Summary: Fear is a big part of life. To understand fear and overcome it, we must look to God’s Word in the Scriptures.
“Beating Back Bad Thoughts”
Your Greatest Fear Series – Message Three
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday Night, May 3rd, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
An anonymous person once said, “Every thought is a seed. If you plant a crab apple tree, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”
Another said this, “We can’t choose our relatives, but we can choose our thoughts, which influence us much more.”
Henry Ford said this, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
Thinking is important, especially for the Christian. Why? Because the Bible says that thinking—how we think—the mind is the engine, the motor, the origin of life.
I believe that fear begins in the heart and in the mind. I recently heard Dr. James McDonald say that “doubt is the most fertile soil for fear.”
And so before we get into specific fears you and I have and experience from day to day, I think we need to continue to get at the root of why we fear and what we can do thru Christ, to avoid the type of thinking that leads to irrational and crippling fear.
The Bible talks a lot of about thinking. In fact, if you could sum up the New Testament, most of Paul’s instructions and Jesus’ instructions didn’t center around the outward appearances or things people did, but on the thoughts of their mind, and the attitudes of their hearts.
Amy Carmichael prayed this prayer, “Holy Spirit, think through me till your thoughts are my thoughts.”
It is when we begin to think God’s thoughts and change our thinking, that we can experience the peace God intended us to have. So tonight, I want to walk us through 5 principles about thinking from the Scriptures.
1) Our Natural Way of Thinking Leads us to Sin, Fear, and Doubt.
Jesus said this in Mark 7:
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Mark 7:21-23 (KJV)
I like what John Wesley said in a sermon entitled, “Wandering Thoughts”
“All our thoughts are naturally of this kind: For they are continually wandering from God: We think nothing about him: God is not in all our thoughts: We are, one and all, as the Apostle observes, "Without God in the world." We think of what we love; but we do not love God; therefore, we think not of Him. Or, if we are now and then constrained to think of Him for a time, yet as we have not pleasure therein, nay, rather, as these thoughts are not only insipid, but distasteful and irksome to us, we drive them out as soon as we can, and return to what we love to think of. So that the world, and the things of the world, -- what we shall eat, what we shall drink, what we shall put on, -- what we shall see, what we shall hear, what we shall gain, -- how we shall please our senses or our imagination, -- takes up all our time, and engrosses all our thought. So long, therefore, as we love the world; that is, so long as we are in our natural state; all our thoughts, from morning to evening, and from evening to morning, are no other than wandering thoughts.”
See, it is naturally to think bad thoughts. How many of you have to go home and train yourself to worry? How many of you have to really practice before you learn how to envy or gossip? These are natural inclinations of a sinful heart.
In fact, there is such a vast difference between the way we, sinful humans think, and the way God thinks. Let’s read the words of God to Isaiah, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 (KJV)
2) Without Christ, we were incapable of thinking right. Here is where the Bible’s instruction differs from pop psychology. See, you can tune into Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura or some of these people. And they generally give good advice. But what they are missing is this. The Bible says that without Christ, we were dead, incapable of anything good. And so all that advice only frustrates, because those who don’t know Christ have no hope of getting their thinking and their lives right.
Turn with me to Ephesians 4:17-24. I love this passage, because it really clarifies the difference between the old man, who has no ability to think after God and the new man, whose is now redeemed.