Joyce Meyer - Faith Overcoming Fear - Part 1
Well, thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, I wanna talk to you today about how you can overcome fear. But you can only overcome fear with faith. It's like, faith is like, the antidote for fear. And every time fear comes knocking on your door, you need to send faith to answer. And, you know, today in the world, there are so many things that people can be afraid of. But this is a great opportunity for us to ramp up our faith and put our faith in God. You know, one of the things that you can do is every time you start to feel afraid is say out loud, "God, I put my trust in you".
You know, faith is a force that's on the inside of your spirit, but faith has to be released. And faith is released, I always like to say it this way. It's released through praying, through saying, or through doing. And so, today, we're gonna talk, in particular, about the shield of faith, that's talked about in Ephesians chapter six. That's a chapter about spiritual warfare and how you can defeat the enemy through putting on the armor that God gives you to wear. Thank God, he does not leave us defenseless. He always shows us a way that we can have victory because God's will for you is to have victory. He wants you to enjoy your life. He wants you to enjoy him. He wants you to enjoy everything that he gives you. But fear is a thief. It actually makes people miserable. Keeps them from making progress and keeps them from enjoying anything.
And I know there are surely, people watching today, that you have fear in some area of your life, right now. Perhaps you have financial problems, or you're fearful about your marriage, or your fearful about one of your children. There's so many things today that are going on that really are not good. And the Bible actually, tells us that in the last days, "Men's hearts will fail them for fear". So, we have to stand against fear. We can't just hope we don't have fear. We need to do something about it when it comes.
And so, Ephesians 6:13, in the Amplified Bible says, "Therefore put on God's complete armor". Now, "Put on" are action words. I always say, "I put my clothes on every day". I've never one time gone in my closet and just stood there and had my clothes just jump on my body. I have to pick them out. I have to put them on. If I put on something that doesn't look good, I take it off and I put on something else. And we need to realize that God has given us armor. But he says to put it on. "Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day of danger".
You know, Satan is our enemy. He's never going to leave us alone. Now, we have periods of time where he may leave us alone. But he always waits for an opportunity to come back and attack us again. During 40 days and 40 nights when Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the enemy, he defeated him. Every time Satan tempted him, he defeated him. But at the very end, it says Satan "Went away to wait for a more opportune time". So, even though you win a victory, that doesn't mean that the enemy's never going to come back and tempt you again. And I don't know if you've realized this or not, but I've realized that every storm is not in the forecast. I can get up and think I'm gonna have a great day and I've got a plan and everything's going to go a certain way, and then, bam all of a sudden something happens that I'm not expecting.
Well, you know, sometimes those unexpected problems are the ones that can cause us the most fear. That's why we need to pray on a regular basis. We need to spend time with God. We need to realize that we do have an enemy and that his purpose is to make us miserable. The Bible actually says that "Fear hath torment". And I know, I grew up rooted in fear. My father was abusive. He was mean. He was an alcoholic. And he just created a lot of fear in our family. And so, I know what it's like to be afraid. And it took me a lot of years, after growing up that way, to get over that. And I'm so glad that I've learned about faith. You have faith. Don't even say, "I wish I had more faith". You have faith.
If you're gonna pray anything about faith, pray that you will use your faith. Because the more you use your faith, the more it will grow and the stronger it will get. That's why sometimes God allows us to be in situations where we are forced to use our faith, because that is the only way that it will grow. "Put on God's complete armor that you may be able to resist", we have to resist the enemy. The Bible says in James 4:7: "Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee". If you don't resist him, he'll take over. "Resist and stand your ground on the evil day of danger". And then, in Ephesians 6:16, it says "Lift up over all the covering shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one". But the two words I want you to really pay attention to is "Lift up".
