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“Much fear”

in the face of bad thoughts

What to do?

 

Esta fotografía de una dama parada en un camino frente a nubes bajitas y amenazantes que se acercan rápidamente hacia ella ilustra el tema Mucho miedo ante los pensamientos malos, en editoriallapaz.org.

 

The clouds skim toward the woman, rapidly expanding. Very low. Menacing. Like an armada of malevolent celestial forces. And behind the vanguard, even darker clouds, with torrential rain, and possibly hail or a tornado. She does not have any power over these phenomena of nature, but she can, certainly, seek refuge, not challenging them or exposing herself foolishly to their fury. They will unleash their enormous energy, then disappear. And the sun will come out in all its splendor!

Not the best human being in the world can avoid having some clouds of bad thoughts enter his mind. Nevertheless, he does have the power to keep them from filling every corner of it. And, also the consolation of knowing that they will not remain there forever in his inner self, for, sooner or later, the Sun of righteousness will make them fade away. With this qualification: It is thus, particularly, for those who know the “Sun of righteousness,”(Malachi 4:2), that is, Jesus Christ, loving more -very, very much more- the light that emanates from righteousness, love, and goodness than the darkness streaming from injustice, hate, and evil.

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (John 3:19-21)

Every human being should have the good sense to not expose himself deliberately to the densest and most violent clouds of evil, opening his mind and letting them flow freely in, a foolish act committed by multitudes who delight in perverseness, making fun of God and the Bible. The havoc to body, soul and spirit suffered by those who do is readily seen by any person in his right mind, although it goes unseen by those who are the most affected. This is the truly sad situation of the unrepentant.

 

“I have a lot of fear due to bad thoughts. I was baptized, but they persist, despite my fasting, praying and reading the Word.”

 

Dear sister in Christ, may God’s peace be with you, and may his peace in you fulfill its purpose.

 

The purpose of “the peace of God” is to keep your heart and your mind, synonymous with thoughts (Phillipians 4:7). But, it is to be deduced that you do not possess “the peace of God,” for you are filled with “much fear.” You will understand, of course, that there can be no “peace” where “fear” prevails. I empathize most sincerely with your pain of mind and spirit, for at one time or another in my life I have known fear in the face of thoughts incompatible with my desire to always live in harmony with Christ and his good will for me. And not only for me, but also for you and for every soul that loves God, his truth, and the precious salvation he offers everyone who would like to have it. But, there is hope for all of us: The hope, even the complete assuredness, of overcoming fear, whatever its nature may be.

 

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phillipians 4:7

 

One comes to know “…the peace of God,” and rejoice in it in his heart and mind, when…

…confidence in God,

…certainty with regard to his promises,

…robust faith,

…and mental discipline…

PREDOMINATE.

A discipline that makes the mind think positively. An example of which we have in Phillipians 4:13. I can do all things in him who strengthens me,” writes the apostle Paul, truly a living and powerful personification of the belief, principal, and conviction he affirms.Try repeating that statement a few times in your own mind, and feel its power begin to work in your, dispelling fear.

A discipline that obligates the mind to be occupied with the positive things listed in Phillipians 4:8.

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.

Think about them! A command to the mind. Think about them! Command your mind!

In the face of “much fear,” repeat those beautiful, powerful words over and over until “fear” dissolves and disappears at their sound.

“…true… honorable… just… pure… lovely… gracious… excellence… worthy of praise.” Think on “whatever” they describe, until your mind is saturated both with the words and all they describe.

 

Esta fotografía del pie ancho de un gran arco irs que descansa en tierra justamente detrás de un árbol ilustra el tema Mucho miedo ante los malos pensamientos, en editoriallapaz.org.

The spectacular rainbow is witness to God´s promise that he would not again destroy the world by water as he did in the time of Noah and the Great Flood. He has also promised that he will not allow us to be tempted or tried beyond that which we are able to bear. Therefore, we should not become fainthearted or terrified no matter however frightening the clouds of any storm may be, whether literal, mental, emotional or spiritual.1

 

“…rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body,” such as much self-imposed fasting, “are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:20-23). It could well be added: Nor in stopping the attacks of destructive forces to unhinge the mind and break the heart. Rather, what really is of value, in my humble judgment and according to my own experiences, studies, and meditations, is to feed the physical body well, yes, and even better the mind, soul, and spirit. These, with an abundance of good, beautiful, and positive thoughts. And fortify so much the will to do good that “Willpower” will not fall back before the onslaught of “Insecurity, Fear, Weakness, Confusion, Pessimism, Incredulity, and Defeat,” together with all the rest of their Companions, responsible for mental-emotional-spiritual breakdowns.

