The secret of living an abundant life is to have no fear. In life, we can learn to control one thing, particularly when everything else is out of our control. And that one thing is our own mind. Because we can control our thoughts and our actions, fear, therefore, must arise from our minds. Fear does not actually exist, unless you think it does. It’s imaginary.
I can take a moment and imagine a lion outside my window. The fear of the lion might overwhelm me. Fear might make me stop in my tracks. In contrast, the absence of fear at that moment of seeing a roaring lion would allow me to think clearly, and, most importantly, act accordingly. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read about being mindful.
2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to not be afraid. God tells us to have no fear. To dispel imaginations and take hold of your thoughts.
Fear is a Snare
Proverbs 3:25-26 says to not be afraid of sudden fear when it comes to you. But to stand firm. And your believing will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
God’s Word gives us examples of those who stood bravely when faced with sudden fear, and they were not trapped because they renewed their minds, and trusted in God, and experienced the unconditional, everywhere-present, powerful love of God.
Throughout God’s Word we read of God’s people being faced with “sudden fear” and emerging victorious because of their love for God. There is no fear in love. When we’re surrounded in unconditional love, we have no reason to doubt, worry, or fear. And “whoso putteth his trust in God shall be safe.”
Let’s learn about a few examples of believers who loved God and put their trust in God when faced with fear:
The young man David had great love for God and was not afraid of the giant Goliath. In I Samuel 17, we're told the story of Israel’s mighty army that was at war with the Philistines. And the entire army was being intimidated by one of their soldiers named Goliath. This giant taunted Israel’s army every morning and every evening for forty days. No Israelite soldier would accept Goliath’s challenge to fight him because they were all afraid (I Samuel 17:24).
Jesse, a father of eight sons, directed his youngest son, David, to go to the Israelite’s camp to bring food for his three brothers who were soldiers. While there, David heard Goliath harassing the army. So this young boy, David, asked the soldiers, who were all fearful, a couple questions (1 Samuel 17:26). He wanted to know why they were afraid of Goliath even though God was with them.
Because of his great love for the living God, David himself bravely faced Goliath without fear and killed Goliath. When the Philistine army saw their champion was dead, they fled. Israel was victorious, because of David’s love for God and his brothers. There is no fear in love.
Jesus and His Friends
One day, the followers of Jesus were sitting around, and they were very hungry. And Jesus fed everyone with five loaves and two fish. Then, Jesus said to his friends to go across the lake in boat and rest. Jesus went up the mountain to rest for a bit. A windy storm comes. His friends need help, because the waves are crashing their boat (Mark 6:49-51). They see Jesus walking on the water to them, and Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.” The waters calmed down and they were safe. They were exhausted and relieved. Jesus provided his friends unconditional love. His friends were told to not be afraid. At that moment, Jesus was like the manifestation of peace and calm in the middle of a fearful storm. But love casts out fear. There’s no fear in love. There’s no need to fear when you’re surrounded by unconditional love.
The Root of All Fear
Scripture says that whoever listens to and learns from wisdom will live securely and in confident trust. And she will be at ease, without fear or dread of evil.
There is no fear in love.
Perfect love (unconditional love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation) drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is simply not yet mature enough to fully understand the love of God in the renewed mind.
The root of all fear is the absence of love.
Renewing Our Mind
How do we cast out fear from our minds? By renewing it. We renew it by filling it up with love. Because God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). From Romans 12:2, we learn that we can renew your minds.
As we mature spiritually:
In Matthew 28:1-10, there is a story of a great woman named Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene witnessed Jesus’s crucifixion, and she was the first person to testify to the resurrection of Jesus, and she was the first person to meet and talk with Jesus after he rose. In this story, the angel tells Mary to not be afraid of this miracle that she has just witnessed. And Jesus also tells Mary to not be afraid. Mary Magdalene was with Jesus from the beginning; she was healed by Jesus; she followed Jesus; she cared for, listened to, and attended Jesus. She love him; and he love her back. And because of that love, there was no need, no place, no reason for fear to exist.
Can You Imagine Living Without Fear?
Can you imagine what you could do, if you had no fear in doing it?
How can we do that? How can we get to that point where we have no fear? The key to having no fear in life rests upon understanding the presence of God.
Scripture says that God is Spirit (John 4:24), God is love (1 John 4:16), and God is everywhere present. God (love) is wherever you go.
In Acts 9, there's a story of Paul (Saul). He was hunting down and persecuting Jesus’s followers. One day, while walking on a road to Damascus, in search of some disciples, he was struck and surrounded by a light from heaven (Acts 9:4-6). At that moment, Paul was really afraid. Fearful. He was trembling. But he recognized that something amazing was happening, and he immediately renewed his mind, and asked what was it he could do. He changed his mind, and acted accordingly.
