Our culture is celebrating and promoting fear, pride, and lawlessness. What the Bible calls evil, culture declares as good. What God says is good, the culture tosses it away with hateful rejection.
While this has always been true (read the Biblical prophets), the widespread obsession and increase of immorality, fear, pride, anger, and lawlessness within American culture (and even within the Church) over the past few months has been an infection far more contagious, dangerous, and deadly than Covid19.
Many Christians who aren’t wrapped up in the cultural craziness of the day are yet living in fear, anxiety, and trepidation – and in so doing, disregarding the Biblical mandate to live without fear, be strong and courageous, and to not worry.
But how can a Christian live without fear or worry? How are we able to be strong and courageous no matter the circumstances circling around us?
While there are far more complicated responses, I’ve concluded that it simply comes down to one word: mindset.
Where we place our mind and what we give our thoughts to will determine our focus and thus how we live.
For example, if a fearful situation presents itself, rather than dwelling upon the situation and fear – what if I set my mind on Jesus Christ and realized that in Him I am more than a conqueror, in Him there is no fear because perfect love casts out fear, in Him there is no place for worry or anxiety because He is the One in control, and thus I can trust Him.
Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
When we live in fear, anxiety, worry, and trepidation it is a declaration of our lack of focus upon and trust in God.
When we focus and trust Jesus, it is not that the circumstance goes away and we find ourselves skipping through meadows with skittles falling from the sky. Rather, in Christ there is a restful hope and trust in His provision, sovereignty, guidance, and protection – that He truly does have all things under His control and He is using all things (the good, the bad, and the ugly) for our good (see Ephesians 1:20-22 and Romans 8:28).
I’ve recently been pondering Paul’s statement to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).
Paul wasn’t writing Philippians from a comfy couch eating choice foods without a worry in the world, he was writing from a prison cell (see Philippians 1:13, 4:22).
Years earlier, while in prison after being beaten with rods, Paul and Silas rejoiced by “praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). When Paul says to “rejoice in the Lord always” he actually means it. But how? The key is not focusing upon the circumstances but rather focusing upon the One above your circumstances. God didn’t cause them to be beaten and thrown in prison, yet He allowed it to happen and promised to use even the pain and torture for their good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
Paul and Silas were not singing about their beaten backs was or how depressing the jail cell was, they were singing about how great their God is. The pain was still there, they were still locked in a cell, but their mind was set on Christ.
We live in a time where lawlessness reigns, anger abounds, fear flourishes, and worry wins the day. But we can live in perfect peace when we keep our minds steadfast upon Jesus and trust in Him (again see Isaiah 26:3).
So dear Christian, remember, you are a BELIEVER, you are to believe (ie: trust) in the strength, provision, protection, guidance, and love of our God. So be bold, be strong and courageous, live without fear, do not fret and worry about tomorrow but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matthew 6:25-34).
Remember to keep your mind steadfast upon Jesus – for it is only then when we will experience perfect peace which will in turn guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. So let us rejoice always and be anxious for nothing, for our Lord is at hand (see Philippians 4:4-7). And as Paul reminds us …
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 (Philippians 4:8).
Know I’m praying for you and cheering you on as we set our minds on Jesus.
The Christian Mindset Sermon Series
If you’d like to go deeper into this idea, I’ve started a new preaching series called The Christian Mindset on Thursdays for the Ellerslie Daily Thunder. Listen to the first episode below or listen to the series on the NRJohnson Sermon Podcast.