| The Battle Belongs to the Lord |
By Joyce Meyer
Genre: Inspirational & Self-Help
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God wants us to be totally free from fear. He doesn't want us to live in torment, and He doesn't want fear to stop us from confidently doing what He tells us to do. When we have a deep understanding concerning God's perfect unconditional love for us, we realize He will always take care of everything that concerns us that knowledge eventually delivers us from fear. As we have experience with God and see that He always takes care of us and provides what we need, we begin to relax.
is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect)
love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached
the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
God moves on our behalf when we focus on Him instead of on our fears. The feeling of fear or fearful thoughts is simply our enemy Satan trying to distract us from God and His will for our lives. We may feel fear at various times in our lives but we can choose to trust God and if we need to, "do it afraid."
This "do it afraid" theory is something God revealed to me many years ago. I saw that when He told Joshua as recorded in Joshua 1 to "fear not," He was actually warning him that fear would try to stop him, but instead of letting the fear control him, he was encouraged to be strong and full of courage and keep going forward.
has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound
Anytime trouble comes fear is usually the first thing we feel. Satan injects "what if" thoughts into our head, and we often begin to see the worst possible outcome. As soon as that happens, we should realize what is going on Satan is trying to keep us from going forward in God's will and good plan for our lives.
When we feel fear or begin to experience fearful thoughts, the very first thing we should do is pray. I always say, "Pray about everything and fear nothing." We should set ourselves to seek God until we know we have the emotional and mental victory over the spirit of fear. As we seek God, we are focusing on Him instead of on our fears. We worship Him for Who He is and express our appreciation to Him for the good He has done, is doing and will continue to do.
God has blessings and new opportunities in store for us. To receive them we must take steps of faith. That often means doing things we don't feel like doing or in our own minds don't even think will work, but our trust and reverence for God must be greater than what we personally want, think or feel.
We see a perfect example of this in Luke Chapter 5. Peter and some of the other disciples of Jesus had been fishing all night; they had caught nothing; they were tired, actually exhausted; they needed sleep; I am sure they were hungry. They had just finished washing and storing their nets, which was a big job. Jesus appeared on the bank of the lake and told them if they wanted to catch a haul of fish, they should cast their nets again, only this time in deeper water. Peter explained to the Lord that they were exhausted; they had caught nothing, but he said, "On the ground of Your word we will lower the nets again." This is the kind of attitude the Lord wants us to have. We may not feel like doing something; we may not want to; we may not think it is a good idea; we may feel fearful that none of it will work, but we should be willing to obey God rather than our fears or feelings.
The devil tries to use fear in its many different forms to keep us in shallow water. But even though we may feel fear, we need to focus our attention on God, and at His word we should launch out into the deep to receive the blessings God has for us.
this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat
Are the "-ites" after you? In this passage it was the Moabies, the Ammonites and the Menuites who were after King Jehosaphat and the people of Judah. In other places in the Old Testament it was the Jebusites, the Hittites and the Canaanites who were the troublemakers for God's people.
But with us it is the "fear-ites," the "disease-ites," "poverty-ites," "bad marriage-ites," "stress-ites," "grouchy neighbor-ites," "insecurity-ites," "rejection-ites" and on and on.
How many "-ites" are chasing you around? However many there are, let's look at what King Jehoshaphat did to turn His attention on God instead of focusing on all those "-ites" that were trying to rise and rule.
told Jehoshaphat, A great multitude has come against you from beyond the [Dead]
Sea, from Edom; and behold they are in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.
When Jehoshaphat was told that the "-ites" were coming against him, the first thing he did was fear. But then he did something else: He set himself to seek the Lord. Determined to hear from Him, he even proclaimed a fast throughout the land for that very purpose. He knew he needed to hear from God. He needed a battle plan, and only God could give him one that was sure to succeed.
We should develop the habit of running to God when we have trouble instead of to people. We should seek God rather than our own minds or other people's minds. Ask yourself, "When trouble comes, do I run to the phone or the throne?" God might direct us to a person for advice, but we should always go to Him first to show that we honor and trust Him.
Phase 1 of God's battle plan is to combat fear by hearing from God. Romans 10:17 teaches us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (NKJV). This verse is not referring to the written Word of God, but the spoken Word of God. It is called rhema in the original language of the New Testament, which is Greek. In other words when we hear from God, faith fills our hearts and drives the fear away. Jehoshaphat knew he had to hear from God, and we have the same need.
God may speak by giving us peace deep inside of us; He may give a creative idea; He may calm our troubled emotions; He may give us assurance. God speaks in various ways, but if we seek Him we will find Him. He will lead us and guide us if we acknowledge Him in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:5,6.)
Everyone you know may be telling you to trust God, and you want to, but "how to" has evaded you. The fears are screaming at you, threatening you. Your friends are saying, "Everything will be all right," but somehow it doesn't penetrate the fear until God speaks deep in your heart and says, "You can trust Me; I will take care of this; everything is going to be all right."
In 1989 I went to the doctor for a regular checkup. He discovered a small lump in my breast and wanted me to go immediately for a biopsy. I went thinking it would be nothing, but the outcome was that I had a very fast growing type of cancer, and surgery was highly recommended immediately.
I can remember walking down the hall in my house, and fear hitting me so strongly that I felt like I was going to fall down. My knees would actually feel as if they were going to buckle under me. Every night when I went to bed, I had a hard time going to sleep. Even when I did sleep, it was not a good, solid, restful sleep; it was a fitful sleep. Every so often I would wake up, and there the fears would be pounding at my mind.