Later in his life, Paul, would reveal the greatest truth anyone could ever know. Paul revealed the great mystery, which is that the powerful, unconditional love of God is everywhere present available to everyone at anytime.
Since there is no fear in love, and God is love, then there cannot be any fear in God. Like the examples we just read about, when we bring our minds to God’s Word and keep love as our prime motivating factor, we can trust in God and live a more than abundant life.
You may be interested in reading Eliminating Fear--Thought By Thought and Mindfulness Enables Men to Be Powerful.
Have you ever been fearful? One night, my daughter and I were talking about being afraid of things, including walking outside at night. It was 9 o’clock at night. It was very dark outside. And we wondered what was out in the front yard. And we dared each other to walk outside all the way down the front path to the driveway in complete darkness. Scary! We realized that there was actually nothing to be afraid of, and that fear simply existed in our minds. It didn’t really exist, unless we thought it did.
Let’s learn about fear and eliminating it by controlling our thoughts. Check out 2 Corinthians 10:5, where there are clear directions for our thoughts.
II Corinthians 10:5: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Well, what does that verse mean? “Casting down imaginations” means that we are to cast down, or demolish, imaginary thoughts or imaginations. Imaginations are things that actually do not exist. Right? Just like the scary things lurking in the dark that my daughter and I were imagining. We are to eliminate those thoughts, particularly when they are “against the knowledge of God” or contrary to God’s Word. We should not allow our thoughts to become subordinate to imaginary things, like fear. We are to "bring into captivity every thought." We are to hold and protect our thoughts. Control them. Get control of your thoughts! Hold them captive. And we can do this one thought at a time. If a thought does not agree with God’s Word, then we change that thought. And if our thoughts are fearful, those thoughts do not agree with the Word.
II Timothy 1:7 says that God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Changing the TV Channel
Changing our thinking can be as simple as changing the channel on our TV. We’ve all sat down to watch a TV show or movie only to find the content is not to our liking. Do we suffer through it? Of course not! We click and change the channel.
When it comes to our thoughts, might we be able to change the channel just as easily? Yes. We can decide to change our mind whenever we find ourselves thinking in a way that makes us fearful. And to what channel do we turn our thoughts? Do we change it to the “empty” channel, where there’s nothing on but static and emptiness? No. I prefer not to. Instead, we can change it to the channel where positive, practical truths are being broadcast. With the spiritual truth in our hearts, we can eliminate fear by “bringing into captivity every thought” and lining them up with the truths contained within God’s Word.
Here are two tips to help us with this process of changing our minds and lining them up with spiritual truths:
The Buddha said that the mind is everything, and what we think, we become. That's accurate. If we think about fear, we become fearful. In order for us to change our thinking from fearful thoughts to the powerful, sound truths of God’s Word, we need to first get those truths into our minds and hearts.
Truth does not come to me by osmosis. I require reading, studying, meditating, and the practical application of truths in my life for me to fully understand it. The more we read, study, and believe in our hearts, the easier it will be for us to change the channel, dispel imaginations, and eliminate fearful thoughts that are gripping us. The Scriptures teach us of God’s power and protection and love, and by building these truths in our hearts, we can build our believing and trust in God. By reading and studying God’s Word, we can flood our minds with the positive truths and wash away doubt and fear.
The Word says to meditate. The word "meditate" is used a lot throughout the Scriptures.
According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, "meditate" means to rehearse and go over a matter in one's mind. New Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies says that "meditate" means to talk with oneself. Biblically to meditate means to focus and rehearse one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. For buddhists, this may be similar to having a mantra.
An Example of the Practical Application of Meditation
For me, meditation involves the practice of applying a spiritual truth to any situation in which I have a need. So, for example, when I was informed in 2014 by two doctors that I would never run again, I was practiced enough to be aware of my thoughts in the situation and to apply certain truths to fulfill an emotional, physical, and psychological need. At that moment, I needed to be assured that the counsel of others may not be accurate, to trust and lean on something that was accurate, and to believe that I was more than fully capable of walking, running, and enjoying a lifestyle that I intended to have.
In that moment:
I meditated, or applied biblical truths, and replaced doubt, worry and fear with power, love, and a sound mind. At that moment, I smiled back at my doctors and gave a chuckle. And asked if they'd like to reconsider their diagnosis and recommendations, before I get up and leave. Presently, I regularly run a 5K with 9-minute/mile averages (torn ACL, torn MCL, 46 years old, 235 lbs).
As we rehearse in our minds (meditation) the spiritual truths that are available to us, we can put an end to suffering and live a life that is abundantly filled with joy, peace, and love. This is part of keeping our hearts with all diligence as Proverb says.
