Tag Archives: doubt

Courageous in Christ

Today’s message summary from Melvin Gaines:

[Last week we discussed the plight of what it means to be a myopic (or nearsighted) believer, and what it takes to overcome it. While we discussed the downside traits of a myopic believer–hidden fruits, complaining and unappreciative, we presented a remedy to grow strong in your faith as a believer. We discussed how important it is to build and develop your IMAGE in order to become more faithful and confident as a believer in Jesus Christ.]

Developing your IMAGE starts with God’s Word:

Investigate God’s Word

Meditate on His Word

Apply His Word

Grow in Jesus Christ

Endure the hardships that will certainly come

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Believers in Jesus Christ are reminded by Scripture to be confident in their faith, but often, this is easier said than done. Perhaps you have experienced difficulties or setbacks in your faith because of life’s circumstances. These are completely normal and understandable. You can be a believer in Jesus Christ and experience different degrees of hardship. In these experiences, there is a lack of confidence in your circumstances.

Where does this lack of confidence come from?

  • First, it begins with a loss of focus on Jesus Christ
  • Next, it continues with doubt–something is not right, and now you’re not sure about the outcome of the situation
  • Finally, the loss of focus and the doubt is stirred up with a potion of fear.

A loss of focus is a huge distraction in your walk of faith.

Doubt is the opposite of faith.

Fear creeps in when faith is absent.

In order to get back to a place where faith can be placed at the forefront, you need to overcome the greatest obstacle that perpetuates doubt, and that is fear.

Fear comes from the available information, or a lack of information, which leads to a perception or anticipation of a negative outcome.

There are many different ways that fear become manifest in the life of a believer. Here is a top ten list that encapsulates how fear can overshadow a person’s life:

10. Losing your freedom

09. The unknown

08. Pain

07. Disappointment

06. Misery

05. Loneliness

04. Ridicule

03. Rejection

02. Death

01. Failure

Fear is a real emotion, but it is debilitating to your faith.

The result of fear, in your doubt and lack of focus, is a believer who is outside of the place where God wants you to be. It’s a place that is unsettling at best, and dreadful at worst.

Fear is not a switch that one can turn on and turn off. In our flesh, there is no such thing as an absence of fear. Fear is like a wound that needs ointment and a bandage in order to promote healing.

In order to overcome fear, which allows us to combat doubt and regain focus on Jesus Christ, there is a remedy. Fear must be suppressed with a reliance on God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fear must be met with courage.

Courage is the essence of a believer that drives the necessary change to promote growth of your IMAGE in Jesus Christ and the ability, in spite of any life difficulty or circumstance, to proclaim the good news for the Great Commission.

God reminds you of the importance of being courageous. It takes your mind off of the things that you are fearful of. He gives us many reminders and words of encouragement throughout Scripture.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Fear is anxiety and can be driven by impatience. God wants you to be patient.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.

 

God wants you to experience rest and comfort as you rely upon the Spirit to overcome fear.

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

 

Fear is the absence of trust. God reminds us to trust in Him. Leave the results of your anxiety at His feet.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?

 

There’s no need to go it alone. There’s strength and courage in numbers. Stay in a fellowship.

Philippians 1:27-28

27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.

 

Trusting God in your fear leads to confidence that there will be a good result…but even more than this…that God will be glorified.

Daniel 3:15-18

15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

What amazing courage! But make no mistake about it…your courage is far from your own strength. God provides the ability for you to overcome fear and be strong in Him.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

 

Proverbs 3:25-26

25 Don’t fear sudden danger

or the ruin of the wicked when it comes,

26 for the Lord will be your confidence

and will keep your foot from a snare.

 

Isaiah 41:8-10

8 But you, Israel, My servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

descendant of Abraham, My friend—

9 I brought you from the ends of the earth

and called you from its farthest corners.

I said to you: You are My servant;

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

10 Do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will help you;

I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

 

God offers Himself to you for comfort, healing, preservation and love, which overcomes all fear. He is your confidence. He is our confidence that we will succeed in any difficult situation or circumstance.

His love overcomes fear.

1 John 4:17-19

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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Do You Believe in the Resurrection?

