A New You for a New Decade: Facing reality with faith.
When reality sets in, what do you do? When your goals aren’t happening as fast as you want and when it feels like it’s three steps forward and two steps back or three steps back and two steps forward. You’ve got one of two choices in the face of reality. You can either choose to worry or you can choose faith. That’s an awesomely powerful choice you can make that can make all the difference in the world. It is a choice that can change everything.
Something To Talk About:
No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop bad things from happening, because you live in a fallen world. However, you do have the choice of how you respond to whatever happens. Consider:
- Ask for help: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) When you struggle to trust God with something that’s worrying you, ask the Lord to give you the help you need. It’s one thing to say, “The Lord is my helper,” and another to say, “Lord, help me today … help me right now in this situation.” Speak aloud the words of Hebrews 13:6, “…The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Ask God to reveal whatever unbelief or unhealed wounds may be preventing you from trusting Him completely. Thank God for what He has already done and ask God for the faith you need to trust Him completely.“ Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- Question your fears: We should question why we are afraid. We need to question our fears. Fears can seem final until we question them. Then we realize they’re not. God’s the final authority. His Word is what’s going to last, not our fears. One of the most common phrases in the Bible is “do not be afraid.” For example, Joshua 1:9 says, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The Bible is full of people who faced fear in their lives. We can do the same thing. The question is am I going to run from fear or face the fear and my reality? John 14:27 says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” So question your fears.
- Increase your faith: God gives us the blueprint for dealing with our fears. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” We should not deal with fears on our own, but rather hand our fear over to God and He will do the rest. During the day, keep God foremost in your mind. Remember that He is with you wherever you go. Don’t let your fears influence you. If something happens that causes you to worry, refuse to give in to it. Rather, build your faith. If you’re going to have faith you’ve got to increase your faith. I challenge you today, instead of worrying about what may happen, to begin to replace those fearful thoughts with scriptures of God’s promised protection. The next time you are faced with fear, make a decision to remain in the peace that God has already given you. Trust in His unfailing love for you: choose faith over fear. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27:1)
- Acknowledge God’s control: When confronting fear we have to remember that God is in control. In order to trust Him, we need to know whether or not that trust is warranted. The Bible is clear that God’s will happens exactly as He purposes: “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.” (Isaiah 14:24). This should give us strength and confidence, knowing that He is omnipotent and that when He promises a thing, He also has the power to make it happen. 1 Timothy 6:15 adds, “For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” What He says is going to happen, happens. Through the prophet Isaiah, God says: “…For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Just knowing that God is all-powerful is not enough. We need to know that when difficult or inexplicable things occur, He is good and the circumstances in our lives have purpose, even if we can’t see that purpose. The key lies in faith: having faith in His goodness, His love, His mercy, His compassion, His faithfulness, and His holiness.
- Is it easy to live in a virtual reality? How do our fears impact our reality?
- What area of your life do you find yourself consistently fearful of what might come or what won’t come? Is there something God has commanded from His Word that you are fearful to do? Why are you fearful? What truth about God gives you courage in the midst of fear?
- Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?
- What do you fear and how does it affect the way you live? Does it lead to anger, worry, or anxiety?
- What lessons from your last 10 years can you apply to your next decade? For fears? For faith?
- As you think about the fear of not measuring up, what is the ground you have found yourself standing on? Is it on Christ or something different?
- Why is it spiritually dangerous to hook your faith to daily circumstances when life is hard? Why is it spiritually dangerous to hook your faith to daily circumstances when life is good?
- How can knowing God is in control help us with inner peace?
- Who can you encourage this week with the unchanging presence, promises, and provision of God?
- What is one thing God is speaking to you through this message?
Take one thing home with you:
Expect The Unexpected
Life very rarely goes as planned. So much so that we need to expect the unexpected. Sometimes, as believers, we forget that we are called into a life of walking by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” But sometimes our circumstances start to erode that faith. This is where trust comes in: are we going to believe what our circumstances are trying to convince us is reality or will we believe God’s Word, that He is in control and the ultimate reality?
If there is a jolting circumstance in your life right now, trust God by seeking Him and talking to Him about what He wants to teach you and accomplish in you through that circumstance. If you’ll allow God, He can turn any setback into a catalyst for your life and use every unexpected event to refine you and strengthen your walk with Him.