Proverbs 4:20-23 says, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Sometimes the bible will try to get your attention, so in Proverbs we see a father speaking with his son and saying, "Hey! Son, listen to me." Keep my words close to you, close to your heart. For spiritual truths are life (powerful, more than abundant life) to anyone who finds the truth. And words are also heath (or destruction). Keep your heart (and mind) with all diligence (it takes work and effort). Why? Because out of your heart and mind will come all of the issues of life that you'll ever deal with. It all comes from the mind and heart. That's where life is; that's where the battlefield exists. That's what this one Proverbs verse says. Might we all be better off by rehearsing this (meditating upon this) and recalling it into our minds at the right moment, when needed? I think so.
Alignment and Harmony
With God’s Word in our hearts, we can more readily recognize if a thought doesn’t line up with what God says, and then change it. It’s like inspecting a house and finding a trip hazard.
I teach home inspectors how to do their job. I teach from a standard, a building standard. And I encourage my students to read and study those standards. Why? Because when they walk through a home that they are inspecting, and something is not right, they’ll be able to recognize it--like a trip hazard at the steps, for example. After reading and studying a standard, they should be fully-equipped to recognize something within the house that’s not in alignment and harmony with the rest of the structure. They'll be able to identify that defect that might do someone harm, and get it fixed. It’s the same with our thoughts being lined up with the spiritual truths provided to us.
When you have a standard to which you may refer, you can easily recognize issues in your life that are out of alignment and harmony.
Fix the Trip Hazard, Change the Channel
There is no reason to be held captive by negative thinking. We can lead each thought captive, stopping the thoughts from doing any more harm. We can stop the action of any fearful thought as soon as we notice it. We can fix the trip hazard. We can “change the channel.” We just need to pay attention to what channel we are watching.
We can change. We can change our minds. We can become transformed by the renewing of our minds, and not be conformed to the world. When we think about what we are thinking about, we can do this. I know we can, because God says we can in Romans.
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
How do we renew our mind? A simple definition of renewing the mind is to hold the Word in mind and act accordingly.
An effective way to eliminate a fearful, negative thought is to replace it with three positive truths from God’s Word—thoughts of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). For example, here are a few positive truths to meditate over: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/bible-quotes/.
The Word of God gives us the ability to bring every thought captive. Just as we change the TV channel if we don’t like what’s on, we can change any fearful thoughts, which are contrary to God’s Word. As we read and study the Word, we become better at renewing our minds and getting back in alignment and harmony with the truth. We can eliminate fear, thought by thought, with the quick and powerful Word of God in our mind and hearts. May God bless you.
You may be interested in reading How to Renew the Mind.
I’m guessing you might agree that worrying about the future is not a pleasant way to spend our time. So, the question I have is: when anxious thoughts arise, how can we stop them? One wonderful principle we can operate is to live one day at a time.
What Me Worry?
Realistically, we do need to think about our future. We need to make plans. That’s for certain. We have calendars filled with important dates and events. We have things to do to enjoy life. For example, I have some volunteering scheduled at my daughter’s school for the upcoming weekend. I have to plan that into my future. But am I worried or anxious about my future plans? No. Do I continually fret over the details of my life’s schedule? No.
Why not? Why am I not worrying about the future? I’d like to share with you what I do, so that you can investigate for yourself if what I do can work for you.
I Do Two Things
I do two productive things to make things happen: (i) I pray and (ii) I make positive plans.
Here’s an example. I have a goal that in 6 months, I’ll have much less fat stuck on my stomach, and I’ll be able to fit into a pair of jeans with a 32-inch waist (currently I’m a 34W, and it used to be 38W).
Am I worrying about this goal? No. Why? I’ve (i) prayed about it (or, said in another way, I focused my thoughts with specific details and assured confidence in success), and (ii) I have made positive plans (in which I realize where I am, and list the future steps to reach my identified future goal).
Planning is Time Travel
I think of planning as a bit like time travel. We travel into the future by planning, because planning is like bringing the future into the present so that we can do something about it today. I recommend reading that again.
Once we pray and plan, we can stop our anxious thoughts about the future by putting the majority of our energy and actions into living one day at a time.
Jesus Lived from Day to Day
Jesus lived and taught his friends to live one day at a time. We read in Matthew 6:25, 28, 31, 34:
The words “take…thought” are translated from a Greek word meaning “be anxious about” or, as we might say, “worry.” Jesus told them not to worry about what they were going to eat, to drink, to wear—not to worry about “the morrow,” the future. He assured them that “sufficient [enough] unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Thayer’s lexicon helps clarify the King James Version of verse 34 as “Let the present day’s trouble suffice for a man, and let him not rashly increase it by anticipating the cares of days to come.” There’s enough to take care of in every twenty-four-hour period. If we try to anticipate the worries of the future, we may actually increase the challenges we’ll need to deal with. We can put our focus into living in the day, right now, the day at hand, the present moment and one day at a time.
