Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why Frightened? Why Doubtful?

"Why are you frightened? Jesus asked. 
Why are your hearts filled with doubt?" 
Luke 24:38 NLT

This is the memory verse for week 3 of the A Confident Heart (ACH) Bible study I am participating in online.  I honestly cannot say it is a verse I would think to memorize and yet, as I took it apart and did a bit of digging God showed me some great application.

The first thing that really hit me was the WHYs.. Jesus did not say Don't be frightened.. Don't have doubtful hearts.. He did not scold or condemn (Romans 8:1 NO Condemnation!).. instead He asked Why?  He wanted those doubting.. those frightened.. to stop and look at why they felt this way.. why they were reacting like this.  I believe He wants us to do the same. To not just accept our fear and doubts, but to stop and look at WHY we have them.  Only when we deal with the why can we get past the fear and doubt.

In fact, I believe it is ok for us to have fear and doubt.  The Message version of this verse says "Don't be upset and don't let all these doubting questions take over."  We can look throughout the Word and find times where someone doubted.  Just read the Psalms or Habakkuk... or what about the Dad in Mark 9 (I believe, Lord help my unbelief!.. Unbelief is a first cousin to doubt.)  Again, no condemnation, but a call here to not allow the doubt (and fear) to take over. 

So what does that look like? Doubt and Fear taking over? And how do we prevent or remedy it?

When we look at the key words in the verse, we get a bit of insight.  Frightened in the Greek is tarasso which means to stir, to agitate, to roll water. Sound familiar? Hop over to James 1 verses 6 through 8. 

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 

James equates one who doubts to a wave being tossed about on the sea.. rolling water.. agitated.. stirred up. 

If we look at a modern day dictionary, we will see that Frighten means to make afraid, to drive or force, panic, scare, terrify.  Our fear drives us.. forces us to do or not do things. I spent 8 years captive to fear and panic. Trust me.. in that state you are agitated and stirred up much like that tossing sea.

The opposite of Frighten is reassure.. to restore confidence. And that is exactly what we want and need! 

The other key word is really a phrase... "hearts filled with doubt."  The King James Version says "thoughts arise in your hearts."  The Greek word for Thoughts (translated doubts in our version) is diaglogismos (see dialogue in there?).  It means discussion, internal consideration, debate, doubting, imagination, thought.  All of this happens where? In the Mind... the Battlefield of the Mind!  

The Greek word for heart is kardia and can be translated the heart, but also thoughts, feelings or Mind!   

Heart and Mind.. they go hand-in-hand!

Look at a few of the things the Word tells us concerning our hearts and minds...

Romans 12:2.. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Ps. 26:2 Examine your heart and mind
Prov. 4:23 Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life
Isa 26:3 You want perfect peace? Keep your Mind steadfast on Him.
Matt. 22:37 Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind
Eph. 4:23 be made new in the attitude of your minds
Col. 3:2 Set your mind on things above not on earthly things
Rev. 2:23 I AM He who searched the hearts and minds.
Ps. 86:11 Give me an Undivided heart (remember James 1:8 talks about being double-minded.. I would call that a divided mind)

And when you look at a modern day dictionary you find that doubt (as a noun) means an uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making, hesitation, lack of confidence, inclination NOT to believe.  

Not to Believe!  Takes us back to Mark 9:24 when the doubting father says Lord, I Believe, help my unbelief!  

To Believe starts in your mind but doesn't end there. It is an ACTIVE verb.  Belief brings about action (this is why James says Faith without works is dead.)

So how does this all tie together and what do we do with it? The enemy gets in our head and whispers his lies.. and our flesh latches on and the battle begins.. a debate within our mind over whether or not to trust Believe Him.. and that battle will lead to inaction.  The enemy cannot snatch us from the Lord's hand, but he can keep us ineffective and uninvolved... living a dead faith instead of an abundant life! Remember his goal is to Kill, Steal, and Destroy (John 10:10).  

To prevent this... or do battle once it starts.. we must.. MUST.. be in the Word AND get the Word in us!  There is no other way!  We renew our mind... get to KNOW the one we are called to believe so that we can say with Paul.. I know who I have believed and am convinced (confident!) that He is able to guard what I've entrusted to Him for that day. (2 Tim. 1:12)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Confident Heart

Once again I am taking part in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. I cannot recommend participating in these studies enough!  You are not required to blog.. really it is a flexible do as much or as little as you can / want type study.  To learn more and sign up go to Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study.

We are currently studying Renee Swope's A Confident Heart (another GREAT book!) In it, we are facing out fears and doubts... looking squarely at our past and then moving forward with confidence!  And we have only read 5 chapters!  I cannot wait to see what is ahead.

I'll be blogging this week (and hopefully others) as part of this study. Come back and see what God is showing me!