Day 21 – Cardio Training

Scripture Reading

Matthew 6:33-34 (MSG)
33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

So far in our discussion of Getting Dressed in the armor of God, we have talked about Standing up to Evil and Standing Alongside the Broken.

Today we are going to be talking about peace and faith and how these pieces of the armor allow us to have courage, be encouraged and stand against fear.

Ephesians 6:15-16 (NIV)
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Last week we discussed how truth and righteousness intersect at Integrity. Today we will be talking about peace and faith, and I would suggest that the place where they intersect is point number 1 in your bulletin…

1. Courage

What is courage? Here are a couple of definitions that I found.

Courage permits us to face extreme dangers and difficulties.

Courage allows us to act in accordance with our beliefs despite criticism.

To me, courage is a place of peace and faith that allows us to Stand Against Fear. Courage is to be a people of encouragement in a discouraged, fearful world that is fixated on bad news and more bad news. To be encouraged means to be in courage. To encourage someone is about helping them find that place of peace and faith in their own lives.

Does Standing against fear mean that we are never afraid? I don’t think so.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This verse speaks to me about our response to fear. Fear is initially a warning sign. Something isn’t right. Fear triggers the familiar “fight or flight” response, characterized by increased heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension, which allows us to escape from danger or defend ourselves against a predator. In this sense, the ability to respond to fear is a God given mechanism that helps us survive. A spirit of fear, which our verse in 2 Timothy tells us does not come from God, is different.

A spirit of fear is a scheme of the evil one that causes us to react in selfish and inappropriate ways. It causes us to become discouraged and it is against this spirit of fear that we must stand. The power, love and sound mind that come from God means that we can process fear with a sound mind, make sure that we are being motivated by love and not by the spirit of fear, and then know God’s power so we can respond courageously (encouraged). Being encouraged then is to be at a place of peace and faith and let’s take a closer look at that.

2) Peace

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Worry is the anti-peace. As long as we are worrying about the what if’s of life we will never be able to rest in the peace of God. So what are we supposed to do? The bottom line statement to know peace is this:

Instead of worrying, pray.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

3) Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12 starts out with a therefore, which means we have to relate what is following to what we have just read. In this case it is referring to Hebrews 11 which is known as the faith chapter. With faith in mind, we are to throw off entangling sin, keep our eyes on Jesus, and not grow weary and lose heart. Just like the statement we have for peace, “Instead of worrying pray”, for faith we have the following:

Always keep God in the equation

Luke 1:37 (NIV)
37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

When it comes to standing against fear, we need to be people of courage (encouraged), who to walk in God’s peace holding on to the shield of faith. To simplify this process, just remember to do our two statements:
Instead of worrying pray, and always keep God in the equation.

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