E. W. Bullinger translates Matthew 6:34 as follows: “Have, then, no anxiety for any future day….” That includes tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that. Every care or concern we may have about the future can be handled one day at a time. To live one day at a time, you have to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Enjoy what’s going on right now. You’re not your best if anxieties about the future dominate our thinking.
The Benefits of Worrying
Can you remember the last time you really, practically benefited from worrying a lot? Explain the details of when worrying about something actually helped the situation you were in. See what I mean?
Focus on the Present Moment
So how can we focus our energy into experiencing, living, and enjoying the present moment - the day at hand? I suggest we should daily “perform our vows.”
So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
A vow is a solemn promise you make committing yourself to an act, service, or condition.
This is one of the best things about believing in God: we can perform (or do) what we’ve committed ourselves to do, and do it one day at a time.
What have we committed to do?
Our commitments may include: our marriages, our children, our parent, our jobs, our school, our fellowships, our volunteer work, taking care of the things we own, taking care of our health (ahem), etc. We’re committed to doing certain things. We do our commitments and responsibilities daily.
For example, we love our lover daily. Love ‘em up. Right. And when each day is over, we thank God for our commitments and go to sleep. Staying committed to the things we have at hand, and doing them well, can help us stop worrying “the morrow.”
Doing God’s Word. What’s That Mean?
Spending time in every twenty-four-hour period, each day, with our thoughts focused on doing God’s Word can also help us live day-by-day, and not worry about the future. What does that mean – “doing God’s Word”? Here are a few ideas:
And while we are focusing our energy and actions into living every day with the Spirit, we are daily loaded up with blessings.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Because we pray and plan, we can stop anxious thoughts about the future by living our lives to the fullest one day at a time.
You may be interested in reading Squeeze Your Woman Today.
How are you doing? Many of us are not happy or not as happy as we'd like to be.
To enjoy my life, to positively transform the ways in which I see my life and the world in which I live, I intentionally engage my thoughts. How I'm doing starts with my mind. Now, this seems fairly straightforward and self-evident. And yet many of us are not happy or not as happy as we'd like to be. Many people suffer from daily problems and feel more confused than happy about life.
Shaped by Your Mind
Every experience you have is shaped by your mind. When certain parts of our lives could need a little help or boost--when our job is not fulfilling, when there's not enough money in the checking account, when our lover seems distant--our minds are what is actually shaping, determining, defining those experiences. Everything you do, everything you experience, everything you feel--all of life is because that's how you deliberately think it is.
A Common Question
After our family fellowship, I took my family to one of my favorite restaurants in town to enjoy some lunch. After being seated at our table, our server asked me how I was doing. It was a common question that she has likely asked a thousand people.
At that moment I was reminded that my answer to her would be solely dependent upon how I thought about the present state of my life. My answer was not dependent upon how my life actually was, but upon how I in fact thought of it. Regardless of what was presently happening in my life, my answer to her question rested squarely upon my thoughts, my mind. My purposive answer to her would be a direct reflection of how my thoughts shaped my world. My world is my representation, as Schopenhauer said. I have the freedom to manifest my world into whatever I'd like it to be, and I could share that with anyone.
"Welcome to the restaurant. How are you doing," she asked.
"I'm doing great," I replied. "I think I'm having the best day. Glad to be here. Thank you for asking."
Our Minds Are Everything
Our minds are everything. How we think about ourselves determines how we live our lives. Everything I am and everything I've done are shaped by my mind. No matter where you work, no matter how much money you make, no matter who you're making love to, you won't enjoy any of it, unless you intentionally think to.
Game of Life
Let me ask you. How are you at this present moment (while reading these words)? Your answer will depend upon how you work your mind, regardless of the situation. Your mind could be in control, or it could be out of control, and your life feels like riding a wild horse in the night blindfolded. Either way, you determine it. And this is part of the game of life.
Once you understand that, then you can play the game differently. One of the most important rules of the game is: the way in which you intentionally think about the present moment determines how you live your life.
Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama, Lao Tzu, Paul of Tarsus, and many great philosophers, poets, and enlightened folk will all tell you the same thing: the mind is everything.
Sam Harris, in his book, Waking Up, says:
Religion, which is the most destructive and dangerous man-made creation on Earth, and its dogma that condemns minds into prisons of fear and ignorance will not reveal this simple, empirical truth of life about our minds. So, let's not go there.
1 Peter 3:8 says that we ought to be more like-minded, united in spirit, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit toward each other as members of one household.
I encourage you to learn more about the human condition and how each of us have been given a lifetime of learning how to live a spiritual life founded on an empirical belief in God that consciously engages our bodies, minds and spirit.
Text KINGME to 22828 for tips.