Understanding Anxiety : Fear God, Not Man

img_5773-1
My brothers and sisters,

Fear is also one of those things that if left unchecked, will cause one to lead a life of mediocrity.  Fear can be beaten if we know how. These are some of the notes I’ve taken from reading a book listed below, and I encourage all to read it for themselves.

ANXIETY: POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

There are two types of anxiety; positive and negative. A positive anxiety pushes one to be responsible (eg. repaying a mortgage on time) and a negative one leads to unnecessary worry, which leads to psychological stress. It is also said that the common mental health disorder is anxiety. However, scripture makes it clear that we are not to be anxious.

THE TWO ELEMENTS OF FEAR

The source of fear (the fear object) will have two elements; presence and power. Both will need to be present in order to give strength to the fear, invoking a negative reaction. Over time, if the fear object is reinforced over time, this can lead one down to overthinking, faulty thinking, predictive thinking, day-dreaming resulting into a self-limiting, self-defeating lifestyle driven by fear or worse, cause one to withdraw into the realm of fantasy. What affects the mind, will ultimately affect the body.

THE SNAKE ANALOGY

If you were in your bedroom and were told that the most poisonous snake in the world was in the same room as you. One would understandably feel fearful. Both fear elements of presence (in the same room) and power (most poisonous) are present.

Let’s suggest that the same poisonous snake is not in your bedroom, but was locked in a cage in Australia. Though snake is still potent, its presence is far removed. There is no impending danger in proximity, and one can sigh in relief.

Imagine the same scenario but the snake is not poisonous. If you are afraid of snakes, one would still feel in danger. If not, then the snake can be quickly disposed of. Though its presence is noted, the snake is without power. The position would be the same if you discovered that the snake was actually dead.

To beat fear, either the power and/or the presence must be identified and removed or put in the correct context.

SCARED OF SATAN?

It is important to understand that as we are on this earth, so is Satan.

The bad news is until he is thrown in the lake of fire set aside for him and his angels (see Matt 25:41)  he will use his worldly powers to distract Christians into his submission.

The good news is that he has already been defeated and it is only a matter of time until this is done. For us, we need to know this truth in order to walk victoriously in our lives.

So, should Christians fear Satan? Of course not! Going back to the components of fear, yes, he is present, but he is not powerful. This is why he schemes, through the lens of the world, to get others to believe that he is powerful. Satan is not powerful and he never will be, unless you’re not alert to resist him.*

James 4:7 (ESV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

*For an in-depth Bible study on this topic, please find the following links below:

You vs The World – Part 1
You vs The World – Part 2

THE FEAR OF MAN VS THE FEAR OF GOD

 Should we fear man? Scripture reveals that the fear of man is a snare/trap (Proverbs 29: 25) and if we lived to please man, we would not be deemed servants of God (Galatians 1: 10). This begs the question why we should fear God and what does it look like to fear Him?  Simply put it means a reverent fear, similar to a fear when a child finds out his parents are nowhere to be found. Another aspect is fear in the sense of being scared of the being in question in a healthy way, a call to be responsible.

It can be understood why a fear of man exists; they could harm you physically (presence) or, emotionally, psychology thought an attack on reputation, sharing intimate information, or even blackmail (power). All these horrible experiences can be caused by man.

But what about God? Why should we fear Him compared to Man?

Matthew 10: 28 (ESV) (Emphasis added) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Man has the ability to destroy the body, but God, who is Omnipotent and Omnipresent (ALL powerful, and ALL present) can destroy the body and the soul.
Know that your soul has eternal value, and mustn’t be lost or given away cheaply. The world didn’t give you our happiness, and it has no right to take it away.

For those who are not Christians, this may seem a bit harsh and cutthroat, but allow me to share the good news; salvation is available to all those who believe in Jesus Christ! Click here to find out how! The Gospel: An Illustration

 HOW TO BEAT FEAR

Here are some helpful tips to help beat fear. I’ve broken it down into two categories; for we cannot ignore sin, and the harmful effects it can have in the future. Unfortunately, there are some consequences we are going to have to live with due to disobedience to God’s word. Nevertheless, God is a forgiving God and will provide grace to empower you to move forward towards freedom, which is found at the end of a disciplined life.

For an in-depth Bible study on this topic relating to the Holy Spirit, please find the link below:
Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

You cannot change your past, but God can allow you to become free from it –  Dr Neil T. Anderson.

Irrational fears:
Identify both fear elements;
Put them before God in prayer and meditate on scriptures, e.g.  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV);
Ask yourself factual questions surrounding both elements and remove one, or both elements;
Reinforce your mind with the truth as revealed in scripture;
Live in freedom and walk in victory.

Legitimate fears:
Identify both fear elements;
Put them before God in prayer;
Ask yourself factual questions;
Seek God’s for forgiveness;
Accept his forgiveness and Repent; Take responsibility for your action and mitigate by seeking help, guidance, accountability and work to on challenge until it is solved;
Produce fruit by keeping with repentance;
Reinforce your identity with the truth as revealed in scripture;
Live in freedom and walk in victory.

Book Recommendation

I recommend this book entitled Freedom From Fear: Overcoming Worry and Anxiety by Dr Neil T. Anderson and Rich Miller. I was quite sceptical at first, (total freedom from fear? Really?) but I was blown away at the wisdom shared. It is definitely worth the investment and would go on my personal list as a must read.

Thank you for reading and may God bless you on your journey of spiritual growth.

Tunde T. Amao

Advertisements

Reading The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

Road-less-travelled

Greetings, my friends.

I’d just like to take this moment to thank all my readers for taking the time to read and follow up on this blog and I also will like to extend a warm, special welcome to any new readers! Thank you for joining us!

