Focus: Focusing on faith
Isaiah 26:3-4 (CJB) “A person whose desire rests on You, You preserve in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in Adonai forever, because in Yah Adonai, is a Rock of Ages.”
The most important thing you need to think about right now is trusting God. If you were to count up the number of times a day your attention is taken in an area that takes you away from trust and could cause you anxiety—what would that number be? Is it between one to ten—or is it a number much higher than ten?
Whatever the number is—as a means of isolating the anxious thoughts you may be having, it might be helpful to actually write down on paper the things that tend to trouble you. The major things most people are anxious about have to do with relationships, finances, employment, health, safety, security, deadlines, etc.
Listing your anxieties will help you target the areas where you can begin doing a simple exercise. Let’s say the most critical area of anxiety you experience involves a relationship…a person. Whatever it is about that relationship that is causing you unrest—the Word of God says, ‘Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ In other words, when we are filled with anxious thoughts, we are laboring and are heavy laden. God wants us to rest from our labor where anxiety is concerned.
Once you have made that list of anxieties, you can actually go through the list one by one, and give them all to God. He is completely capable of handling all of the things that concern us—so go ahead and give them to Him.
After you’ve done the exercise of giving your anxieties to God, adopt the practice of saying a simple faith statement whenever you’re tempted to worry about your situation with that relationship or other problem. The statement could be something like, ‘I’m not going to worry about that problem because I’ve given it to God and I choose to trust and not fear’.
After you give God ‘your list’, go through the things you listed and use the faith statement for each item on the list. Make a declaration about each one—such as, ‘I’m not going to worry about ___________ because I’ve given it to God and I choose to trust and not fear’.
Sad to say, many of the things we worry about are situations and conditions we are not able to control. All the same, our human instincts keep telling us that if we could just have our way, everything would be fine.
There are two dangerous things indicated about thinking that our way is the best way. The first one is, the concept of wanting things to turn out ‘our way’, is not trusting that God’s way is best. His Word says His ways are not like our ways—so it’s possible that what we want is not what He wants.
It’s not an easy thing to give up our desire to control a situation we’d like to see turn out in a particular way. We’re problem solvers by nature, and some of the hardest things for us to surrender to God are the things that concern having our own will and way. It’s actually not that hard to believe in God and confess our sins—the real test of our true faith in Him comes when we are faced with trust issues.
The other thing ‘wanting our way’ indicates is: fear. Fear that things will turn out bad. The Bible says that fear is torment. Aren’t you tired of being tormented? The Word also says that perfect love casts out fear. When we choose to fear, we’re not choosing God—because God is love. When we fear—there is something wrong with our faith. Faith comes from the Word of God, so if we’re filled with anxiety and fear—what we need is more of the Word.
There are two well-known verses that can help us release our desire to have our way and trust God.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Any time your focus on faith shifts to anxiety and fear—pull it back on what the Word of God says. Everything we think about is a choice. Will you choose to allow your mind to be rooted and grounded in fear—or faith? It’s up to you.
Declaration: Instead of trying to control the outcome of my circumstances—I will focus my attention on controlling my anxious thoughts. Putting my trust in God’s good plan for my life will give me new strength and improve my faith.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book at the end of 2012, by the grace of God.
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