Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, September sixteenth. If your confidence tends to crumble into uncertainty, stay tuned. Today's podcast brings practical instruction for consistently responding with bold faith to life's challenges. Well, there are only two paths to walk. That's the path of fear and the path of faith. And oftentimes people say they're walking in faith when they're really in fear. But you can't have both, you can't be in fear and faith at the same time. It's like you can't trust God and not trust Him at the same time.
And so, which road would you say that you're traveling? That in spite of everything going on, you're walking the pathway of faith because you've learned what it means. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to the forty-first chapter of Isaiah, to the probably the most powerful passage in the Scriptures when it comes to this whole issue of faith and trusting God. And while He, God is saying this to the nation of Israel, what He says is certainly true of us individually because it is the promise of God. So, if you'll begin with me in verse eight of this forty-first chapter of Isaiah. It says, "'But you Israel, My servant Jacob, whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham, My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, You are My servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you.'"
Now listen to what He says about His relationship to Israel, which is certainly true of us today. For He says, "'Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored, and those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
You will seek those who quarrel with you, but you'll not find them. Those who war with you will be as nothing and nonexistent, for I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.'" Now, what an awesome promise from God. And the issue here is this, number one, and that is this promise is only to God's people. It is not to people who've rejected Him. It's not to people who've rejected Jesus Christ.
These words are to God's people. Now, when you think about the pathway of fear, for example, and what the Lord makes very, very clear in His Word. For example, the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, he said, God has not given us a spirit of fear.
It didn't come from him. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. We think right. And so, when you look at how people think and respond to things, and so many people are filled with fear. This could happen because they see things happening in other places and they think, Well, this could happen to me, that could happen to me. God does not want us walking in fear.
And in this passage, which is an awesome word of assurance to us, He reminds us that He is God. And so, when you think about the fact that we are believers, we have a reason not to be afraid because He says, Do not be afraid, and Jesus said that many times, Fear not, fear not, fear not. But practically, let's just think about it from a practical point of view, what does fear do to a person? What happens to you when you find yourself becoming fearful about things? Well, one of the first things that happens is this, fear stifles our thinking and our actions. It stifles our thinking.
It's hard to think very clearly if you are fearful about the whole situation, whatever it might be. And secondly, it naturally is a result of that, it creates within us a feeling that makes us indecisive. And so, we become indecisive about important things. Instead of making a very wise decision, we are afraid to make any decision for fear that we'll make the wrong one.
And a person who procrastinates, they had rather suffer the feeling that comes as a procrastinator than to get something done. In other words, rather than fail, they just keep holding off and holding off and holding off in spite of the fact that it creates all kind of things within that person. Fear is very damaging, very powerful in a person's life.
Likewise, it's naturally going to hinder us from achieving what God wants us to achieve in life or becoming the person that God wants us to become. Because that's the overwhelming power of fear in a person's life. They lose opportunities. They walk by opportunities because they think, well, I couldn't do that. I could never be that.
I could never achieve that. And oftentimes when God gives them an opportunity, they just walk right by it because of their fear of failure. And naturally, that's going to affect a person's sense of self-confidence. And you think, for example, when you go in to apply for a job and you don't have any self-confidence and you walk in fearful that they're going to say no. Then a person who is a good interviewer is going to be able to detect in you that sense of insecurity, that hesitancy within you, that little bit of fear. And so, they're probably going to conclude, well, look, we don't need people like this working for us because they don't have a sense of self-confidence, they're fearful, they hold back. And more than likely, they're procrastinators.
And so, they say no. Not because you can't do the job, but because you leave that impression. That's what fear does. God does not want us living in fear because of its damaging effect upon us. And our whole emotional being is affected by it. Every aspect of our life, when you fear what people are going to say, then you're going to respond accordingly.
It's going to affect relationships, no question about it. And, of course, some people, they can become so fearful about things that they panic about them. And panic means that they lose their sense of being to the point they can't control what's going on. Fear absolutely and totally overwhelms them. Sometimes fear drives people to drugs and drink and all the other things that go on with that kind of a lifestyle. Fear is damaging. It is destructive. It is a hindrance. And, first of all, it doesn't fit who you and I are as believers in Christ.
We say we're followers of Jesus Christ. What did He say? Fear not, fear not, fear not. In fact, when you come to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus picked up on people's fear and He said, You don't need to be afraid. He said, Look, whatever you need, my Father already knows what you need before you even ask Him. Look at the lilies of the field.