This book I want to talk about is an amazing read. I recommend to anyone I come across. In fact, it is a book of which I hold a very strong opinion that every person must read.

Entitled The Road Less Travelled, Dr M. Scott Peck had made a remarkable job using questioning, his experience as a Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and in his Christian walk to produce this guide that if followed, will help you build a happier, fulfilled life, as a person, parent, partner and spouse respectively.

This is an exciting read and without revealing too much, the book explores the following themes:

1. Discipline

2. Love

3. Growth and Religion

4. Grace

Dr Peck also speaks about the importances of mental health. This may be a difficult topic for some and a topic that many would not want to talk about, but as human beings, we owe it to ourselves, our families and friends to ensure that we are totally healthy; physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

When we are ill, we either take medicine or visit the doctors. When it is an emergency, we go to the hospital. When we are stressed or emotionally weary, we speak to our good friends and they give us a shoulder to cry on. The same when we are low in faith; we consult God through Jesus Christ for encouragement. On the point of mental health, how do we know whether we need help when we haven’t gone to check ourselves?

We need to be healthy in order to function. M. Scott Peck has used helpful case studies of patience he has seen and treated to highlight very important aspects of the human mind and emotions that we all should be aware of. He has also given us, what I call, a privileged look into his own mindset and thinking pattern through anecdotes about the existence of God and protection of His grace.

I have learnt so much from this book and have already started using the principles in my own life as well as taking the steps to be more aware of myself. I say this because, in order to truly improve ourselves and the way our life is set up, we need to be aware of the person we are and the place we are at right now.

For those who are looking for a healthy guide on discipline and how to love effectively and in the right way, then this is a book for you. Also, this is a special request to those who are parents, parents to be and those wishing to establish a family in the future: if you want to ensure the positive mental well-being of your children, establish a loving environment and to help your child grow up to be fulfilled, then you must read The Road Less Travelled. It will help your children and it will help you in turn.

Are there any books you would like to share that has helped you develop as a person? Please share it in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading friend, and all the best on your journey of self-discovery! God bless!

Tunde T. Amao

Bible Study – Practical Tips

 

IMG_5641[1]

Greetings, my friend.

As you may have read from our first post, we will now focus on practical tips for effective Bible study.

1. Having little to no knowledge is fine.

Don’t feel bad because you don’t know much about what the Bible holds. That’s why you want to find out! All you need is to have time set aside and a willingness to learn. The more you familiarise with reading and studying the Bible, the easier it becomes.

2. Have (access to) TWO (or more) Bibles.

Now, now, don’t panic. There is a good reason for this.

Although there are many different translations of the Bible, there are various “types” of Bibles. (Not to say that one is better than the other, as the Word of God will always be the Word of God.)

a. The Word for Word: Simply put, it is the literal translation from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles (Also called the Interlinear Bible). As the name suggests, it captures the message from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles and puts it in English; word for word.

Examples: Interlinear, King James Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version.

b. Thought for Thought: These “types” of Bibles capture the thoughts and meanings behind the words used. Though some words have been changed extensive biblical research has made sure that the Spirit behind the words is still conveyed.

Examples: New Living Translation, New International Version, New Century Version, New American Bible.

Having two (or more) Bibles to study from is excellent as you tend to understand what you’re reading better. Having a Word for Word and a Thought for Thought can give you a good overall picture and a better context of what you are studying. As you saw from the first post, I personally use the New King James Version and the New International Version when studying.

Remember, before you do your research on which translation of the Bible you want to own and study from, don’t forget to read it before purchasing. It won’t be helpful if you pick up a translation and you can’t get much from it.

NB: Feeling excited? You can even go and look for a Bible concordance and study the Hebrew/Greek words themselves to get an even deeper understanding of the meaning of the word and the context it is used in. I recommend the “Blue Letter Bible” apps which you can download on your iPad, iPhone and Android devices for free.

3. Have an action plan

Remember you’re reading to learn, understand and apply the Word of God in your lives. So you need to develop your own reading plan or strategy that works well for you. If your bible has small sections where topics are often discussed, then that will be the best way to start. If not, then you can use the internet to search a point and find out Bible says about it. I recommend openbible.info/topics/ a quick reference point to find passages in the bible about your chosen topic quickly.

NB: It doesn’t have to be topics. You can decide to read whole books! For those who want to understand Christianity in a nutshell, the best starting point is the Book of Romans.

Want to learn more about Jesus? Start from the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Seeking the wisdom of God to apply to your life? Then the Book of Proverbs is the way to go!

4. Ask for guidance and direction from God.

This is the most important point. Remember, we are not reading or studying for the sake of it. We’re seeking God’s face and asking for His input in our lives. We won’t be able to do this if we don’t know His word is in the situations we or others find ourselves in.

God has created every individual for a purpose. We need to ask Him to reveal to us what He has planned for us, and in one mind with Him so we can achieve what He wants us to achieve.

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. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

We need to humble our spirit and enter the Lord’s presence before reading His Word. Ask for wisdom and ask Him to direct you to what you need to know right now and to put it into practice. When preparing to read and study the Bible, have an expectant spirit, be sure to know that you will receive something from God Himself, that will benefit you and will give you peace of mind and life in the spirit. You may not understand it right now, but when the appointed time comes, you’ll definitely know and appreciate that God has your back always!

This post is not meant to portray as the most full-proof method of studying the Bible. Everyone has different strategies and different methods of Bible study. The intention is to give practical points on a method of study for beginners and to help stimulate your minds whilst creating or developing your own study pattern.

What methods do you use when studying the Bible? Please share your method in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading and may the Lord continue to bless you as you begin to dive deep into His Word.

Tunde T. Amao