There again, it's like "Put on". It's an action word. He's saying, "I've given you a shield of faith that will cover you and will protect you in every situation that the enemy brings against you. But you have to lift it up or you have to release it". Other pieces of armor that we read about in Ephesians 6 is, it starts out by saying "Tighten the belt of truth". Well, truth is the Word of God. So, what does he mean, "Tighten the belt of truth"? That means whenever your faith is being tested, when fear is coming against you, you have to hang on to the Word of God even tighter than what you would at normal times. You may need to spend some extra time with God. You may need to spend some extra time in the word. You may need to spend some extra time in prayer. It says, "Put on the breastplate of righteousness".
And I love that because righteousness, which is a gift that we've been given by God, through the death and the resurrection of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He that knew no sin became sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". That means you have been made right with God. You do things wrong, but who you are is a child of God, that God sees us right with him. But it says we're to "Put on the breastplate of righteousness". The breastplate in battle covers your heart. Don't let the enemy get into your heart and lie to you. "Put on the shoes of peace". We're to walk in peace.
Do you know that the enemy doesn't know what to do with you, if he is attacking you and you remain in peace? And that's challenging to do, I know. But you can learn how to do it. I've learned how to do it. I'm learning how to do it. I'm always growing in that area. But the more experience you have with God, the easier it becomes to be peaceful in times of turmoil, when the enemy would love to make you afraid. And then, it says. Put on the helmet of salvation. Well, a helmet covers your head. And I believe that, that refers to our thinking. In a battle, we need to think the way God would think. Which is not fearful thoughts, but thoughts of faith. Many times, when the enemy's attacking me, I will say things like, "This is gonna end well". Or "I know that God loves me".
When you're in a time of battle and your circumstances are bad and it seems unjust, and unfair, and you don't understand what's going on, don't ever say, "Well, God, don't you love me"? God loves you. And he wants you to be rooted and grounded in his love for you. And he wants you to be so sure of his love for you that nothing can ever separate you from that love. Knowing that God loves you is powerful. So, when you're in a time of battle, think, "God loves me". Think, "I know this will work out good in the end". And think, "Whatever I need to go through this, God will give it to me". You know, when we're having a problem, one of two things will happen, if you pray. God will either deliver you from it or he'll give you the grace to go through it.
When I was being abused as a child, I prayed that God would deliver me from the situation. But he did not choose to deliver me from the situation. But he did take me through it, and I gained experience and knowledge about the faithfulness of God, that I'm able to use now, in teaching other people. "The helmet of salvation," our mind has to be renewed according to the Word of God. Probably one of the first and most important things you need to do after receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior is to learn about the power of your thoughts. "As a man thinks, so does he become". If you wanna have faith, you can't think fearful thoughts.
So, when those thoughts come, you can cast them down and replace them with thoughts of faith. "God is for me. He's not against me. God is on my side. I'm gonna win this victory. However long it takes, God is gonna give me the strength to deal with it and go through it". Then it talks about the sword that the spirit wields, which is the Word of God. You see, when you put the word in then when you need that word, the Holy Spirit will bring it out. Many, many times I'll be going through something, and I'll be praying and all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit will remind me of a certain scripture that brings comfort to me in the time that I'm going through. Like, "God is the God of all comfort," and he comforts us.
So, when we see other people and problems and difficulties, we can comfort them. Knowing the Word of God is so important. That's why the Bible says that we're to "Meditate on the word". The word meditate means to roll something over and over and over in your mind, or to even mutter it softly with your mouth. And I spend time every day, especially in the mornings, as part of my prayer time with God, just thinking about and even speaking out loud, different scriptures. And you'd be amazed, if you've been walking with God very long and you've been studying the word, you probably know a lot more than you think you know, and God will bring those scriptures to your remembrance. But the Bible says, "Let him who has my word, speak my word faithfully".
There's power in speaking the Word of God out loud. And then, it says, "Cover everything with prayer". I put a prayer cover over my children, most days, when I pray. I will just simply say, I'll call my children by name and say, "I cover them with prayer. I put a prayer cover over them, and I ask you to protect them, and I ask you to keep them healthy. And I ask you to bring 'em into a deeper relationship with you, and meet their needs, and keep them on the right track". "Pray at all times with all manner of prayer. And to that end, keep alert and watch with strong purpose". This is so powerful. I wish I had time to teach on every single one of these, but I'm gonna stick with the shield of faith. A lazy, procrastinating Christian cannot defeat the devil.
