This is Part 1 of a two-part series.
There are some passages of Scripture that seem a little challenging to follow during those uncomfortable episodes that make up life.
Bless those who curse you? Yep, that's what He says.
Purposely do good to those who have harmed you? Yeah, that's expected too.
Actually forgiving someone who has maliciously hurt and abused you? Well, the Spirit's help is definitely needed to fulfill that mandate.
There are also those verses that cause us to cringe, the ones that we don't quite appreciate because we know we don't quite follow them; the ones that we quickly gloss over and take as suggestions instead of commands, because we know God couldn't really expect us to achieve something so ... impossible.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
Terrorism, incurable diseases, random acts of violence, real financial pressures, world leaders with very few answers against the uncertainty of rising world issues and upheavals in our personal lives don't do much to help a person stay calm in today's world.
Suddenly, blessing and forgiving the most hurtful offenses begin to look a little easier. Thankfully, the Lord has made His power available for times such as these: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
The one who sticks closer than a brother calls us "more than overcomers" (see Rom. 8:37) because of what His powerful love accomplished for us and what He has made available to us.
Jesus' sacrifice made it possible for anyone who chooses Him as Lord and Savior to be secure and established with His power. His Word gives us direction. His Spirit gives us the strength and ability to follow His Word as we relinquish control and trust the only one who is trustworthy.
Just as it takes work to evict a squatter from a property they do not own, removing anxiety from your life, when there are very real problems occurring, also requires your fervent attention and participation. But the Lord has outlined clear steps that can be followed, because our great comforter and helper desires to see His children walk live victoriously in this life.
Jesus did not allow Himself to be nailed to a cross so that your life could be overrun by anxiety. That was not the "life more abundantly" He envisioned for His followers. His intention for His children is for them to walk in freedom: "My peace I give to you" (John 14:27b).
The inherent power of Scripture and of His Spirit within is strong enough to overcome every accusation the enemy hurls at believers during times of turmoil.
Yes, there are real dangers and threats in the world, but the enemy often capitalizes on these moments to cause anxiety to arise regarding what could happen, wanting us to forget that we have no reason to fear because Jesus has overcome the world. The Son of God has been given all power and authority; He is the victorious King, who is for you today in the midst of this unsettling landscape. These are the truths the enemy wants to distract us from remembering so we become overrun by anxiety. But we don't have to fall prey to his tactics.
Contrary to popular belief, with God's power, it is possible to control negative emotions that arise within and not be overcome by them. Emotions are closely connected to thoughts, making what we think a key issue to how we feel about what is going on around us. A diagnosis from the oncologist can be devastating if the power and faithfulness of God are not taken into account and inserted in the situation. What we think and how we think about news of the latest act of terror greatly affects our response and ability to trust the Lord during times of instability.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (2 Cor. 4:4).
The verses we memorized as children, the ones we know by heart, they must be our meditation. They must filter up into our minds and redirect our thoughts so that we speak and think differently, causing our actions to align to what the Lord has for His followers.
Pray and Ask
Instead of using energy to follow the enemy's path into anxiety, that same level of focus can be used to follow God's path toward life. But it starts with conversation. God doesn't ask anyone to deny what is happening—He sees all that's taking place within the lives of His children—but He desires to draw us into truth, to see how He is greater than all things. In situations of sickness, disease, trauma, lack, threats, great need, desperation, betrayal and uncertainty, God is able to intervene and transform situations.
I called upon the Lord from my distress; the Lord answered me and set me in an open place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can people do to me? The Lord is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph upon those who hate me. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Ps. 118:5-9).
When we speak to the Lord about the latest event trying to springboard us into the dangerous pool of anxiety, it's not for the sake of updating Him—God knows all things; He is well-versed in every detail of the situation. Instead, when we come to Him, we give Him access to our hearts once again.
Through prayer, we extend the invitation for His involvement in our situation. When we converse with Him, we are better able to see our great need and simultaneously, His great strength. As we sit before Him, we are able to calm our wavering emotions, asserting the truth of God's character, the strength of His power, and the ferocity of His desire to help us as He shows forth His nature as Father.
As children of God, we have been given that same privilege Jesus has to boldly come to our Father to make requests, and see the Ancient of Days answer with power and strength. "Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession" (Ps. 2:8).
Rather than just hoping the Lord intervenes, we can actively request His help, and as a result, have our confidence built in God's nature as the helper who responds to the cries of His children; it will allow us to become increasingly certain of God's goodness, His provision and His nearness.
"For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11).
He desires to help us: "For He has said, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Heb. 13:5-6).
Fia Curley serves on the NightWatch at IHOPKC, participating in prayer, worship and intercession from midnight to 6 a.m. She enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders and immigrants from non-Christian nations.
This article originally appeared at ihopkc.org.
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