Fear vs God's Peace - A Practical Exercise
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
As we all know, life naturally throws challenges at us all the time. It's part of life and it's how we grow. When we are saved though, it may seem like the devil zones in and makes things even worse. If you allow him to take over and remain focused on what's going wrong, life's negatives can very quickly override the positives.
In John 10:10, the bible calls satan a thief. It says that the thief (satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to:
- Steal: The Word of God, your health, joy, your provision, happiness, strength, job, values and your beliefs, and ultimately your faith, etc
- Kill your: success, relationships, ultimately your life or your salvation
- Destroy your: family, relationships, everything that you (and God) have built up together, etc.
His primary goals are to stop the Word/Jesus from being shared and he wants to stop people going to heaven... and he will stop at nothing to do so.
Why? Because he knows his time is limited.
How does he do this? Through your mind. Fear is his weapon. If he can convince you that you cannot be forgiven, or have gone too far and can't turn back or that you're all alone and no-one cares about you - then he wins.
John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)
'Never make a decision in the middle of a storm.' This is a quote by Ps Allan Bagg who leads The Bay Christian Family church in South Africa, the church I grew up in. This quote has stuck with me since I heard it the first time. And whilst I haven't always heeded it - I've grown to recognise when I need to step back and just wait for my peace to return before making a decision. I am not the most patient person so have got myself into trouble over rash decisions more than once.
You may have heard the saying "The battlefield is your mind". What this means is that there is a constant battle between what is right and wrong, good and evil going on. It's all based on what we are feeding our spirit and minds on.
You may also have heard the story about the two wolves. I won't go into detail - but the essence of it is: there are two wolves representing good and evil and they are at war within you. The one who wins is the one you feed.
Are you feeding your soul (mind, will, emotions and intellect) as well as your spirit with the Word of God? Or are you feeding it with non-scriptural advice, opinions of others, the daily news and gossip? Now there is some food for thought for you!
I want you to do what I call 'The Banishing Worry' exercise with me.
- This exercise is best done when you are alone and can be still.
- You will need your bible, a pen and a notebook.
- I've provided printable scriptures for you to print and put up around your home to help guide you back to the Word when fear knocks at your door.
- Print it out or have it open on your computer before you start the exercise.
Part 1: WORRY EXERCISE
The importance of part one is so that you start to recognise when you are worrying, concerned, feeling anxious or fearful about something. We all KNOW the feeling - but we don't always acknowledge and respond to it the way we should - so we let it continue until we make decisions that impact us negatively. We tend to just let our minds run havoc and so remain in a state of fear and anxiety. The point here is to immediately know when you experience these symptoms and to recognise and acknowledge when you feel this way in order for you to action the steps 2 and 3.
- I want you to start thinking about something that really concerns or worries you. It could be anything you have in the past - or are currently worried about. Something that causes the pit of your stomach to start feeling uncomfortable. That thing that has caused you sleepless nights and you have not found a solution to yet. (I am feeling uncomfortable just typing this!).
- Now, write it down - Write down everything that concerns you about this issue.
- Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? Like the peaceful moment you just had a minute ago has left?
- Are you palms sweaty or your heart beating faster? Your mouth may possibly feel dry.
- Take a note of what is going on in your mind right now. Write down any questions you are asking yourself.
- Take a note of what is happening around your belly area right now. How does it feel? Write it down.
- Jot down what you are thinking and feeling physically and emotionally.
Part 2: BREATHE
Once you recognise any of the above, and other symptoms you may have written down in the future - this is what you will do to stop these emotions and thoughts from taking over.
- Stop and take a few very deep breaths.
- Breathe in.......hold for 10 seconds....Breathe out and repeat a few times.
Part 3: GOD'S PEACE
This is the best part. As you read the scriptures - notice how your peace returns and the feelings above start dissipating, bringing with it God's peace that surpasses all understanding.
- You may have already printed the scriptures using the link above, but if not - click this link.
- I want you to choose a few of the scriptures from this list and READ IT OUT LOUD.
- You will notice that when your thoughts are running away with you - the thoughts will instantly stop as soon as you speak out loud. Therefore what comes out of your mouth should line up with the Word of God if you want peace to return.
- Make a determined effort to focus on WHAT you are reading. Read it slowly, recalibrating your mind to what God is saying.
- Repeat it over and over until you feel your heart rate slowing down to a normal pace; until you feel a sense of calm again and your mind is still. (sometimes this can be instant - and at other times, it takes a few moments.)
- Write down what you are thinking and feeling physically and emotionally. Where are you feeling the calm in your body now? How is your breathing? How is your heart rate?
This is what the bible talks about when it says that the Holy Spirit will guide you with His Peace (Phil 4:7). Whenever we read the Word, focus on it, think about, etc - the Holy Spirit is at work.
This is a simple yet exceptionally powerful tool when your mind feels in disarray and fear has taken over. In the same way that fear is satan's weapon, your weapon is The Word of God. The Name of Jesus is the Word. If you forget all scripture, and all you can muster is The Name of Jesus - then that is good enough. Just speak it out loud.
This is a great exercise to do when you are trying to make a decision. Lay both options before the Lord and as you pray over the one - determine whether you have God's peace or not. Then lay the other option before the Lord and do the same. God's peace will guide you to do the right thing every time. Then it's just up to you to obey and reap the rewards.
It's time for you and I to rise up and stand on the Word of God and take back the authority Jesus gave us. That authority is the Word and is the name of Jesus.
So at any time when your life seems to leave you in a complete state of panic- take out your scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to bring back your peace.
We are who God says we are. We can do what He says we can do. We can be who God says we can be. And we can have what God says we can have.
Rise up and let your light shine, because you are Loved, Chosen & Redeemed to be A MIGHTY WOMAN OF VALOUR.
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Has this helped you? Email and tell us, we would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read: Ezekiel 37:1-14 (to understand the Breath of God which brings life)
Watch: The music video on Youtube called: Tremble by Bethel Music. (Jesus, Jesus - you make the darkness tremble) and spend time worshiping.