We are living in a very unique time. We have to wear masks to enter into stores, certain supplies are always off the shelves, playgrounds are covered in material to prevent children from playing, and everyone has a fear of getting too close to others in the city. Fear might be the word to describe people’s actions these past few months. This is not the first time a pandemic or event has affected the world. War, deaths, financial hardships, and more arise frequently. Our response to these situations is often determined by our relationship to them. It is safe to say though that fear affects us all. It is a common emotion that (in some cases) can consume us. So how do we prevent fear being the focus of our lives? How do we instead lean in on the purest hope that a Christian has ever been given, the hope that is found in Christ alone?
According to the dictionary fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something or someone is dangerous. It is a feeling of anxiety concerning an event or outcome. Emotions are such a unique part of our lives because they affect how we speak, act, and live. Emotions are important. however, they are not what define us. If we rest in our emotions, we are finding our identity in a situation or event that made us feel that way. Why then, would we want to find our rest in what the dictionary describes as an unpleasant emotion?
Many might say “I can’t help it”, or, “it is hard not to be fearful or anxious during this time or situation.” I agree. We (in ourselves) cannot help but be weak and fall into doubt and worry, which is why we must look to Christ for our hope. We must depend on Him in the good days and the bad. I think we need to ask ourselves how do we keep our eyes on Christ and find our refuge in Him rather than seeking refuge elsewhere? I believe there are a few ways practically we can do so:
Preach the Gospel to Yourself
First, Preach the gospel to yourself every day. Friends, the gospel changes everything. It is not just for your unbelieving friends, but it is for you as well. As Christians, we are called to grow in the gospel. In order to be a mature student of something, we need practice, time, and dedication. We need the beautiful and comforting truth that Christ came and died for our sins. God imputed His Son’s righteousness to us, so now, by grace through faith, we are declared righteous in His sight.
We fail every day striving for perfection on our own. We needed a Savior and by grace through faith we are saved. The gospel should put our eyes, heart, and mind on Christ instantly and compel us to worship Him. Friends, when is the last time you reminded yourself of the gospel?
Meditate On and Memorize Scripture
Next, we must pray and memorize scripture. The Bible is very clear on the importance of prayer in a believer’s life and specifically speaks on what to do when we struggle with anxiety and fear. However, it’s not enough to simply memorize scripture, we must apply it.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). We are commanded not to be anxious about anything. “Anything”covers any topic we can think of. When we begin to feel anxious, the Scriptures are clear of what we should do. We must go to the Lord in prayer, let God know our requests and struggles, and give Him thanks. Pray for wisdom and guidance during tough times and let your requests be known to Him. Remind yourself of the blessings that the Lord has provided in your life, remind yourself that God is sovereign over all things, and remind yourself that in all times we give God praise.
“Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). This is a marvelous truth. God cares for you. He tells us to give him our anxieties and worries because he cares. He knows. We don’t have to carry the burden. We don’t need to add the unnecessary weight of controlling a situation or fearing an outcome on ourselves. Give it to God because He cares. Remember God is the creator of all things, He called us as His own, He sent His son to die for our sins to glorify Himself. He is a good God and He cares for you.
What does it look like to give our cares to God? Peter is being specific here in this passage. He’s saying you can lay your anxieties on Him. Think about what is causing you anxiety and worry. According to Peter, we can give those cares to God and trust that He cares about those things that are causing us to be anxious. We must believe that He is God, we must humble ourselves under Him and trust that no plans of His can be thwarted.
Job says, “I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).” When Peter says that God cares, he is saying that God will not allow things to pass without His loving influence. He is a good Father. We must trust that He has our best in mind. Casting our anxieties on Him means that we are trusting Him to use this for our good and for His glory.
Rest in Christ
Lastly, find your refuge in Christ. A refuge is shelter that protects us from danger. We should seek our protection and comfort in Him. The things of the world will fail us and people will fail us. If we seek refuge in something apart from Christ we will be sadly disappointed. The book of Psalms has such beautiful truths that can help remind us of our refuge in Christ. When looking at Psalm 61 we see David crying out to God during a time of uncertainty in His life. He was continually running away from enemies and being put in tough situations. Yet, his refuge was found in Christ. In the tough times, He was able to rejoice in the Lord and give Him thanks for the things he had.
I pray that like David, we will find our refuge in Christ that in good times and bad we will always look to the Lord and rejoice and be glad. “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalms 13:5-6)
Remember friends, emotions are common and natural reactions to events. However, they do not define us. We are not defined by feelings and emotions. As Christians, we are defined by who we are in Christ. We are defined by that alone. So, I encourage you to ask yourself today, “who am I in Christ” and “Am I glorifying Christ with my thoughts, words, and actions?”
Soli Deo Gloria,
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