 

Thoughts are thoughts, not becoming external deeds until they manifest themselves in actions. Every human being has good thoughts (with perhaps some absolutely, depraved exceptions) and bad thoughts. Being baptized does not change this condition. If baptism meant the end of bad thoughts, it would also mean the end of temptations. But, we know that temptations and trials continue after baptism, even unto the death of the physical body. Therefore, it is inevitable that the baptized person will have bad thoughts, at least some. Nevertheless, it is not inevitable that such thoughts will take over the mind and spirit, that they will embitter life twenty-four hours a day, day after day, year after year, that the mind in which they form will have no relief whatsoever, rest or hope of overcoming them. Because: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

So then, there will surely be a “way of escape!” The key to finding it is to break out of the lethargy and inaction usually caused by fear. Obviously, the way of escape is not to be found in the closet of fear. On the contrary, outside it. Thus, channel your mental, emotional, and spiritual energies outside of yourself, your ego, your “I.” (“I am full of fear because of my thoughts. I am so confused. I must be doomed. I must be possessed. I… I… I…”) Concentrate those energies in actions (good works) that will benefit other Christians and the world in general. These are some of the ways of “escape.” To them we may add, of course: Fervent prayer and positive reflections on the most sublime and edifying subjects.

 

It is not a sin to have bad thoughts. Allowing them to take us over, to be greater than our faith and love, is what really does expose us to great dangers for our whole being, even to the point of becoming the cause of sin.

 

With regard to bad thoughts in particular, one of the ways of escape is to assure that “every thought” is brought “captive to obey Christ.” The bad ones must be destroyed or transformed into good ones. This teaching is found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Please read it and meditate on it at length, internalizing it, making it a part of your psyche, your mechanisms for dealing with thoughts. A concept so profound, glorious, and powerful. These “weapons of our warfare,” spiritual weapons, and “not worldly,” are powerful, indeed, enough to make captive every thought. Isolate it. Identify its nature, and thus its source: Is it from the regions “of the nether gloom,” or from those of divine light, purity, and holiness? Following is the text cited, as written by the apostle Paul, by the Spirit, so that you can read it now, without delay, and begin to grasp its wisdom and power.

 

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christbeing ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Reject, then, every bad thought. Vigorously repudiate it once and again, once and again, until it stops coming back to bother you, make you feel uneasy, unsure of yourself. To make you feel impure. By the way, a bad thought does not make the mind impure; nor the soul or the spirit. Happily receiving it, allowing it to nest in the mind and enjoying it: That is what causes impurity, even the corruption of the mind, conscience, and soul.2

I purposely chose the verb “make,” in the phrase “making it a part of your psyche,” in the context of taking “every thought captive to obey Christ,” because I understand, and wish to emphasize anew, the vital roll “WILLPOWER” plays in our overcoming at all levels. If one does not have the necessary willpower to do something, whatever it may be, how will he ever do it? I must, then, do my part. Decisively decide that I will not hide in the dark corner of “Fear,” but rather put on all the armor of God, stand and fight the good fight for my soul and eternal salvation. For the souls of others and their eternal salvation. Confident in victory. (Ephesians 6:1-10). This is exercising the strong WILLPOWER so absolutely indispensable for overcoming…

…the fear of living, of life itself,

evil in all its manifestations,

bad thoughts,

loss of sanity, of saneness, of control,

failure and defeat.

 

Dear sister in Christ, may these Bible texts, plus my own humble observations and reflections, serve to strengthen your mind and spirit to such an extent that you overcome fear, stabilize yourself in your spiritual fight and come through unscathed. May you be able to enjoy your salvation, rejoicing in Christ for so great a salvation put within your reach by him, within mine and that of every person who would like to have it now and forever.

 

This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) In this context, “men” is the whole human race: women, men, and young people able to understand and obey the gospel.

 

I am at your service in Christ,

 

Dewayne Shappley

 

 


 

1 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? —‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holinessFor the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
 (Hebrews 12:4-11)

 

2 To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted. (Titus 1:15).

 


 

Bible studies in PowerPoint for youth and adults. Tracts in PDF and JPEG: Print your own or order.

www.apologeticspress.org Much material on many, many Bible subjects. Special emphasis on the defense of the existence of God and the inspiration of the Bible.

World directory of churches of Christ  www.churchofchrist.cc

Churches of Christ in the United States   www. www.21stcc.com/ccusa/

 

  

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