Losing Worry and Fear

#1 I had the opportunity to teach a Bible study at church tonight on worry and fear.
#2 I wanted to write down my notes so I could share them with others, and also so I wouldn't forget these Scriptures...I need them everyday!

Losing Worry and Fear


How does a person lose weight?  It almost always boils down to three things:
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Be consistent
Period.

What does this have to do with worry and fear?
Well, losing worry and fear from our lives follows a surprisingly similar pattern...
For starters:

Losing weight and losing worry and fear have one very important thing in common...
They both take DISCIPLINE.

 In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Paul is talking about the way he's been perceived by others and is sharing some of his thoughts on how he deals with issues in the church.  We can apply these thought patterns as we begin our journey to a worry-free life.
  • vs.3, "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh."
    • Realize that this is a Spiritual battle, not a fleshly one. 
  • vs.4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." 
    • We have powerful tools at our disposal to break these strongholds.
  • vs.5, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ"
    • Our battle starts by taking every thought captive.
  • vs.6, "being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."
    • We can't tolerate this disobedience within ourselves.  Worry is sin.

Is this a battle we can win on our own?
Absolutely Not.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul's talking about his "thorn in the flesh."  For many people worry is just that.  He says:
9 But he [the Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
What did God give to Paul?

GRACE and POWER

We have the same grace and power available to us that Paul had. 

That is, if you pass the test...(suspenseful music here)
But, seriously...

***The test: 2 Corinthians 13:5***

If you don't have Jesus as your Savior then your battle against worry and fear is already lost. 

Just like the fine print before any diet or fitness program says, "Check with your physician to see if you're healthy enough to use this program," we have to check with our Physician to see if we have Him on our side! 

Romans 10:9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
...

Now, when you're trying to get your body in shape you often look to role models for motivation.  Well, the Lord has given us an excellent role model for living a bold life without fear in His man Daniel.

A Role Model

Daniel chapters 1 and 2 depict part of the life of Daniel that would cause most normal humans to go into a shock of worry and fear (and this is all before the whole lion's den incident!)
In chapter 1 we learn that he was taken from his home and family and put into training for the king's service in a strange nation far away.  We also learn from Daniel's behavior that he is very grounded in God's law.
  • vs.8, "But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
    • He knew God's commands about food and drink and he set his mind to not take a chance on breaking those laws...no matter the consequences.
    • We must also know what God's word says and have no fear in obeying!  Determine it in your mind.
  • vs.9, "Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,"
    • God was on Daniel's side and He can be on our side too.  He showed Daniel favor for his obedience.
    • This doesn't mean that we will never have a reason to worry or fear, or that things will always turn out peachy if we follow God in obedience...it just means that when things get scary, we're not alone.  God sees us, and He has a bigger purpose then what we can see.
In chapter 2 Daniel ends up being on the hit list of wise men to be killed because they couldn't tell the king his dream.  While it would seem logical to hatch a quick escape plan or just sit and cry and cry, Daniel goes to his friends and they all begin to pray.
  • vs.17-18, "Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18 so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
    • No commiserating...just praying.  Everyone needs some friends who will pray with them.
  • vs.20-22, (after the Lord answered Daniel's prayer) Daniel said,
    “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
    For wisdom and power belong to Him.
    21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
    He removes kings and establishes kings;
    He gives wisdom to wise men
    And knowledge to men of understanding.
    22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
    He knows what is in the darkness,
    And the light dwells with Him.
    • Daniel knew His God...The Sovereign God...The God who can be trusted with anything and everything...That's our God too!!!
    • Also, be like Daniel and write it down when God does something awesome...you don't want to forget those things.

Preparation and Encouragement


Continuing with the health and wellness analogy...
If you've determined in your mind that you're going to get in shape, you've checked with your doctor to make sure you're good to go, you've set a goal and made a plan, what do you do next?...You gather your tools! 
You buy some spandex and dumbbells, or you join a gym and buy lots of fruits and veggies.  You're ready to get it done!

The same principle applies to letting go of worry and fear...you've gotta have some tools.
These Scriptures will do the trick.

***BUT...just like the dumbbells won't help you fight the fat by sitting in the corner of your closet, these words will not help you fight the fear unless you know them! 
You have to make it a practice of reading God's word, memorizing God's word, and meditating on God's word on a regular basis.***

Try reading Psalm 46 on a daily basis for a while:
46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

More tools (post these up where you'll see them everyday):

The last key to losing worry and fear, that is actually quite different then losing weight...we have to take our mind off of ourselves and be thankful...

Thanksgiving


Philippians 4:4-9 really sums this whole thing up:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
  • vs.4: REJOICE!  There's always something to be thankful for.
  • vs.5: Others will see it, they'll want to know your Lord.
  • vs.6: PRAY!
  • vs.7: Let the peace of God be your guard.
  • vs.8: Remember that "take every thought captive" thing...turn those worrisome thoughts to thoughts of worthy things...the truths of God.
  • vs.9: And practice!

Practice, Practice, Practice! Proverbs 1:32-33

Be consistent.
Keep coming back.


And there will be times when you feel like giving up...just like when you've been dieting and exercising for a few weeks and you get on the scale to only see that you've gained a pound and a half...hard days will come.  Be prepared...

When You Feel Like Giving Up
Ask Yourself, “WHY?”


These three verses all say the same thing, they all ask the soul, "Why?"  So if you find yourself sinking in a pit or worry and despair, follow the psalmist's lead and say this a few times over.



HOPE IN GOD

And have a prayer sandwich (afterall, you've been working out hard ;) ...
PRAY, Read, Memorize, Ask friends for help, Write it down, Post-it, and PRAY some more...

And do it all with thanksgiving!




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