Look at the birds of the air. And He gave all these illustrations of how God protects and provides for His children. And what was He saying? He says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And all these things are going to be added to you.
And when you read the New Testament or the Old Testament and you find out how God worked in both the Old Testament and the lives of His saints and the New Testament and the lives of His saints, what happens? God's doing awesome things because they are trusting Him, not because they're fearful. So, I'd ask you this question. What is it in your life at this time that you find yourself being afraid about? What is it you're fearful of? Is it a fear of loss?
Is it fear of rejection? Is it fear that you won't have enough? Is it fear of death? Is it fear of some form of poverty? That is, what is it that you're afraid of? Probably most people today are afraid of something, at least they fear something. It may be deep down inside, but it's there. And oftentimes you'll hear somebody say, I knew it was going to happen.
I knew it was going to happen before it happened. You talk yourself right into situations and circumstances that God doesn't want you in. Here's what He said, I've not given you this spirit of fear. If He has not given us this spirit of fear, where did it come from?
Didn't come from God, it came from the devil himself. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to go back to this forty-first chapter of Isaiah and let's look at this first passage we read. And think about this. Let's say you're facing some fear, you're facing some doubt, something going on in your life that you really can't control it and so you don't know what to do. I cannot tell you how important this is enough. I say it every Sunday just about. If you're going to live a godly life, this has got to be the center of your life. There are a thousand voices calling for you.
Lots and lots of things out there that would distract you and pull you away from God. This is our anchor. This is the reminder. This is how God thinks. We want to know what to do next, get in the Word of God, and God will show you what to do. Now, look at this passage. Here's what He says. He says, first of all, in that tenth verse, do not fear. Why? He says, I am with you.
We have the victory right there. Don't fear why. He says, because I'm with you. That is, I have a relationship with Almighty God that cancels out all my fears. That's what He says now. Do not anxiously look about you.
That right there is what gets us in trouble. Instead of focused on God, we look at all the circumstances. Suppose this, suppose that. Look at Him. Look at her. Look at all these things.
Do not anxiously look about you. I am your God. Listen, He says, first of all, I'm with you.
Settle it. Secondly, I am your God. And then He says, I will strengthen you. What kind of strength is that? That's far more than my energy. That's divine energy. That's divine strength.
That's a supernatural power of God enabling you and me to do things that we could never do apart from Him. I will strengthen you. Surely He says, I will help you.
I'm going to be your Helper. Do you remember in John fourteen, fifteen, sixteen when Jesus is talking to His disciples, He's getting ready to leave them, getting ready to get crucified? And here's what He says. He says, I'm going to send the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And in different translations, it's Comforter or Helper.
But both are the same. Think about this. God says, I'm going to send you a Helper. And who is that Helper? The Holy Spirit. You have the most awesome, powerful Helper living inside of you. And oftentimes when people face difficulty, they get on the phone and call their friends and they do this. They, God is the last one.
Listen, He's number one. You won't, listen, if you want help that's going to last, ask the one that you said you believed in who had control of all things. So yes, I believe the Word of God. When you need help, go to the one who has all power, all wisdom, all knowledge of your circumstance and knows exactly how to deal with every aspect of it and can bring you right through it.
And yet, you know what? Many people, they own a Bible, but they just don't read it. You don't open the Word of God, you're in trouble.
I'm here to tell you. I don't, it doesn't make any sense if you're a preacher, it doesn't make any sense who you are. You neglect the Word of God and you're headed for trouble. God gave us, He says, my word is what?
A lamp under your feet and a light to your path. This is why He gave it to us. God will use His Word to give you clear guidance. For example, I was dealing with a situation that was difficult and I was saying, Okay God, I need some real wisdom about this. I'm reading one morning, I come across this verse of Scripture, and the verse says, It is time for the Lord to act.
I thought, Wow! Time for the Lord to act. So I meditated upon that for a couple of weeks and saying, Okay God, I know that something's going on here.
Then I was reading one morning and the verse said, The zeal of the Lord will accomplish it. I thought, Well God, does that mean that you're going to deal with this? And I won't have to, and sure enough, in just a few days, God took care of the whole situation.
I didn't have to do a thing. And I thought I was going to have to deal with it, which would have been a little sticky. He gave me a promise. First of all, He knew something was going on and He was going to handle it.
