När vi prövas och omständigheterna övermannar oss, så behöver vi förstå att vår tro inte bygger på känslor och vårt förstånd. Tron har vi fått som gåva av den som är trons upphovsman och fullkomnare, Jesus Kristus. Och det han gett som gåva till sina barn, det tar Han inte tillbaka. Nedanstående utmärkta undervisning kan vara till stor tröst och uppmuntran när vi upplever att vår tro vacklar
"FAITH'S ASSURANCE--STAND ON THE PROMISES AND EXTEND YOUR STAFF INTO THE WATERS OF ADVERSITY"
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
We have all read this Scripture time and time again, but do we fully understand the very faith by which we live? How do we know that we are saved? The answer is--by faith alone. We know that the Bible is true by faith alone. And we know that we have been forgiven by faith alone. Yet, we often bring this very faith that we rest our eternal life upon into question when life's circumstances seem more troubling than our minds and emotions can process. But be assured--our faith has nothing to do with our emotions!
The other day, I was remembering back to the beginning of this year, when my family stood together in front of our burning home watching three fire companies try to contain the fire that would take our home from us. My husband, Jeff, was an emotional rock for all of us. When he is in a crisis situation, he becomes absolutely calm and reassuring until the crisis has passed and the pieces are put back together. Our oldest son is the same way. The two of them went from family member to family member bringing comfort and help. They remained calm and steady for many days following. I, on the other hand, felt like I was having an "out-of-body" experience for the next few days. Nothing seemed real and my emotions were raw. I felt like I'd been thrust into a nightmare. The first three days were absolutely terrible for me.
Now, let me ask you: whose faith was greater, my husband's or mine? Neither! Just because I'm wired emotionally different than him didn't mean that I didn't have the same assurance and knowing that God was in control and He would come through for us. My faith is what kept me from entering into hopelessness and despair. I just process differently than Jeff does. I had three days of processing my emotions immediately after the fire, and my husband had a few of days of it a month after the fire, because he processed "after" the crisis had passed and his family was taken care of. Grieving or processing the emotions of a traumatic situation does not mean that you don't have faith; it merely means that you are human.
Emotions vs. Faith
God gave us emotions so that we could feel things like love, pain, joy, and sorrow. These emotions are healthy, but they sure can play with our minds regarding our faith. Many people feel as though they have wavered in their faith when they are having an emotionally hard day (or season). This may not be true at all. You may be having a day that brings strong feelings, even negative feelings, regarding your health, finances, or relational issues. You may feel deep sorrow and pain, but this does not mean that you have lost your faith. Who do you cry out to when your emotions are failing you? Is it God? If so, then you have not lost faith! You probably just need a greater dose of intimacy and comfort in that dark hour.
The enemy loves to come to us when we are in grief or sorrow to throw accusations about our "lack of faith." He will try to rob us of our intimacy and comfort when we need it the most. He comes with words of condemnation accusing us of being "double-minded" and weak. Can our emotions and thoughts enter into doubting God's promises in stressful times? Of course, but this is part of discerning between your soul and spirit. At the point of doubt, we must rely on what our spirit knows, not what our feelings feel or thoughts think. If I remember correctly, the Bible tells us that God manifests His strength in our weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 states:
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Is Paul talking about physical infirmities? Probably not! He is most likely talking about struggles and sufferings that all of us battle. God loves our emotions, and He loves our dependency upon Him for strength in those weak times. When my kids are hurting, I am honored when they come to me and find strength and comfort in my arms. It is very intimate, and it is a privilege to comfort them. The last thing I want is to find out that they have cried alone. God is a much better parent than I am, so I know that He is the same regarding our times of sorrow and weakness. He loves it when we allow Him, our Comforter, to comfort us in times of pain.
"If you love Me, obey Me; and I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter, and He will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive Him, for it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you do, for He lives with you now and some day shall be in you. No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm--I will come to you." John 14:15-18 (paraphrased)
This is a promise that we can put our faith in. He will not leave us as orphans in a storm! If you are facing a storm, know that you can stand in the realization that you have not been left orphaned or abandoned. You may not feel strong, but let your faith arise knowing that your Comforter is there with you.
Fear vs. Faith
"When we come into an agreement with a spirit of fear, it binds us to its control."
This past weekend, I went to see some friends who were speaking at a church in our city. As they spoke, they reminded me of a very important truth that we need to understand about fear. There are two types of fear: emotional fear and a spirit of fear. The emotion of fear is a very healthy thing to have. When we feel fear it causes us to quickly evaluate a situation for the sake of a proper response. Such as, do you need to call 911? Do you need to move out of the way of a falling object? Do you need to stop and ask God for help?
