In Pamplona, Spain, there is a festival called the Running of the Bulls. I didn't participate. I know that there's a lot of danger involved, machismo, and fear involved in the activity in which bulls are let loose to run down the streets while people are running with them. If you're running with the bulls, you can't be overwhelmed with fear, because fear will stop you in your tracks. And if that happens, you're in a world of hurt. You have to be vigilant as to what's around you (bulls, people) and also focus on where you're heading (down the street to the finish line).
To live without fear we must run the race of life with total confidence in ourselves and the power that we have within. If we can consistently orient ourselves, our direction life, to God and practice the presence of God in our lives, this will help us eliminate fear and live and life that is set before us.
To help us live without fear, we can look to spiritual truths, written thousands of years ago, by men and women who desired to share what they knew to be true and applicable to your present-day life.
In II Timothy 1:7, we read, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Back then, the church was teaching people to fear God. It's even written in the Bible. But after studying the original text a more accurate translation would be "respect". Not "fear."
Fear does not come from God. We don't fear the Spirit.
Now there are times in our lives where we can be challenged or tempted to fear. If we decide, for some odd reason, to run with the bulls in Spain, for example. To eliminate fear we shift our focus away from fear, pay attention to what's going on around us, and direct our thoughts and attention to the ultimate truth, God, Spirit, who has given us power, love, and a sound mind.
When you're living without fear and filled with the knowledge of God, you have:
We can live without fear because God gave us those things.
In Acts 1:8, it says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] is come upon you."
Ephesians 1:19 says, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."
The believer has potential power residing within her. God’s power is manifested in our lives when the Word is heard, believed, and acted upon. That's what is referred to as "believing action."
In Ephesians 3:20, there is a spiritual promise. And it's for you. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
We have the right and privilege to rely on God’s power each day. We put it into operation and God does the energizing. We can live without fear because God gave us love.
I John 4:18 says that there is no fear in love. Perfect love casteth out fear.
Love is the antidote for fear. God can be realized by studying. The knowledge of God’s Word gives us all things that pertain to life (II Peter 1:3). When we put our focus on living God’s love and keeping His commandments, we’ll find no room left for fear.
We can live without fear because God gave us a sound mind. A sound mind demonstrates good judgment and wisdom. It includes disciplined thinking. James Allen illustrates this in his work entitled As a Man Thinketh where it says, "A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth... Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts"
We eliminate fear when we direct and focus our thoughts on God. We keep heading in that direction. James Allen goes on to say, “By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.…”
II Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
We do not have to live with fear in our lives. We can observe what's going on around us and direct our attention to what provide us with power and love. We are sound in our minds because God has given us a spiritual power that works in us to manifest the spiritual fruits in our lives. We can live in love. We can live without fear. We can meditate upon these things which have been given to us. And let's live a life that's more than abundant.
More Spiritual Lessons for Men
God’s Word gives us clear standards by which we can measure our words (what we say), our deeds (what we do), and our attitudes (what we think). Two such standards are listed in Romans 14:19.
Romans 14:19 reads, Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
In the Amplified version, it reads: So then, let us pursue with enthusiasm the things which make for peace and the building up of one another (things which lead to spiritual growth).
Pursue Peace and Edification
In our relationships, we are to follow after or pursue (1) things which make for peace, and (2) things that edify others. Let’s consider how to apply these two standards so we can strengthen our relationships with others.
In Romans 14:19, “peace” denotes the absence of strife, or a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being. What a worthy state to pursue in our relationships—freedom from strife, trouble, and disturbances! If God tells us to pursue these things, then it must be available to do.
How can we pursue peace? At times, pursuing peace involves resolving conflicts. Unresolved conflicts can lead to bitterness, and bitterness is never constructive. It prevents people from having a close relationship with God and with their spiritual brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 12:14-15 says: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. What that means is... instead of holding on to past hurts, disagreements, or disappointments, we can decide to forgive. We can decide to demonstrate the love of God toward others with long-suffering and kindness. Our relationships greatly benefit when we make these choices according to God’s Word. And resolving conflicts helps us claim the peace of God in our lives. It helps us live free from the past and focus on the more abundant life God has called us to today.