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed Him to a tree? Were you there when they laid Him in a tomb? Were you there when He rose up from the dead?” (Lyrics from African American spiritual ‘Were You There?’)
None of us were actually there for these events, yet the events of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection all occurred for our benefit. If it were not for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an essential part of the gospel, we would not be the beneficiaries of His swing grace because of His sacrifice in atonement for our sins. His resurrection means that we can live in Christ and fellowship with Him for all eternity if we believe in Him.
In today’s world, there are many that still question whether or not Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It is in this central area where there is a struggle not only in this area, but in the ability to live strong in their faith. If the people who were present with Christ had difficulty understanding the resurrection (Luke 24:1-49), it is not hard to believe that there would be questions even today about it. Yet, Jesus declared on several occasions to His disciples that He would be killed and would be raised on the third day.

Matthew 16:21
“From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.”

The disciples had received the information, but it did not really kick in until all of the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection had taken place AND when God revealed to them His Word once more, and it was captured within their hearts (Luke 24:7, 32, 44-49) They had the knowledge, but now there was complete understanding.

Despite the efforts of the chief priests of the Pharisees, there was a great effort to make sure that the tomb where Jesus was buried was to remain secure (Matthew 27:62-66), but, in spite of all of this, Mary Magdalene and Mary discovered that the stone was removed (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-5). He was no longer in the tomb. The women had to conclude that either Christ rose from the dead, or someone else had moved Him, as the soldiers who were guarding the tomb were bribed to have many others believe that He was stolen out of the grave (Matthew 28:11-15).

The angels, and Jesus Himself, had to inform Mary Magdalene that Jesus was not taken from the tomb, but that He had emerged from the tomb Himself. She, too, had heard what Jesus had declared about the fact that He had to die and that He would be raised again on the third day, but it was not until she saw Him and heard His voice (John 20:16-18) that she realized the truth of the words that she had heard for herself. She had gone to the tomb with the full expectation of anointing Jesus’ body. It was His presence that reassured her that His words had meaning. After that encounter, Jesus was present after the resurrection to more than five hundred people in a 40-day period prior to His ascension into heaven (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

We have to note that the resurrection is unlike any other event throughout history. Lazarus had emerged from his own tomb at the prompting of Jesus. There are other instances in Scripture where persons were revived after death (1 Kings 17:21; Acts 9:40, 20:9-10). Jesus had no one visibly there for His resurrection.

It is not hard to see why the disciples had trouble with this event. There was a lack of faith (Mark 16:11, 14), or the idea of Christ rising from the dead was deemed to be nonsense (Luke 24:11), or because they were afraid of what would happen to them (John 20:18-19).

In the same way, we may have doubt as to how Jesus has an impact in our life. Sometimes, it takes an event of such magnitude, no matter what you have heard or have been taught, when you realize that Jesus Christ is truly alive! It is then that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He is truly present in your life. It is our true faith in what we have been taught and when we no longer pay attention to what out friends think about us where we can be best used by God to proclaim His Word in our lives. It changes for us when we see God, through Jesus Christ, working in our lives (Matthew 28:17; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:31, 36, 45; John 20:19, 26; 21:1).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ allows for the life of Jesus to be imputed into the life of the believer. Jesus sends into the believer the Holy Spirit for guidance (Luke 24:49; John 20:22), and the believer receives power to overcome any doubt that may crop up (Acts 1:8), and it is the Spirit that gives us life (2 Corinthians 3:6). In the book of Acts, we see how the power of God through the Spirit reaches people for Jesus Christ and adds to the numbers of believers wherever the gospel is proclaimed.

Please note, however, that God will not make you do something that you do not want to do…you must have the desire to love the Lord by being obedient to His Word. You have the ability to suppress, or quench, the Holy Spirit, by living in opposition to what God’s Word would have you to do. It is your choices that guide how you live your life. It is only when you recognize everything that Christ has done for you when you can truly understand loving Him and what loving others for Christ truly means. It all goes back to the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to you.

Praise the Lord that we have a living Savior that is worth living for! You have available to you a relationship with a living God today if you turn away from your sins and trust that Jesus Christ died for you, and make Him your personal Savior. Amen.