And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear,…
Speaking of the last days, these verses give a clear picture of what we can expect to see all around us. It is very obvious today that the entire planet is under great distress. Nations are experiencing uprisings, destructive weather patterns, diseases for which there are no cures, moral depravity and the list goes on. This scripture says that these things have come with great perplexity. In other words, people don’t know what to do. They are in a state of confusion and bewilderment.
As a result, the Bible says here that, “men’s hearts shall fail them for fear…” I believe that it is no coincidence that heart disease tops the charts as one of the most prominent diseases taking the lives of both men and women. This is because what goes on in the heart and mind eventually affects the body. Medical science has clearly shown that those who have an overall negativity or outlook will have more trouble staying healthy. What goes on in the deepest thoughts and feelings of your heart will eventually affect you on the outside. This is why scores of people today are on so many forms of anti-depressants, mood-altering prescriptions and tranquilizers. It seems that the trend of the day is finding the answers to calm people’s fears and anxieties.
Some people worry like it is a profession. They are bound to worry just like some people are bound to smoking cigarettes. They have a fear or phobia about everything. However, most people deal with some varying level of worry. Just about everyone knows how to speak the language of worry. We often use phrases like “I’m afraid that….”, or “What if…”, or “That happened before…” etc. We worry about a large number of things. Two of the most prominent areas we worry about are concerning our health and finances. So many people fear becoming seriously ill or injured and so many have financial pressure. However, living in a state of worry is not how God intended us to live.
Worry is from the devil
Too often we treat worry and fear as if it is just a normal human emotion; something everyone has. As believers we receive things into our lives that were not ordained by God, but instead were initiated by the devil. We assume that it is acceptable to have a certain amount of fear. Now it is important not to confuse fear with common sense. The Lord did give us the natural instinct to use common sense. For example, something inside you refrains you from crossing a busy street without first checking for safety. That is a natural inclination to keep yourself safe. But fear and worry is an entirely different matter. A person who worries will not only watch for safety, but they will begin to go to drastic measures to keep something bad from happening and at times avoid normal activities altogether. Not only that, they will allow the things that make them worrisome or fearful to entertain a vast majority of their thoughts.
We need to realize that fear and worry is not designed by God to be a “normal” part of life. Instead, fear is the work of and evil spirit. Notice the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” We also find a similar wording about the spirit of fear in Romans, 8:15. It says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Aba, Father.”
The devil is the author of fear. He loves to torment people and make them believe that something bad will happen. Sometimes he tries to substantiate his false claims by reminding us of some previous trial or someone else’s experience. God does not want you or I to live in the past or under the guidance of someone else’s experience. He wants to teach you and I through His Word and His spoken promises already given to us in the Bible. Our dependence and confidence should be upon the many powerful truths written in the Word of God, not on the events and experiences of this life. That is truly what trusting God is all about.
Worry displeases God
A lifestyle of worry displeases God because it is the opposite of faith. Hebrews 11:6, says, “For without faith it is impossible to please him:…” That means that God is not pleased with you when you choose to trade your faith and confidence in Him over to worry and fear. In Luke 10:39-42, we read the story of Mary and Martha. I want you to notice what Jesus said in these verses.
And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part,which shall not be taken away from her.
Notice here that Jesus addressed Martha on the fact that she was a person who was troubled about many things. Jesus was aware that Martha was not a person who was just burdened at that moment, but rather that she had trained herself to be encumbered by the cares of this life. Doesn’t that sound like so many people today? However, we find the answer to overcoming that tendency. Verse 39, records that Mary was sitting and hearing Jesus speak the Word. Then Jesus later expressed to Martha that Mary was choosing the good part, which had eternal value to it. Instead of being overwhelmed by the cares of life, Mary chose to set those things aside and allow herself to be filled with the Word of God.
If you stop and think how often in one day we receive the devil’s perspective on things rather than God’s. From the time we wake up until we retire at night, we hear fear on the news, on the bank statement, from the doctors, through negative family concerns, from neighbors and coworkers etc. We hear of disease, lacking finances, violent crime, tragic accidents and much more. The devil is very good at promoting any number of negative circumstances each day and sometimes all day. Yet, many only spend 15 minutes or less even listening to or reading the Word of God. It is as if the devil’s perspective on things gets the largest percentage of our hearing. It is no wonder we have become captive to fear. That is why Jesus told Martha, that Mary had chosen the good part. Mary chose to pause from the negative reports of life to hear God’s perspective on things. It is amazing how your outlook will begin to change when you start consistently hearing God’s perspective. But that will never occur if the devil, who is the father of fear, always has your ear. God is pleased when you listen to His voice and trust in what He has already promised you. That is essentially what it means to live by faith.
Give it over to Him
Rather than hold the worrisome thoughts in your own hands, give them over to the Lord. How do you do that? 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” To cast something onto someone else, literally means you throw it to them. The Lord wants us to take every circumstance real or imagined and cast it onto Him. He knows that He can handle it just fine! If He can handle it perfectly, then He doesn’t need our help. He can do it, so just give it over to Him. Therefore, if you “throw” it upon Him, you don’t own it anymore. You don’t have to be concerned with it, think about it or dwell on it at all. Take all of those problems and just say, “Lord, I give these worries over to you. I refuse to dwell on them and allow my peace and joy to be stolen. I declare that I will be at peace, eat normally, sleep peacefully and you will cause all that concerns me to be turned around, in Jesus’ Name!”
Now realize that once you do that the devil will certainly try to bring those problems back into your mind. Stand your ground and resist it. Your mind is not a garbage pail for demonic and negative thoughts. Replace those thoughts of worry with the Word of God. Don’t just think on His Word, but speak it from your mouth. There is something about speaking that overcomes thinking. Talk faith; talk God’s Word. Say what God says and eventually you will see the victory! Remember, the Bible is God’s words to you personally. You can trust it just like you can trust the word of a doctor, your lawyer or your very best friend. He will do what He promised. He is faithful to take care of you because He loves you!
Let’s look at one more verse found in the book of Philippians.
Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever thins are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:6-8
This means we are not to be anxious about anything, but instead ask God to take care of it. These verses say plainly that we are to make requests to God concerning our fears, not just stew over them. From there we can trust that supernaturally, the peace of God will stabilize our minds when we choose to resist worry.
Finally, in this passage the Bible teaches that there is a limited list of things we are to allow into our thought life. We are to allow what is pure, true, honest, just and of good report to dominate our thinking. Is financial ruin a true and good report? Not according to God’s Word which promises us financial provision. But someone might say, “Yes but I am struggling financially and I’m thinking on it ‘cause it is true!” Realize that naturally true circumstances must submit themselves to the truth of God’s Word. His Word is the higher truth that we are supposed to trust in. His promises are always greater than the evil in the world. In the end, the Word of God will always show you a good report.
Scriptures to overcome worry
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou was precious in my sight, thou has been honorable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Isaiah 43:1-7
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings, Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20:-22
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23:6
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. John 14:13-14
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Psalm 103:2-4