We are also to follow after or pursue “things wherewith one may edify another.” To edify is to build up. The Greek word literally means “to build a house.” I was a home builder. There are standards and step-by-step procedures to follow when building a house. Building a house is a big project that is completed one purposeful step at a time. Likewise, building up our brothers and sisters in Christ can be undertaken with purpose—one positive word or action at a time.
Ephesians 4:15-16 reads, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
What that means is... God’s love is what truly builds. To build up one another, we speak the truth of His Word with love at the right place and at the right time. This can bring comfort and encouragement to others. It can encourage them to elevate their thinking to the Word and to take action on it.
God’s Word gives us clear standards by which we can measure our words, deeds, and attitudes. We looked at two great standards from Romans 14:19—pursuing peace and pursuing edification. These relationship-strengthening standards are also stated in Romans 12 and Romans 15.
In Romans 12:18, is reads: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. And in Romans 15:2: Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
When we follow after peace, we can enjoy freedom from strife, trouble, and disturbances in our relationships with one another. Resolving conflicts when they arise helps us do the Word in this category.
We also pursue edification. We can edify our spiritual brothers and sisters with our words and actions. The world may tear people down. But as believers, we are in the business of building up people by what we say and what we do. And we can choose to do this at any season of our lives and at any moment of the day.
Applying the standards of pursuing peace and pursuing to edify one another can help us strengthen our relationships. Let’s build these standards into the fabric of our lives and enjoy the more abundant life.
One of my goals as a father is to teach my family spiritual truths that they can investigate and apply to their lives for themselves. I have found a way to live a life that is filled with love, power, and abundance. I'd like to share that with you.
My family lives next to a mountain in Boulder, Colorado. Just about every summer weekend, we enjoy hiking up to the top of that mountain. When we begin the hike at the mountain base and look up, the destination sometimes seems so far-off and unreachable. But there is a way, a route to take where the destination can be reached.
Spiritually speaking, my family's destination is God and a life of love, power, and abundance. We want to have Spirit in our lives, in our hearts, in our minds. I know that I can be a better man and father than I am today when I'm closer to fully, experientially knowing God's power, abundance, and love in my life. That's the destination: God, love, power, and abundance.
In relation to love, life without love is not life at all. Life is all about love, and unconditional love is the greatest love of all. That's what I want in my life.
In relation to power, I believe that we can manifest into our lives anything we'd like. We can bring forth into reality that which we think about and act upon. Power is the ability to make things come into reality. I want to experience that power.
In relation to abundance, I want my family and friends to have abundance in their lives. Genesis tells us stories of God providing abundance to enjoy. Today, we can live abundantly -- physically (health, home, work, money), mentally (prayer, meditation, consideration, focus, mindfulness), and spiritually (by manifesting spiritual abilities that we have been given).
To teach my family how to live a life of love, power, and abundance, there must be a way. What is the way? What's the path we can take, the route, the walk, to reach a life, filled with Spirit, love, power, and abundance?
A couple thousand years ago, a man provided us with a great example of how to live such a life. The stories about him are available in the bible, and they tell us of a man who experientially knew God's power, love, and abundance. And he shared that knowledge with others. In John 14:6, he, Jesus, said that he was the only way, the real truth and the real life. And that no one could come to God but through him. Seems a bit boastful. Yes? But it's quite interesting to me how this man was so bold and fearless. He had no fear in breaking the rules, abruptly changing the ways in which people at that time thought, lived, and worshipped. He was brazen in the way he denounced religious leaders and discarded their dogma. He made believing in God as simple and clear changing one's mind.
