We are continuing the discussion on what I call The Abundant Heart. Each of these studies are built upon the foundation laid in the preceding lessons. So if you missed any of the previous posts, go back and read those first.
Last time we looked at what can happen when we have negative “treasures” placed into our hearts. We talked about life and death are in the power of the tongue. We talked about how what is going on, on the inside determines what is happening on the outside. We discussed how these wounds and hurts can become the basis for our identity and the lens that we look through when we see ourselves and the rest of the world.
Today, I want to continue this discussion and take this a little deeper and then we’ll look at how to change this from a negative force into a positive one in our lives.
Let’s go back to Mark 11:20-23 for a moment. Jesus said:
And passing on early, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away. And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said.
When Jesus passed by that fig tree the first time, he could have just as easily have said “you shall produce more fruit than ever.” Had he done so, the tree would have been abounding in fruit instead of being dead. I think he chose the negative side of this to make an indelible point in the hearts of those around him. His point? Speak LIFE not death.
Because of what has been deposited in our (unguarded) hearts, we tend to be negative and sometimes, very negative. We speak to the mountain, but instead of casting it into the sea, we drop it on our own heads. We do this with the words that we speak. “I’m going bankrupt,” “I have a bump. I just know it’s cancer,” “My kid is always getting into trouble, he’ll never amount to anything,” “our country is going down the tubes,” “Why pray for our leaders? They’re evil,” etc. I could go on, but you get the picture.
So, again I ask you; What’s in YOUR heart?
I’m not going to go over these scriptures again, but I want you to look at these and meditate on them for a while. Let them soak in.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth the good. And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth the evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat the fruit of it.
James 3:1-12 My brothers, do not be many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we all offend. If anyone does not offend in word, the same is a full-grown man, able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, so that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships being so great, and driven by fierce winds, yet they are turned about with a very small rudder, where the impulse of him steering desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. Behold how little a fire kindles how large a forest! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So the tongue is set among our members, spotting all the body and inflaming the course of nature, and being inflamed by hell. For every kind of animals, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of sea-animals, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind. But no one can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. By this we bless God, even the Father. And by this we curse men, who have come into being according to the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth at the same hole the sweet and the bitter? Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries; or a vine, figs? So no fountain can yield both salt water and fresh.
Mat 12:33-27 Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings out good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings out evil things. But I say to you that every idle word, whatever men may speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
3Jn 1:2 Beloved, in regard to all things I pray that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.
Mar 11:20-23 And passing on early, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away. And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said.
Pro 23:7 for as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
Now let’s go back to Mark 11 and we’ll start at verse 24:
Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Here it is in another translation.
Mar 11:24 Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you. (Modern King James)
Isn’t it funny how believers in Christ will believe anything and everything except what Jesus actually says? And yet we will believe that God is against us. We will believe God is trying to punish us. God wants us sick. He killed our child so that child could be with him. I’m worthless. My wife doesn’t love me. My husband is cheating on me. My boss is trying to fire me. These are just a few examples of the trash that we will readily believe. No evidence at all, just blind faith that these things are happening. If that isn’t bad enough, we will fight to believe these things. Why is that? Why do we choose to believe these lies about God and ourselves? Think about that for a moment. What lies are you believing? We’ll come back to that in a bit. Here are a couple of fundamental truths:
Faith is always partnered with TRUTH and is motivated in love and is usually directed outward.
Fear is always partnered with LIES and is motivated in unforgiveness, hatred, resentment and all of the things that are outside of love of God. It is usually directed inward because it is based on self and is therefore self-centered. Fear is Faith’s negative counterpart (it’s EVIL twin). You might call Fear the Anti-Faith. They work the same way but are motivated and activated from different sources.
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love.
Look at the last part of that first sentence. …because fear has torment. The Greek word that is translated as “has” (or “hath” in KJV) implies the power to hold as a possession or is accompanied by. Fear has or is accompanied by what? Torment. Think of torment as fear’s sidekick. Yep, just like Batman and Robin or The Lone Ranger and Tonto, there is Fear and Torment. They are connected to each other. To get rid of the torment, you MUST get rid of the fear. Then torment leaves. Are you being tormented today? Are you constantly plagued with thoughts of doom? Are you always believing the worst? Then you are living in fear. You must get rid of it.
A Lesson From Job
The story of Job is worthy of several posts by itself. But for now, I want you to see something. Everything is going fine in Job’s life and then Bam! Everything changes. Suddenly his servants come and tell him that lightning burned up his sheep and servants. His oxen and asses were stolen by the Sabeans who also killed his servants while they were at it. Then the Chaldeans came and stole his camels and killed those servants as well. If that wasn’t bad enough, a huge wind came and flattened his eldest son’s house while ALL of his kids were there eating and drinking. They were all killed. Talk about a bad day. There was a reason for this though. Look at Job 3:25. We’ll be looking at a both the King James version and the Septuagint (Greek old testament) translations of these verses for added clarity.
