photo and text by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It is a time of unusual tension in the air. Sometimes we are tempted to think we know how life will go. We never do. But often many of us in USA culture are blessed to live in the myth of stability. Now as news escalates our emotions with potentially scary “what-if’s” is a good time to reflect on the wisdom of God for us. (If He’s God and revealed in His Word, the Bible, then as GOD He is going to know better than we do! So we seek to see what He has to say about this.)
Over and over the Lord repeats that we are not to fear what we can see or imagine. We are not to worry or be anxious. Instead we are to trust Him.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. .. 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:25,27,33-34)
The idea is fairly simple. Its execution is often harder. In USA culture, the subconscious message seems to be that we are supposed to worry. In fact, it’s almost as if worry is proof that we love someone–like if we aren’t worry, then we must not love. Yet, yet yet…God says not to and on a very practical level: what productive good does worry accomplish? Does it change the circumstances of the one we are worried about? Does it help us live more in God’s peace and joy? (Does it help us better hear His voice so we can follow where He is leading???)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)
God’s way is different. (Thank goodness!—I mean: THANKS BE TO GOD!) He tells us that to “fear” Him is the beginning of wisdom. This means we are more concerned about God than any other power. Any. Because His power is greater–GREATEST–for He is Almighty and Eternal and above all.) It means we know ultimately He is in control and that anything else is less. So we look to Him…
But what to do with the worry which bubbles up unwanted, attacks and can cripple the mind? You can begin by taking your thoughts captive to Christ.
You have probably heard some of these Scripture verses:
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)
To combat worry, we need to be aware of the thoughts which dribble in and then run loose through our minds (thereby impacting the condition of our hearts–our spiritual center).
Stop. Consider. Before you let a thought take hold like a thorn which embeds itself and festers until it is ultimately removed, evaluate it. What is this thought and what is its source? Is it worry? Is the root fear of what you don’t know? Of what is negatively anticipated as a possibility (but is not yet fact)?
We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons with whcih we fight are not the weapons of the world, though this is where we live for now. We need to demolish every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We need to be ever vigilant that our battle is not (is never!) against other people but against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
Let us say it PLAINLY. There is a spiritual realm, which is supernatural in nature and existed before any of us did. It is out of this spiritual realm that the physical realm was created. There are powers that are greater than we are in this spiritual realm which are seeking to affect our lives at all times.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)
Read that again–but do not be afraid. There are powers (SUPER-natural–beyond what we know to be normal) which are operating around us at all times in this spiritual realm which exists concurrently with the physical realm to which we pay almost exclusive attention. And…as the angels said to the shepherds watching their flocks by night when they encountered these supernatural spirits: do not be afraid!
Just be aware. GOD is greater. JESUS already, already, already brought the victory, but do not be naive. Spinning thoughts are not from God. They are from the other side and meant to cripple you. So….take your thoughts captive to Christ. Evaluate every thought in light of who you know God to be.
What is the source of a given thought? Is it fear? It is guilt? Is it shame? Is it self-hatred? What is it? Now consider–that thought which popped into your mind and is affecting your mood. Is this how God speaks to us based on who He promises to be?
God’s thoughts would not beat you up from the inside out or send you spinning. Jesus is the one who speaks Father’s heart when into the storms He says, “Peace! Be still!”
There will be storms. But we can rest in God during them.
Take your thoughts captive. Don’t let them run around freely and indiscriminately where the wrong ones (those not from God) can do a sneak attack on your mind and take you down into a pit. Pause to evaluate which are from God and worth attending too and which need to be kicked out by reminding yourself who God is and what He promises.
Those who have known me awhile also know that I am a big proponent of each of us seeking to live a lifestyle of worshiping God. Since 2006, the Lord has called me to record and make available on albums over 150 original worship songs to help give words with which to re-orient your thoughts toward Him.
This is one of the secret strategies to taking your thoughts captive and living in a state of more of His peace (and joy!) throughout all of life’s circumstances. This is one of the ways you overcome worry so that you can be more in Him, receive His gifts and are more available for Him to use in His mission to touch the world. When you choose to worship Him–when you exert that energy to choose to trust Him and extol Him and force yourself to gaze at Him when the thoughts rise to push you down into the worry pit–then He comes with more of Himself and etches His truth on your heart so that you are strengthened for the moment and the next time you don’t plummet so far and so fast.
Worship is not a particular song–though worshiping Him musically is powerful. (He created music! He sings over us and in heaven the saints and angels sing to Him. So music is a “thing” with God–a good, great, wonderful “thing!) Worship is an attitude of heart which keeps reflecting on the Truth instead of what we fear.
Choose trust. It is an exercise like going to the gym. It has to be repeated. It is so worth it.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Hallelujh! Yay, God! Thanks be to You, Lord! You…set…us…free!
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Financial Counselor and Financial Coach (FFC) with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro please visit www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.com. Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org