemy is working overtime on your mind. The Lord is saying, “It’s only a loud noise. It’s only mist. It’s only dough. Don’t be like Job and use your energy for fear. Use your energy for faith. Be like those blind guys and know that Jesus will do it for you. God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear. That’s the enemy messing with your mind. Guard your heart in selecting your friends. Cast down fearful imaginations. Change channels. CHOOSE FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR.”