And if He's going to handle it, I don't have to handle it. You say, Well, but you just looked through the Bible and found that. No, I didn't. Now, I know where it is now. But look, you can't, watch this now, you can't go back and get some verse that's one of your favorites and say, Okay, here I'm going to apply this.
Nothing happens. All I'm saying to you is this, God loves you enough, take His Word and use it in your life to give you direction. That's the best direction you can ever find. And therefore, if you're going to walk in faith, you've got to be feasting upon God's Word or you're going to get yourself in trouble. And no one is beyond getting in trouble.
So think about this. Also not the only feeding upon the Word, but forging ahead, no matter what other people say. Forging ahead in difficult times. And if you read Second Corinthians chapter eleven and the Apostle Paul is talking about his escapades and the things that happened. And I won't read them all, but just to give you a little idea, when he starts off by saying, five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes, three times beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times a shipwreck, a night and day in the sea. And then he says, I've been on frequent journeys in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren. I've been in labor and hardship through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, cold and exposure.
Though I above them you can see what the occurrences are. I was beat. He was beat. And he said, I'm in trouble. So, when he's getting in trouble for being caught from such external things, there's a daily pressure of me concerned for the church. Now, there's a guy who's been through trouble. What did he do? When he got his first beaten, did he say, Okay Jesus, I've had it, that's it.
Here I am, Iprising you. Look what you've allowed to happen to me. forget to those who called upon His purpose." Now, you say, well, what good could that be? Listen carefully.
All these things that He went through, two thousand years later, we're still talking about them. And when I read that, it encourages me. In fact, when you read God's Word and you're walking by faith, here's what happens. There's a sense of boldness and fearlessness and courage and determination that comes into your life because what? Because you're doing what God said do. And you're not listening to all the people out there who is saying no, all the people who are saying it's impossible, all the people who would derail you from God's will and purpose and plan for your life if you listen to them. And so, there are people out there, for example, when they see you getting ahead, you know what?
They get jealous. You say, well, you know, I don't, I wouldn't do that. Well, if I were you, you don't listen to what other people tell you unless you're listening to godly counsel. What I want you to see is when you're walking by faith, you're going to forge your head, you're going to keep going no matter what the negative voices are that are out there trying to pull you down and pull you away from what God wants you to do.
So, think about it. You're going to walk by faith. You've got to keep your focus on Him. You've got to stay in the Word of God. In other words, when you depart, you're on your own, so to speak, when it comes to your thinking.
Think about how many people would lead you in another direction if you would allow them. We have to be obedient to God, walking in righteousness before Him, and when we do, there are not going to be any fears because we know who is in control of our life and who says He will never leave us nor forsake us. And all those questions we ask, we had the right answers. Now, let me mention one last thing, and that's simply this. And that is faith, listen, faithfully obeying God. Faithfully obeying God and doing so with courage, with confidence. And as you heard me say every week, obey God, leave all the consequences to Him. When we are committed to being obedient to Him, we don't have to be afraid of anything. Because whatever may appear to be a loss, He's going to turn it for a gain. The pathway of faith does not tolerate fear but a moment.
You don't have to be afraid. If you will go back to Psalm, listen, hundred and third verse nineteen, God has established He's thrown into heavens and His sovereignty rules over all. He rules over every aspect of your life. As you obey Him, He will bless you. As you disobey Him, you suffer the consequences.
Has God changed? No, that's just His law. That's His rule. That's the way He operates. Why does He allow me to suffer consequences? Get me back on track. Get me back in the center of His will so He can bless me and use me.
That's the reason He does it. So, what are you afraid of? Let's put it this way. What are you afraid of that God can't handle? Then you should stand up, be strong and courageous and bold and tell God, I'm available for whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want it, I am your obedient servant and watch what He does in your life. Amen? Father, how grateful we are when You said, I will never leave You nor forsake You.
What comes with You is everything we'll ever need and most of all, that awesome love of Yours that wraps around us and we'll do so for all eternity. I pray the Holy Spirit has and will speak to people as they listen and as they hear and as they watch. People who are going through all kinds of heartache, Father, that You understand, disappointment, full of fear and doubt, suffering and pain, would You just encourage their hearts and help them to understand You love them and You're there, You're sufficient for all their needs. And we pray this in Jesus' name, Amen. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of The Pathway of Faith. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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