"Cancer" is a word that comes with great fear. No matter how many of my family members or friends told me God would take care of it, I was still battling fear until one of those nights about three o'clock in the morning when God spoke deep inside of my heart and said, "Joyce, you can trust Me." After that, I did not experience the sickening fear again. I was apprehensive as I waited for the results from my lymph nodes test to see if I would need further treatment, but I still knew that I was in God's hands and whatever happened, He would take care of me.
As it turned out, I did not need any further treatment. We actually realized that through early detection, God had saved my life. I ended up thankful instead of fearful, and Satan lost another battle.
When Jehoshaphat heard that a huge army was amassing to attack Judah, he knew what to do. He needed to set himself to seek not the advice of people his friends, family or advisors but to hear from God.
Jehoshaphat had probably been involved in other battles previously why couldn't he just use some of the same methods he used before? No matter how many times something has worked in the past, it may not work to solve the current crisis unless God anoints it afresh. He may anoint an old method, but He may also give us fresh direction we have never had before. We must look to God not to methods. He does use methods, but they have no power unless He is working through them. We cannot focus on methods anymore than we can on fears. Our focus, our source of supply must be God and Him alone. Our answer is not in methods but in relationship with God.
those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses and trust in chariots
because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they
look not to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek and consult the Lord!
I have never discovered exactly what "woe" is, but I know I don't want any of it. Woe is obviously a sorrowful thing; it is trouble and misery. When we seek God we have peace and joy, so why would we choose woe resulting from seeking the world?
Jehoshaphat knew that unless he heard from God, he was not going to make it. That need was what The Amplified Bible calls his "vital need." There are some things we can do without, but others are vital. Jehoshaphat knew having God's direction was vital.
You may be in a similar situation to Jehoshaphat's. You too may need a word from God. You may feel that, like a drowning man or woman, you are going under for the third time. You may desperately need a personal word from the Lord if you are to survive.
God wants to speak to you even more than you want to hear from Him. Seek Him by giving Him your time, and you will not be disappointed.
Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast in all Judah, and Judah gathered to seek the Lord for help, yearning for Him with all their desire.
gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah
they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire].
And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court.
And said, 0 Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.
Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast to show his sincerity to God. Missing a few meals and taking that time to seek God is not a bad idea. Turning the television off and spending the time you would normally spend watching it with God is not a bad idea either. Stay home a few evenings and spend extra time with the Lord instead of going out with your friends and repeating your problem over and over to them. These things and others show that we know hearing from God is vital. I have learned the word seek means to pursue, crave, and go after with all your might. In other words we act like a starving man in search of food to keep us alive.
I would also like to add that we need to seek God all the time not just when we are in trouble. Once God spoke to me that the reason so many people had problems all the time was because that was the only time they would seek Him. He showed me that if He removed the problems, He would not get any time with the people. He said, "Seek Me as if you were desperate all the time and then you won't find yourself desperate as often in reality" I think this is good advice, and I highly recommend that we all follow it.
Instead of immediately presenting the problem to the Lord, Jehoshaphat began to talk to the Lord about how mighty the Lord is. He turned his focus on the Lord instead of on his fear of the problem.
said, 0 Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not
rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so
that none is able to withstand You.
Instead of talking to God only about our problems, we need to talk to Him about Him. We need to talk to Him about Who He is, about the power of His Name and the power of the blood of His Son Jesus, about the great things we know that He can perform and has already performed. After we have praised and worshiped Him in this way, then we can begin to mention the problem. I would not like it if my children only came to talk to me when they had problems I want them to fellowship with me.
I can think of a few people right now who only call me when they have problems, and it hurts me. I feel that they don't really care about me, but only what they want me to do for them. I am sure you have experienced this and feel the same way. These people may call themselves friends, but in reality they are not. Friends are for times of trouble, but that is not all they are for. As a friend, we need to show appreciation and spend time encouraging those we are in relationship with. We must avoid being the type of people who are what I call "takers." Those who always take but never give.
I want to be the friend of God. He called Abraham His friend, and I want that also. The Lord is not just my problem solver. He is my everything, and I appreciate Him more than I know how to say.
You, 0 our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people
Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend?
They dwelt in it and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your Name, saying,
If evil comes upon us, the sword of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You -for Your Name [and the symbol of Your presence] is in this house and cry to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.
And now behold, the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they turned from and did not destroy
Behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.
These are fighting words. If we will listen to what the Lord is saying to us through them, we will learn something that will change our battle plan forever and give us victory after victory.
After starting his prayer by acknowledging how great, awesome, powerful and wonderful the Lord is, Jehoshaphat then began relating specific mighty acts the Lord had performed in the past to protect His people and uphold the promises He had made them. And in finally presenting his request, He began by expressing His confidence that the Lord would handle the problem. Jehoshaphat said in so many words, "Oh, by the way, our enemies are coming against us to try to take away the possession that you gave us for our inheritance. I just thought I would mention this little problem. But You are so great; I know You already have it all under control."
When we do ask God for help we should realize He hears us the first time we ask Him for something. We don't need to spend our prayer time asking Him for the same thing over and over. We may keep talking to Him about our needs until we have assurance in our hearts that we have a breakthrough, but we don't have to do that to move God.
God has a plan for our deliverance before the problem ever appears. God is not surprised when the enemy attacks. He is not in heaven wringing His hands trying to figure out what to do. Our part is to focus on Him and His mighty power, worshiping Him and praising Him for the manifestation of His solution and listening for a word or direction from Him.
Excerpted from The Battle Belongs to the Lord , by Joyce Meyer . Copyright (c) 2002 by Joyce Meyer . Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.Back to top