So we are still talking about overcoming fear and depression. Another key way to help us in this endeavor is by setting our expectations.
Revelation # 6 - SET YOUR EXPECTATION FOR BLESSING
One of the things the Lord taught me when I was suffering depression while going through a particularly fiery trial in my life was that I needed to take my eyes off of the "fire" and raise my expectations for the Lord's provision and deliverance. Part of my problem was that, because of skewed teachings growing up, I had a mixed-up view of blessings and curses. In my early church, we were taught that blessings and curses were kind of mixed together and came from God for one reason or another.
Yet Deuteronomy 28 lists those things that come under the categories of "Blessing" and "Curses."
Things like sickness, injury, devastation, lack, and poverty are part of the curse.
Things like healing, deliverance, provision and blessing are part of the blessing.
Yes, back in the Old Testament, God put certain conditions on the blessings and curses. If you wanted to be blessed and avoid the curses, then you followed God's Laws to the T. Yet God knew that, no matter how hard man might try, man could not perfectly keep all of the Law and maintain God's standards of living. That is why God sent His Son Jesus - the perfect mix of human and divine - so that Jesus COULD keep and fulfill the Law for our sakes.
As Christians, we are under a NEW COVENANT through Christ (see Hebrews 9:15), and Galatians 3:14 tells us, "To the end that through their receiving Christ Jesus, the BLESSING PROMISED to Abraham (Abraham was blessed in every way) might come upon the Gentiles, AND that we through FAITH might all receive the promise of the Holy Spirit."
Beloved, it's not God's will for you to be depressed, oppressed, living under your circumstances, living in fear, and giving up on life.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief (Satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."
Romans 15:13 shows us that God wants you to have peace and joy.
In 3 John 1:2, God tells us, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and that your body may keep well, even as your soul keeps well and prospers."
Proverbs 3:33 says, "The curse of the Lord is in and on the house of the wicked, BUT He declares BLESSED (joyful and favored with blessings) the home of the righteous." The righteous is US as believers in JesusĄ because Scripture also says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him WE MIGHT BECOME the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God."
For years, I thought the bad things that happened in life were from God because He was mad or for some other reason, and then I learned the truth from His Word:
God is a good God and a wonderful Father; and the devil is a bad devil, and particularly as Christians, we need to stop mixing them up. STOP IT! (I say this with love.)
Attacks come into our lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes things happen just because we live in a fallen world and people make bad or evil choices. Sometimes bad things come as persecution from Satan simply because we are God's children. Sometimes we inadvertently provide Satan an open door into our lives.
Understand - God does not attack us when we make mistakes or run off course but Satan is always looking for an inroad into our lives. Anyone who owns or lives on a farm knows the problems that wild rodents can cause. They are persistent critters too. A wild rat will chew a hole relentlessly to break into a feed bin. He persists until the hole becomes large enough to squeeze through. Once he breaks into where the food is, he's got open access until he is evicted. Satan tries to do the same thing. He tries to find a way into our lives.
Satan will attack the non-Christian as well because he knows that God still loves those who don't believe in Him, and Satan knows it hurts God's heart to see people's lives ruined or destroyed... he knows that God deeply loves each and every person. Yes, even that annoying neighbor who lets his children trample your garden, or the mean, manipulative boss at work who gives you a hard time. Even the people that are living what you would consider a morally bankrupt life. Yes, God loves them too. He may not love what they're doing but He always loves the person He created.
Regardless of any evil that comes against us, we must always remember a few things:
1. God is still stronger than anything that comes against us, and we are strong because He lives in us.
1 John 4:4 says, "Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have already defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world."
2. God has promised to deliver us.
Psalm 34:19 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
The Apostles experienced many trials and tribulations as described in the New Testament but the Scriptures do not say that God abandoned them.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, the Apostle Paul says, "We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And HE DID RESCUE US from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us."
No matter how bad or how far gone you think things are, God can still heal and restore you and anything else in your life. We need to know the Word of God because God tells us what to believe, how to look at things, how to fight, how to stand strong and how to recover.
Regardless of the bad things that happen in life or why, Jesus told us to be prepared: persecution and trials would come. However, He never meant that we should just lie down and allow Satan to steamroll over us!
In John 16:33, He says, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you."
So Jesus doesn't tell you to be happy because you are in trouble; He tells you to rejoice because He is your deliverer!
Psalm 34:17 says, "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles." Because God has made us righteous through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), we can expect His deliverance!
3. Jesus has given YOU authority over the devil.
In Luke 10:19, Jesus says, "Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and physical and mental strength and ability over all the power that the enemy possesses; and nothing shall in any way harm you."
Our effort in exercising the authority that Jesus has given us is implicit in this verse. He says He has GIVEN US authority and power (and physical and mental strength and ability) so that WE can trample upon the works of the enemy. So we must learn how to do this, and exercise it.
When illness or financial trouble or family problems come your way, don't just lie down and give up. Seek the Lord and see if you have made any mistakes that led to your problems. If so, ask for and receive His ready forgiveness, and then go on IN CHRIST to defeat the enemy! God is FOR you, not against you. Follow the examples and teachings of the Lord in exercising your authority; find the Scriptures that deal with your situation and speak the Word of God against the enemy (Matthew 4); speak to your mountains (of problems) and tell them to leave in the Name of Jesus (Mark 11:22-25); submit your life and situations to God and actively resist the devil (James 4:7-8).
(Note: I am developing a teaching on the believer's authority and how to exercise it for a future blog set.)
The Lord taught me to set my expectations. Read these Scriptures:
Psalm 112:7 "[The righteous] shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting (leaning on and being confident) in the Lord."
Psalm 84:12 "O Lord of hosts, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts in You, leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving!
Psalm 27:13 "What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living!"
You can and you should expect to see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living! That means while you're alive here and now! Yes! On this earth! If you're experiencing His goodness right now, praise God! If you're going through a trial, praise God anyway and set your expectations for His goodness - because He has promised to deliver you!
No matter what is taking place in your life right now - whether it is negative or the worst thing you've ever faced or been through - EXPECT God to deliver you and to bring good out of it as He has promised. There is nothing that Satan can throw at you that God cannot or is not willing to deliver you from.
Psalm 62:5 "My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him."
So get ready! Set your expectations high because you are a son or a daughter of the Most High! Your hope and expectation are from Him!
Until the next posting in this series, be blessed!
For Part 1 of this blog Overcoming Fear & Depression, look here:
This blog is part of an overall Walking by Faith series that began on April 12, 2013. The introductory blog link is below, and blogs in the series follow from there in numbered order:
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