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Apr 28

Applying Faith to the Economic Fear - by Steve Marr, CEN's Director of Business

Posted by: CEN

Tagged in: Untagged 

Tune in to any financial news broadcast, browse any newspaper, note the houses for sale on your own block, and scan your investments and retirement fund and you'll find that bad news abounds. Fear can begin to grip us, causing us to either freeze up, do nothing or make erratic, emotional and ultimately poor choices.

Avoiding Unhealthy Fear

The economic earthquake rocking America and the world is bringing great change to the financial landscape.  Our choice as Christians is to turn to the Lord for wisdom and guidance rather than become slaves to fear.

According to Chad Moler there are 365 “fear not” references in the Bible, one for every day of the year. The Lord knew in turbulent times we would need constant reminders to place our trust in Him. Paul wrote, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

A key principle to remember when we experience fear is to differentiate between healthy fear and unhealthy fear. For example, I live in the State of Arizona in close proximity to mountain lions. In the unlikely event a mountain lion would stalk me, experiencing normal appropriate fear would allow me to take immediate action and get out of the way. Experiencing inappropriate fear would convince me to never go for a walk because I might get attacked by a mountain lion. Healthy appropriate fear prompts us to correct action, while unhealthy fear can paralyze us.

Steps for Creating a Faith Attitude

We need to turn to the Lord for wisdom, not the Wall Street “experts.” King Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV). Trust is a choice. Since we choose to trust our spouse and choose to trust certain news sources, we can therefore choose to trust the Lord.

We must remember Scripture’s admonition, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When we struggle with apprehension, our stomach churns and our heart flutters. Instead of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed, we have the ability to cast all our care upon the Lord. Even if we struggle to release our fears, we can ask the Lord to remove them through prayer.

We need to ask for God’s peace and direction. James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5 NIV).   In prayer ask the Lord to give you wisdom, direction and peace even when others are confused and fearful. Ask the Lord for the specific steps he would have you take. A specific direction from God in your circumstance will be far more powerful than any so-called “expert” advice.

When the pressure builds, we need to take hold of God’s promise as Paul expressed so well, “My God will meet all your needs” (Philippians 4:19 NIV). However, we must remember that while the Lord is faithful to provide all our needs, he has not promised to meet every desire we have.

Drought Comes to the Just and the Unjust

The Lord sent a drought to Israel and the Prophet Elijah suffered the consequences of that drought along with the remnant of the faithful who had never bowed to the false god Baal. Although Scripture demonstrates how the Lord provided for Elijah, (see 1 Kings 17) keeping Elijah alive by his direct intervention, Elijah was allowed to suffer during the drought. Likewise, in a brutal financial environment, the pain will be shared by the just and the unjust. The Lord will see us through this time of financial hardship but we must be prepared to experience a certain level of personal difficulty.

Setting Appropriate Action

First, because in our fast paced world facts can be elusive, we must take the appropriate amount of time to determine what the facts really are. The Lord can give us divine clarity to see and evaluate the real facts in a confusing situation. With the financial world presenting us with more and more talking heads with differing perspectives based on conflicting facts, only God can help us sort out the fact from the fiction.

Second, once we receive clarity, we need to take appropriate action without delay. As King Solomon wrote,  Ã¢â‚¬Å“How long will you fools fight the facts?” (Proverbs 1:22 NLT). Whatever action the Lord impresses us to take; we need to act on that promptly.

The Lord has provided a pathway that moves us from fear to faith. As we make the choice to embrace the Lord and his wisdom, direction, and peace through faith, we become a shining light for the Lord. That light, even during the darkest economic times, is a light that can guide many to a relationship with Christ. Together may we all be Christ’s light in the current darkness.

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