Let me say it again a lazy, procrastinating Christian cannot defeat the devil. You have to be ready. Full of the word. Knowing who you are in Christ. And realize that you are gonna have to do battle, at times. I love the part of the Bible where it talks about when David faced Goliath. And Goliath was much bigger than him, much stronger than him. And David went after him with a little slingshot. And when Goliath came to the battle line. I love that the Bible says that David "Ran quickly toward the battle line". He didn't run away. He ran toward the battle. And, you know, the word fear actually means to take flight or to run from. So, that's what fear causes us to do. It causes us to run from the things. We wanna hide from our problems. We don't wanna deal with them. We don't wanna have to deal with the thing at all. But that's why God has given us faith, so we can fight and defeat fear.
Now, faith does a lot of great things. Faith, for example, dispels fear and worry. Let me ask you a question. Do you have any kind of fear in your life today about anything in particular? If you do, maybe write it down, right now, on a little piece of paper, if you've got some notepaper with you. Are you worried about anything today? You know, worry is not gonna do one bit of good. What I say often, and maybe, you've heard me say this before, is fear is like rocking in a rocking chair. I could rock in a rocking chair all day long, and it would keep me busy, but it would not get me anywhere. And that's what worry does. It just keeps you busy going over and over and over the same thing. And you know, that I was talking about meditating on the word, well, when we're worrying, we're meditating on the lies of Satan. He's telling us all the bad things that can happen, and we keep going over and over it, and around and around it, in our minds. I'm gonna read you several scriptures.
Matthew 6:25-34: "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you're gonna eat or what you're gonna drink: or about your body, what you're gonna put on". Now, maybe, those are not the things you're worried about, but this is just a basic example. Don't worry about anything. Don't worry about retirement. Don't worry about what's gonna happen to your kids, every moment, of every day. Trust God that he will take care of them. You walk with God and do the right thing and trust him to cover you and take care of you. "Is not life greater in quality than food, and the body far above and more excellent than clothing"? And then, he gives an example. "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they are"?
You know, when you think about a bird, and I watch birds sometimes, as I sit in my chair and look out the window, and they'll come and light on the banister on my deck. And, you know, I've never seen one looking like they're gonna have a breakdown because they're worried about where their next meal is gonna come from. God will provide for them. And if he will provide for the birds, surely, he will provide for us, his children. "Which of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life"? By worrying, we cannot add one day to our life. We cannot add one hair to our head. We cannot add one inch to our height. Worry does absolutely nothing but make us miserable. Why should you be anxious? If we know how much God loves us, we don't have to be anxious and afraid.
One of the reasons why God's given us the great privilege of prayer is because when anxiety comes, we can pray. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace that passes understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus". That's a scripture that I love to meditate on. Be anxious for nothing, but instead, pray. The minute a worry comes to you, turn your worries into prayers. "Why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all of his magnificence was not arrayed like one of these". So, if God takes care of the grass and he takes care of the flowers and he takes care of the birds, surely, we can believe that God will also take care of us. "Therefore, do not worry and be anxious saying".
Now, you see, that becomes a large part of the problem. Whatever's in our heart comes out of our mouth. And words are containers for power. Actually, the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that "The power of life and death is in the tongue". So, when we already have a problem that's trying to steal our joy and steal our peace and take away the excellent life that God wants us to have, why should we help him by saying things that are full of death that are only gonna make us more and more miserable? Even when fear comes against you, don't open your mouth, and say, "I'm so afraid". Open your mouth and say, "I have faith that God is gonna take me through this situation and he's gonna deliver me from it". And you might say, "Well, Joyce, I don't feel like that". Well, you know what? Say it until you do feel it. Sometimes, we've gotta call things that be not as though they are.
