Without question, we are living in challenging times. Rumors of war have turned to war. The nations of the world are hotly divided. There are uprisings in North Korea, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and elsewhere around the globe.
Many are concerned about the fate of their loved ones in the Middle East. Many in the United States are concerned about their own safety and the safety of their children. We see messages displayed through the media that the entire nation is on a high security alert. Our children, some as young as four years old, are being taught in school how to survive a terrorist attack. Many harbor deeply-rooted emotions and opinions about whether it was appropriate to go to war in the first place. In many respects, the events of the last thirty days have touched us all.
Jesus forewarned us of these times, saying, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…." Matt. 24:6-7a.
In the midst of all that is going on around us, Jesus issues a command: See that you be not troubled. That word "see" means to pay attention to; to take heed; to discern clearly. It is a stern instruction. Jesus does not simply say "Don't be troubled." No, He lets us know that we have a role to play; we have a job to do. We are to see to it that we are not troubled.
What Does it Mean to be Troubled?
What does it mean to be troubled? "Trouble" is that which strikes one's spirit with fear and dread. "Trouble" is that which stirs up. "Trouble" is that which perplexes one's mind with negative suggestions. "Trouble" is what gives place to strife and contention. In essence, then, Jesus instructs us to pay attention, take heed, and make certain that nothing is permitted to penetrate our spirits with negative suggestions, contention, dread, or fear. Jesus gave us those instructions because doubt, strife, contention, dread, and fear are satan's calling cards. You see, satan can only operate in the life of a believer when the believer gives him permission to operate. The enemy must flee wherever he is resisted. That is why the Bible tells us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7. Where we identify with the devil, there is no resistance. If you are troubled, you are identifying with the devil, and you cannot effectively resist him. Trouble, in all its forms, is the devil's calling card, and your heavenly Father has instructed you to reject the devil's calling card.
Look at fear, for example. We know that fear is a spirit that torments, according to 1 John 4:18. We know that fear does not come from God. The Word declares, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. In Isaiah 8:12, the Word instructs us, "neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid." Did you see that? It is their fear, not yours. God has not given you the spirit of fear. We also know that where fear is, terror and oppression follow. How do we know this? Look at Isaiah 54:14-15: "In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near you. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against you shall fall for your sake." Did you catch that? Oppression and terror may gather together, but God is not orchestrating that gathering! The Word says, they may gather together, but it won't be God's doing. In fact, the Lord promises that when you refuse to fear, you will be far from oppression and terror. Terror cannot and will not come near you when you refuse to receive the spirit of fear. If terror and oppression even try to gather against you, you have the promise of God Almighty that they will fall. When you refuse to fear, satan has nothing in you to claim. You can be like Jesus, who said, "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." John 14:30. If the prince of this world system (the devil) has nothing of his in you, like fear, he cannot do anything to you or bring anything upon you. In fact, you can rise up in your authority, command him to leave, in the name of Jesus, and he must flee from you! Are you beginning to see why Jesus was so emphatic in telling you to see that you are not troubled?
How Can I Not be Troubled or Afraid?
You need to know that whenever God instructs you not to be troubled, and not to fear, He couples it with a divine covenant. He attaches a promise to it that has been sealed in blood. For example, in Isaiah 40:10 we read, "Fear not, for I AM with thee: be not dismayed, for I AM your God. I will strengthen thee. I will help thee. I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Genesis 26:24 promises, "Fear not, for I AM with you, and will bless you, nad will multiply your seed." Rather than focus on the fear and embrace it, focus on the One who is I AM, and embrace Him!
We hear these days about Global Positioning Systems, that help locate you when you are lost and give you direction. Well, it is time to activate your Spiritual Positioning System, so that you can locate yourself in the Word of God and receive direction by the Spirit of God! Rather than focus on fear, position yourself in I AM. Isaiah 43:1-3 promises: Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; neither will the flame kindle upon you." You have the ability and the permission to pray this over your loved ones. Pray this over the soldiers. Pray this over your family.
Overcoming the Battle in Your Mind
As you read this, you may be thinking, "That sounds good, but how can anyone actually put it into practice? That is a good point. It is important to recognize that the enemy will come to you with thoughts, suggestions, and imaginations, all designed to get you off your stance of faith in the Word of God. This activity can be relentless. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, we read, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."
The enemy will send thoughts and imaginations against you to cause you to abandon the Lord your God, the I AM, and receive fear, dread, doubt, oppression, and similar spirits from hell. Yet, the Word of God tells us to cast down those imaginations and thoughts.
Now the word "imaginations" comes from the Greek words from which we get our words logic and diatribe. Imaginations refer to systematic reasonings. The enemy will present a systematic, point-by-point explanation of why it does not make sense to believe God's Word. The word "imaginations" also refers to the constant, incessant contentions and debates that go on in your mind. These contentions and debates are designed to wear you down, and wear you out, to the point that you give up believing in the truth of the Word of God. It is a point - counterpoint battle where the devil, the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) is using logic and reason to challenge what the Lord has promised you.
