I shouldn’t look at email and social media first thing in the morning. I know this. I’ve even made a confession to that effect in an earlier post. But I still do it sometimes. Actually, I still do it a lot.
Like a couple of weeks ago. In less than 10 minutes, I had a disturbing briefing of conspiracy-theory politics, tainted food warnings, heresy allegations, and gloomy presidential election forecasts.
One email even promised “This will alarm you!”—and sure enough, it did! My thoughts, my emotions, even my body felt agitated.
I left my computer, got my coffee, and went to spent time with God. As I poured out my fears and anxieties—and embarrassment for letting these things trouble me like they did—He gently reminded me that He is still on the throne. He is still working all things, including those I’d been assaulted with that morning, together for His good purposes.
How panic-ridden our culture is—even (especially?) our Christian culture! How myriad are the ways the enemy tries to paralyze us with fear. Even Christian media too often succumbs to rumor-spreading, sensationalism, and fear mongering.
But fear does not strengthen my faith—it kills it. It makes me feel weak, powerless, even hopeless at times. The solution can’t be denial, though. So I asked the Lord to give me a strategy to combat the enemy’s attempts to undo me with fear.
A few days later, I did some personal Bible study. As I meandered through Old and New Testaments according to the map my online Bible tools provided, I was surprised by all the “do not” commands I found.
Do not …
- fear the people of the land (Numbers 14:9).
- fear or panic, or dread your enemies (Deuteronomy 20:3).
- be discouraged (Joshua 1:9 etc.).
- fear or dread the conspiracies everyone else is talking about (Isaiah 8:12).
- be dismayed (Isaiah 41:10, etc.).
- fear the reproach of mere mortals (Isaiah 51:7).
- fear disgrace (Isaiah 54:4).
- fear a wicked king (Jeremiah 42:11).
- be afraid when rumors are heard in the land (Jeremiah 51:46).
- be afraid of rebellious, obstinate, or stubborn people, or their words (Ezekiel 2:3-6).
- lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16, etc.).
- fear unjust threats (1 Peter 3:14).
And why not? Because of who God is and what He does. Just look at a tiny sampling if it!
- He strengthens those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).
- He makes us bold and stouthearted (Psalm 138:3, NIV 1984 edition).
- He is our strength, song, and salvation (Isaiah 12:2).
- He strengthens and helps us (Isaiah 41:10).
- He goes before, with, and after us (Isaiah 52:12).
- He renews us day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
- He gives us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Just reading God’s reassuring words encouraged me. But I knew that I would need that encouragement on a regular basis. So I wrote down some of the “do not” reminders on a note card. And then underneath them, I wrote God’s promises. This card sits on my desk, by my laptop where I get most of my news.
I can’t stick my head in the sand and not pay attention to what is happening around me. But I can defend myself from alarm, panic, discouragement and dismay. And what can do that better than the never-changing Word of God?