Without Religious Dogma
Jesus Christ changed everything -- spiritually. He showed how everyone can have direct access to God, Spirit, without the unnecessary burden of man-made religious dogma (religion just ruins everything). He showed how to do it. He was the example. The way. The way to a life of experientially knowing love, power, and abundance.
To Be One
God is the author of life. God is our destination. We want to walk with God in our lives. But let's be clear, God is not a man or a woman. God is not an old man with a long gray beard, floating in the clouds, waving his finger, doing good and bad things to people. That's delusional. God is light, love, power, abundance, and everywhere present. And when I walk with spirit in my life (in my heart, in my mind), I walk with God. It's as if God and I are one. In John 10:30, Jesus said that he and his father, God, were one. They were in alignment and harmony with one another. They were of one purpose.
If you've ever played sports, you've probably felt those moments in your performance when everything seemed to "click" or just go well. You moved and performed better than you ever had before. You were "in the zone." Enlightened folk around us seem to live their lives in that zone, where they are apparently in this beautiful alignment and harmony with everything and everyone around them. That's what Jesus was saying in reference to being one with God. It's as if by walking with Spirit in your life, you can experience everyone and everything around you, and you're peaceful and not wanting anything.
Standard of Truth
I do better at walking with Spirit in my life when I can refer to a standard. A standard is that which I can refer to and see how I'm doing. When I was younger, I was a home builder. I built homes for lots people. I was very knowledgeable and capable of everything related to building a home -- from felling trees and digging the foundation with a backhoe to fastening roofing shingles and installing the bathroom fixtures. To build a house for someone, you have to build it to a standard, something that you can refer to in order to see how a really good, safe, well-constructed house should be built. And as a home builder, that was my goal (my destination) - a good, strong, safe house. And I was successful in my home-building profession, because I had a standard.
For many of us, there are no standards by which we can live a life that is powerful, filled with love, prosperous, no fear, and abundant in all things. There are many standards in the world from which we can choose. There are hundreds of religions and gods. There are many religious and spiritual leaders to listen to and follow. There are many good books. The great writings of all time have many great truths in them, and they offer various standards to live by. But what is a good standard by which I and my family can live a life that is powerful, filled with love and abundance? We each have to decide what is our standard of truth.
John 17:17 says that God's word is the truth. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, it says that I'm continually thankful to God for this, that when I received the word of God, I welcomed it not as the word of mere men, but as it truly is, the word of Spirit, which is effectually at work in me as I believe and exercising its inherent, supernatural power.
Here's an example of how the Word of God brings peace in my life. In Philippians 4:9, is says that the things which I have learned, received, and heard, seen in other believers, I should do. I should go and practice these things in my daily life, and God, who is the source of peace and well-being, will be with me.
As a man, husband, and father, I'm not just interested in learning the truth of things, but I'm also concerned with the practical application of those truths. A mature man is not one who just thinks and concentrates, but one who also acts. Real men learn what how to do what's right, then we practice it until we can do it correctly and successfully.
We can learn a bit from Deuteronomy 30:14-16, 19-20: 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
So, there we see that the word can be in my heart, mind, and mouth. But I must do it. Act. And to be blessed, I am taught to "love" God, "walk" in his ways, and "keep" his commandments. Then, I'll see blessings in my life.
Consider the Way
In Psalm 119:59, it says to consider our ways. In verse 59, "I considered my ways, and I turned my feet to follow and obey God's testimonies."
Why should I consider my ways? Why should I be mindful of what I'm thinking and doing? Because, ultimately, I want to be free.
In John 8:31-32, it says that Jesus said to the Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
That's the destination. That's what love teaching my family -- spiritual truths that they can investigate and apply to their lives. I have found a way to live a life, free from fear and pain, a life that is filled with love, power, and abundance. And the standard is applicable and filled with truth. And that way is available. And that's what I wanted to share with you.
What did I do for Valentine's day? You're talking to a King here. Take notes.