If they're a promise in the Word of God, then we can claim those things as ours. "Do not be worried and anxious saying, 'what are we gonna eat? What are we gonna drink? What are we gonna wear'"? Or I might go a little further and say, "What are we gonna do? What are we going to do"? I think, sometimes, the enemy puts a little demon on our shoulder every morning that just yells in our ear all day long, "What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do"? Now, you know, if you have a problem, you don't always know what to do about your problem. That's why we put our trust in God. It says, "The (heAthens) crave and diligently seek after all of these things, but your Heavenly Father knows what you need". But now, listen to this. "But you seek his kingdom and his righteousness and all of these other things will be added unto you".
Wow, that's so good. If you don't need that, I'll just remind myself. I don't have to seek the answers to my problems. I seek God and he adds all the other things that I need. And he adds all the other things that you need. Spend all that time that you spend worrying, just talking to God about your situation, talking to him about what you want or need, talking to him about the fear that you feel, but stirring up your faith. Faith does so many wonderful things. God can heal you anywhere you hurt. He can heal your mind, your emotions, your physical body, your finances, your marriage, broken relationships. Here's some of the things that the Bible says faith does. Faith brings provision. It saves us from sin. It fills us with the Holy Spirit. It purifies the heart. It sanctifies us. It brings revelation. It justifies us. That means makes us just as if we never sinned. It gives us access to the grace of God. Produces right standing with God. Gives us security and boldness. It brings blessing and hope.
And every one of these things that I'm reading to you, are based on scripture, I just didn't look up all the references. I'm just trying to get the point across to you that faith is powerful. It's a force that does something. And when you have faith in God, God is gonna move in your life. We give God access to our life through faith. And we give Satan access to our life through fear. Let me say that again. We give God access to our life through faith. That's how God gets into our life to work. We have faith, "God, I put my faith in you". David said in the Psalms, very often, "I will trust in the Lord. This is a day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad". He was making a decision. He was saying ahead of time the decision that he was making. You can say, even on days when you're not having problems, "When worry comes against me, I will put my trust in God. When Satan shows up with a problem I wasn't expecting, I will not fear. I will put my trust in God".
1 John 5:4 says, "For everyone born of God overcomes the world". Now, listen to this. "And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith". That's your victory, faith. In 1 Timothy 6:13, Paul, writing to Timothy, said, "Fight the good fight of faith". I like that. Sometimes, you've gotta fight a little bit. That's why we can't be lazy and procrastinating. Fight the good fight of faith. Hang on to your faith. Don't let the enemy take your faith away from you. Satan comes with doubt, with unbelief, lies, reasoning, the temptation to be people-pleasers instead of God pleasers. He wants us to cave into the critical judgments of other people. But God wants us to put our trust in him and know that he will always take care of us. And you know what? Sometimes, we get weary, don't we? You might be going through a season of problems. Or you feel like a train, right now, with just one Carload, full of another Carload, after another Carload full of problems. You have problems with your finances. You get that solved. You have a problem with your kids. You get that solved.
And sometimes, we do go through seasons of problems, and it seems like it's just one thing after another. And you know, during those times, we can get very weary. But the Bible tells us that when we're weary, we should come to Jesus. "Come unto to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, overburdened, and I will give you rest". And then it says, "Learn of me".
You know what I believe that means? Look at the life of Jesus and see how he handled things. There were many things he could have been afraid of, but he wasn't. He always put his trust in his Heavenly Father. The promises of God only work for us when we believe them. And I'm reading a book, right now, where this man said, and I think it's true, he said, "The greatest sin that we commit is a sin of unbelief". You know, God is just asking that you will trust him. He's asking that you will believe in him. What is your situation today? Are you sick? Let's ask God for healing. Are you having financial problems? Let's ask God to provide. Thank you so much for being with us today. We love you and we really believe that God is gonna do something great in your life.