Greg Laurie, a pastor, author and evangelist, took time to answer some questions about finding security in an unsure world:
Q/ Jesus often would say, “Do not be afraid…” But what can we do to combat different types of fear?
A/ There is a lot to be afraid of in this crazy world we are living in today: Terrorism, an unstable economy, and all those personal things we deal with, like our marriages, children, etc.
When we are afraid, we begin to worry, and that only makes things worse. The old English root from which we get our word “worry” means “to choke or strangle.”
Worry does just that. It chokes out your faith and replaces it with anxiety. It pulls you apart and completely immobilizes you. Worry is the advance interest you pay on troubles that seldom come.
So, what should we do instead of being filled with worry and fear? We should pray. Paul was in prison when he wrote, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
We need to get into the habit of turning to God when we feel worry approaching and intentionally place the matter in God’s hand. As someone wisely said, “When your Knees start knocking, KNEEL on them.”
Q/ National security, crime in cities, murders in universities, and violence worldwide are subjects that dominate the daily news. How can we rely on God for both our physical and spiritual security?
A/ Dial 911. That, of course, is the emergency phone number we all call in times of crisis. But it’s also a good place to go in Scripture too.
Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (NKJV).
So this psalm is reminding us to put our trust in God and say under his shadow. Have you ever tried to walk in someone’s shadow? You have to stay very close to them.
Well, God wants us to be as close to Him in prayer, study of Scripture, and fellowship with His people as we possibly can.
This psalm has what we might call “conditional promises.” In other words, if we keep the conditions, we activate the promise. So the condition is to dwell “in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
The promises from this psalm are as follows: “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you”(Psalm 91:5-7 NLT).
That is not to say the Christian will never die. Everyone will die, but the promise is that you will not die before your time. The Christian is indestructible until God is done with them.
Remember that God is in control of all circumstances surrounding the life of the Christian. It’s helpful to know that the word “oops” is not in God’s vocabulary.
Q/ How are you convinced of the security and surety of God’s promises? Have you ever experienced doubt?
A/ Sure, I have. Every believer will have moments of doubt. Even the great apostle Peter, who walked on the water, began to have second thoughts about this venture of faith and was sinking beneath the crashing waves when Jesus saved Him. Instantly, the Lord reached out His hand and grabbed him, saying “Why did you doubt me?”
It’s a good question. Why do we doubt God?
In Peter’s case, it seems it was because he took his eyes off of Jesus. It’s easy to be critical of the old fisherman,but the fact is that none of the other apostles dared walk on water to meet Jesus. Peter not only tried, but he succeeded for a few steps, and then, perhaps seeing the impossibility of the situation or looking back to see if others were watching, he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.
We need to always look to the Lord, and remember His great power to save. If we have a “big God,” we will have small problems. But if we have “big problems,” perhaps our God is too small. By that I mean that we are failing to see God in all of His power and glory.
Corrie Ten Boom used to say “Look within and be depressed. Look without and be distressed. Look to Jesus and be at rest.”
The best way to combat doubt is to fill your life with faith. Faith is the opposite of doubt.
And how do you you build your faith? The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).
Greg Laurie’s new book “Lost Boy” is the story of how God can intervene in a person’s life, no matter the circumstances, and bring lasting change. To learn more, watch this video or read Greg’s blog at blog.greglaurie.com.