While my friend Carol was speaking, she told a story of a woman that she knows who was shopping at her local mall. When the woman had finished shopping, it was just past closing time. She walked out to the garage where she had parked her vehicle and noticed that the garage was completely empty, except for her car. She was not afraid, but she was cautious as she walked alone in the dark.
When she arrived at her car, a strange woman came up behind her and told her to get in her car and drive her to the nearest ATM (automatic teller machine). Carol's friend refused to obey her command. The woman once again insisted, and then pulled a gun on her. Obviously, at that point Carol's friend was frightened, and rightfully so! The fear caused her to quickly evaluate the situation. She realized that it would not be wise to get in her car alone with an armed woman, so she did the only thing that she knew to do--she yelled as loudly as she could, "Help, Jesus!"
As soon as she did this, the armed woman was thrown against the vehicle by something unseen, and what appeared to be a cloud wrapped around Carol's friend. She ran away from the armed woman, and then noticed her attacker ran away from the parking garage, leaving her in safety. She also realized that she had been surrounded by angels immediately after calling out for God's help.
Why did I tell this story? Because it is an example of healthy fear. Apart from this fear, this woman may have gotten into her car with this armed woman and become a victim of a violent crime. But healthy fear caused her to quickly evaluate the situation, and she responded in the counsel of the Holy Spirit.
A spirit of fear is a different issue. A spirit of fear stays with a person whether there is rightful cause or not. For example, sometimes people with a history of cancer in their family line can enter into a spirit of fear. Healthy fear (the emotion of fear) would probably cause an individual in that situation to do some preventive tests and to be sensitive to any unusual pain or abnormalities in their bodies (and possibly get some prayer ministry).
A spirit of fear would cause the individual obsessive fear and anxiety. It would likely steal the peace of God from them and could cause them to be defensive rather than offensive. A spirit of fear brings forth a reaction rather than a healthy response. When we come into an agreement with a spirit of fear, it binds us (chains us) to its control, rather than to the counsel of the Holy Spirit that leads us into a wise response.
2 Timothy 1:7 states, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
Breaking The Spirit of Fear
If you have a spirit of fear, you can either pray alone or ask someone to pray with you to break (renounce) the binding agreement with the spirit of fear. You can begin by praying this simple prayer:
"Father, I want to thank You for my emotions and even for the emotion of fear that You have put within me to keep me safe and to alert me when I need to respond to a situation. I confess that I have moved from an emotion of fear into a spirit of fear that has bound me and stolen my peace and confidence in You.
I renounce any agreement with the spirit of fear that has tormented me and caused me to react in anxiety and strife rather than allowing me to respond in the counsel of Your Spirit. I now come into agreement with the fear of the Lord that keeps me in confident peace and healthy responses. I ask for peace, power, love, and a sound mind to return to me. Thank you for aligning me with Your truth. In Jesus Name, Amen."
Recently, I was sitting alone and thinking about a number of circumstances that were quite difficult in the lives of some believers who I am acquainted with. The circumstances surrounding their lives were quite contradictory to the prophetic promises that God had spoken over them. As I pondered these situations, I heard the Holy Spirit speak these words:
"Will My people draw a conclusion about what I have said in My promises based on circumstantial evidence?"
I was taken aback with this question. Have we stood as the judge of God's promises based on circumstantial evidence in our lives? Will we lose heart and reject His prophetic promises based on circumstances that are contrary to what God has said? Circumstantial evidence is usually a theory (opinion or speculation), supported by a significant quantity of corroborating evidence.
Think back to Moses and the people of Israel leaving their captivity in Egypt--they had the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them with no place to go. The circumstantial evidence was stacked heavily against the promise that God had given for deliverance. If Moses had allowed the circumstantial evidence of the situation to be his dictator, he would have surrendered himself, and the Israelites to death then and there. But he did not allow circumstances to deter what the Lord had said to him. His faith in the midst of fear caused him to respond to the situation by touching his staff to the Red Sea, causing it to part, and allowing the promise to be fulfilled.
By My Spirit, Says The Lord
It is very difficult emotionally to have circumstances stack up against all the promises you have received from the Lord, but do not lose heart! Even when you feel like death is about to take you over, stand on the promises and extend your staff of faith into the waters of adversity. You will see the parting of the waters as you walk in obedient faith. Remember--do not let your emotions dictate your behavior and decisions. Always go with what you know, not what you feel.
Many people are having their faith tested in this season. We are being prepared and strengthened in the current season to be able to stand firm in the seasons ahead--in times when we will have to live by what we know, not by what we see or feel. In God's mercy and grace, He is allowing a "spirit work-out" to get our spirits into shape so that we are not ruled by thoughts and emotions (or circumstances) but by His Spirit!
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
May you rest in the assurance of His promises this day!