Job 3:25 KJV For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
Job 3:25 Septuagint: For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen me.
That which he GREATLY feared and meditated on (worry anyone?) came upon him. He was consumed with fear. Fear’s sidekick (torment) was there too.
Job 3:24 Septuagint: For my groaning comes before my food, and I weep being beset with terror.
Job 3:24 KJV: For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
In the Hebrew the word for roarings comes from a root that means rumbling or moaning and the waters is waste water (bodily fluids). He was weeping and moaning in fear.
Job 3:26 KJV: I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
Job 3:26 Septuagint: I was not at peace, nor quiet, nor had I rest; yet wrath came upon me.
Remember 1 John 4:18? There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
He was unable to rest because of the great fear. He had no peace. He was in torment because of the fear. What was he afraid of? Go to Job 1:5
Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
- He said: It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. He doesn’t know this, he just thinks “it may be.”
- He was supposed to offer once a year. But because of fear, he did this continually.
- Notice also, how he gravitated to hyper religious activity to mask his fear. He appeared to be doing a “right” thing. I’m sure people who knew him superficially thought he was an amazing godly man. The truth is, it only appeared “right” to the religious people. In reality he was trying to numb his fear, not worship God.
Eventually Job learned his lessons and God restored him and made him the richest guy in the region.What I want you to see here is that Job feared, he meditated upon it, spoke it, he acted upon it and it eventually came upon him. Go back and read Mark 11:23,24, James 3:1-12 & Prov 18:21.
My friend, do not fear. Do not treat fear lightly. Do not laugh it off. If you are in some level of fear, then you have some level of torment. God wants you free.
1Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
The cares here are things that are concerning you such as anxieties and fears. We are to cast those fears upon him. Why? Because he cares for you. The question then becomes, Do you trust him?
Now turn to Philippians Chapter 4:6-8
Philippians 4:6-8 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 passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.
Notice the first two words in verse 6. DO NOT. My friend, this is not a suggestion. This is a firm command. Do not be anxious about ANYTHING!! The KJV is just as firm. “Be careful for nothing” or Do not be full of care about anything. Anxiety and being full of care is fear. He says NOT to go there. Why? because fear has torment. Instead of being in fear, he says “but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” What is the EVERYTHING he is referring to? Those are the things which are causing the anxiety, the worry and the fear. He says to give it to God through “prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving? Yes, the giving of thanks. Not for the fears, but for his care and his love, acknowledging and trusting him because you know that he cares for you.
What happens when you do this? Look at verse 7. “And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Look at that. PEACE. If you choose fear, then you live in torment. If you turn it over to him and TRUST him, then you have peace. Now bad habits are sometimes hard to break. So he gave us an answer for that in verse 8. He says, “Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.”
My friend, don’t think on the lies. Think on whatever things are true. honest, right, pure lovely and of a good report; if there is virtue and praise, think on THESE things. What things are true?
The word of God is true (Psalms 119:160). God is honest (Numbers 23:19). God’s word is pure (Psalms 12:6, Psalms 19:8, Psalms 119:140, Psalms 30:5). God’s word is ALL of those things mentioned in verse 8. So, think on the word of God instead of worrying.
Study what I have given you and ask yourself “where is fear controlling me?” Are you running from God towards torment because you trust more in the fear? Or, are you running from the torment and towards God in faith, believing that he deeply cares for you and will give you peace? Where are you placing YOUR trust? How is your relationship with him? You see, we think the problem is with this person or that person or some “thing” that is making us afraid of harm or being hurt in some way. But the truth is that our problem isn’t an outward problem, it’s an inward one. It’s a matter of what’s going on in our own heart and our relationship with him. If we’re in fear, then we are really pushing him away and saying no, you can’t protect me here. I don’t trust you with that. Then the question becomes: Why? Once you recognize this is happening in you, then you just need to stop and ask: Why am I reacting with such fear?
Two final scriptures for you:
Psalms 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
Why is he NOT afraid? Because he TRUSTS in the LORD.
John_14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
You see it’s a choice. Jesus said Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.. It’s up to you. You have to power to either let you heart be troubled or not, and to be afraid or not, and to trust him or not. If you choose rightly, then he promises you peace.
I have a few final thoughts on this that I’ll give you next time and then we’ll move on to the next topic as we continue discussing the Abundant Heart. Until then, please read I Samuel, chapter 17. Yep, you read that right. You’ve got homework.