Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Defeating Fear With Faith

Whenever I am afraid,
  I will trust in You.
  In God (I will praise His Word),
In God I have put my trust;
  I will not fear!
(Psalm 56:3-4)
Notice how David moves from fear to no fear. He is not denying that he has moments of fear and anxiety in his life. Rather, he is showing us how he deals with those moments.

First, there is the moment of recognition, “Whenever I am afraid.” He becomes aware that fear has gotten a hold on him, but he does not look at himself as a victim, helpless to do anything about it. Nor does he take a defensive posture. Instead, he goes on the offensive and launches an attack against that which has attacked him.

“I will trust in You.” Fear is a toxin, but faith is the antidote. When fear tries to get to David, he immediately reaches for faith. He does not even try to speak to fear or reason with fear — he focuses his attention in the completely opposite direction, for faith is the opposite of fear. He does not set his mind on the problem, he sets his mind on the solution.

“In God (I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust.” Notice the tense here: In God I have put my trust. This is not something new to David, but something he has developed as a habit. He has learned the discipline of faith, and now it has become his conditioned response: When fear comes, he responds with faith.

How did David learn this disciplined response of faith? By turning to the Word of God. His faith in God has very much to do with the Word of God. God is not separate from His Word. In fact, another psalm declares that God has exalted His Word even about His Name. For the Word reveals, not only the will of God, but the heart of God for His people.

David has meditated on that Word, day and night (Psalm 1:2-3), and has seen that heart. He has come into an intimate relationship with God through the Word. The promises of God are sweet to him. What is more, they are strength. That is why David praises the Word of God, why he has put his trust in God, and why, whenever fear strikes against his heart, he will quickly trust God again.

There is a conscious choice being made here. David chooses to meditate on the Word, the promises of God, instead of fear (which is the lie of the devil). He is active and intentional in his praise of the Word. He does not speak words of fear, repeating the lies of the enemy. He puts the words of faith in his mouth and thereby sets faith even deeper into his heart. For the Bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). So, as he meditates on the Word.

In the Hebrew mind, meditation is not a silent function, but a vocal expression of the heart. The Hebrew word for “meditate” literally means to mutter or murmur. In this mindset, you can tell when someone is meditating because you will see their lips moving. Meditation is “self-talk,” speaking the Word of God to your heart. As the Word fills the heart, faith increases.

Through this process of meditating on the Word, the promises of God, David is therefore able to shift his focus to faith and trust in God. And so he comes to the place where he can confidently say: “I will not fear!”

Keep the Word of God in your heart, in your thoughts, and in your mouth. Literally open your mouth and speak forth God’s promises, and see how that will release faith into your situation. Then, whenever fear tries to come after you, you will be in a position to quickly trust the Lord in that matter. When you are “tanked up” on the Word of God, you will find yourself boldly declaring, “I will not fear.”