Bring Out The Ledger

  By Bob Brubaker  |  

You don’t have to search for frightening news today, it’s everywhere. So much so, the news services are filled with it, the internet thrives upon it, and the social media is overwhelmed with comments about it. Of course, as bad news travels through the conversations of people who have ingested all the above, the result is “great fear.” I was asked recently by a very concerned person who happened to be absorbing a great deal of this information from a variety of sources about what we can do. So, let’s consider what we can do to counter the plethora of negativity.

The first thing is to look to God’s word to see how people of faith handled similar situations and take note of what happened and how God gave them courage to face the situation.

Romans 15:4 (ESV) — 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

One such case would be David’s writing of Psalm 56, which he wrote under great duress and reason to fear. In that Psalm you’ll find David expressing his fear but countering that fear with the voice of faith and he does this sequence twice to affirm to himself and to his readers that with God on his side there is no reason to fear. Notice the two “voice of faith” choruses in Psalm 56.

Psalm 56:3–4 (ESV) — 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 56:10–11 (ESV) — 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Please notice his action of recognizing his fear served as a warning to focus his trust in God. But he doesn’t stop there. Out of faith, he brings his focus upon God’s word and praise to God. The result is a resounding confidence.

Stop and think about how much of what is going into your brain via what you hear, read, or watch is building your fear and how much of your intake is building your confidence through faith. It’s time to bring out the ledger. Seriously, if you want help over the overwhelming fear of the time, it’s time to take action and the first step is to get a handle on what you are putting into your mind by assessing what and how much.

What if you set up a ledger to account for the use of your time spent in both the positive (God’s word) and the negative (the news)? In one column you tracked how many minutes you either read, watched, listened to, or conversed with someone about the frightening news of the day. In a second column you tracked the time you read God’s word, meditated upon His word, prayed, talked with others about God’s word, and time you listened to or watch a sermon or teaching. How does it look? It’s most certain that if you are overwhelmed with fear, the column of news and fearful talk leads the way. So there needs to be a change to fill your mind with the good things of God’s word.

Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:6–8 (ESV) — 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Here’s a way to get on track. Go back to Psalm 56 and notice a few other things that David does in the midst of great fear. He was fleeing from Saul and ended up in Gath, the hometown of Goliath. As he sought refuge from the king, the people reminded the king of who this was so David turned to acting like an insane man which caused the people to kick him out of town. Amidst this trying scene, David writes Psalm 56.

First, He brings his petition to God along with a description of his fear.

Psalm 56:1 (ESV) — 1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me;

Second, He reminds himself (and us as his readers) that God takes into consideration everything about us. He even uses the illustration of “tears in a bottle” to assure us that nothing about us and our hurts are ever overlooked by God.

Psalm 56:8 (ESV) — 8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Third, David reminds himself and us that the place to go in time of need is God’s word.

Psalm 56:3–4 (ESV) — 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 56:10–11 (ESV) — 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Fourth, David resounds praise to God for His word and for every reason to trust Him.

Fifth, David makes a great statement of confidence, “I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Now that is confidence amid a very complicated and trying circumstance. Is God not the same today as He was then? Of course, He is! He never changes. Therefore, we can apply David’s solution to our multiplied fears which have become overwhelming due to our feeding upon the negative. Bring out the ledger and repent, which simply means to change the source upon which you are focusing. Instead of the slanted information that keeps us in fear presented on every hand, focus upon God and His word and be filled with confidence.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

 

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