The word "thought" in that passage of scripture means a "plot, plan, or scheme." The enemy of your soul will come to you with plots and plans that are contrary to the Word of God. You have heard of a book with a good plot, haven't you? Well, the enemy will paint pictures and plot out scenarios that will cause you to receive the spirit of fear.
Those imaginations and thoughts will have you thinking that you would never make it out of your downtown office in the event of a terror attack. Those imaginations and thoughts will have you thinking that every airplane is a bomb. Those imaginations and thoughts will have you thinking that you cannot be safe anywhere. Those imaginations will have you reconsidering and calling into question the promises of Psalm 91, "Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you." Psalm 91:3-7.
The devil will come to you with a ready supply of constant, incessant contentions and debates. He will send demonic thoughts to try to get you to reason to see why believing in the promises of the Word of God just doesn't make sense.
Now, the Bible clearly instructs you to cast every last one of those imaginations down. They are nothing more than satan's calling card. If you take the bait, you will get hooked, and you will invite "confusion and every evil work" (James 3:17) to operate in, around, and possibly even through you. Deny the enemy any such calling card! Well, just how do you do that?
You Must Say So!
It is time to be proactive! Decide now that the Word of the Living God is not up for debate! The Lord God Jehovah is the only true God. He is the One who makes covenants and keeps them. Read and meditate on the Word. You must be convinced of its truth. Settle it in your spirit, and then declare it! Psalm 107:2 says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord SAY SO, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy." You cast down those devilish, unbelieving thoughts by opening your mouth and saying what the Word of God says. If you have a child in the Middle East, you need to know that the Bible says the seed of the righteous is BLESSED (the generation of the upright shall be blessed - Psalm 112:2). Therefore your child is BLESSED with long life. Your child is BLESSED with protection. Your child is BLESSED with fortitude and mental toughness. Your child is BLESSED!
You must pray and speak Psalm 91 over that child. It is not surprising that Psalm 91:2 says, "I WILL SAY OF THE LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." The redeemed of the Lord SAY SO! Those who operate in faith SPEAK! Look at 2 Corinthians 4:13, "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak." You can speak to mountains (Mark 11:23), you can cast out demons in the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17), and you can cast down imaginations by using the name of Jesus and the Word of God!
This spiritual principle is firmly settled. You will have what you say, so it is time to speak and declare the promises of God over your life, your loved ones, your community, and your world. Job 22:28 says, "You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto you: and the light shall shine upon your ways." You see, when you decree a thing, whatever you decree will happen, either good or bad. If you decree fear, fear will show up. If you decree the Word of God, the Word of God will happen for you. So what will you decree? Proverbs 18:21 tells us, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." If you cast down those imaginations, those thoughts, and begin to declare the promises of God, you will reap the harvest of God's promises. Isaiah 3:10 says that the righteous "shall eat the fruit of their doings." So what are you doing?
If you have fallen prey to the snare of the enemy, if you have been losing the incessant debates going on in your mind, if you have allowed fear, contention, or any of satan's other calling cards to come against you, please understand that you can turn it all around! Start by repenting before God. Ask your heavenly Father to forgive you for believing the lies of the devil. Tell your heavenly Father that you believe His Word, His promises, and that from this moment forward, you reject and disconnect from the suggestions from hell. Receive your heavenly Father's forgiveness. Take advantage of the blood of Jesus. His blood cleanses you. His blood purges your conscience of dead works so that you can serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14).
Now get busy believing and saying things that are right! No matter how far you have gone in the wrong direction, living in fear, speaking fear, losing the battle in your mind, you can begin to turn it all around just with your tongue. Have you ever seen a huge cruise ship? Do you realize that a little helm turns the entire ship around? Have you ever seen an 18- wheeler truck? Do you realize that a small steering wheel turns that entire truck around, no matter how much it is carrying? The Bible says that your tongue works in the same manner. It is "a little member" of your body (James 3:5), but it can cause the entire direction of your life to turn around. You can speak the Word of God over your life, the lives of loved ones, and even the nations experiencing conflict.
You can construct a shield of faith in the realm of the Spirit through effective prayer and Bible confession. Use the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and create a force field around you, your loved ones, your neighborhood, your community, your state, your nation, your world. The shield of faith you construct in the realm of the Spirit can go as far as you extend your faith!
Child of God, you do not have to be troubled! You do not have to live in fear! You have nothing to dread. Your future is bright, for "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18.
I pray this message stirs you to reject fear, dread, contention, and all the calling cards of hell. I pray that you will become proactive, confessing the truth of the Word of God and effectually and fervently praying. Please pray for our soldiers. Pray for the United States of America and her leadership. Pray for the Iraqi people. Pray for minimal loss of life for civilians and for soldiers on both sides of this conflict. Pray also that God will use believers, even Christian soldiers, to pray for and present the message of salvation to Iraqis. Pray that great grace, abundant grace, and revival will fall upon Iraq so that they will turn their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ - Jesus died for them, too. And remember: see that you be not troubled!