“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the experience of your faith that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”
Anxiety is the consequence of perception. I’ve often told clients in counseling, “Your perception is your reality.” I never realized just how true that statement was.
There is a deep, spiritual truth here. I can’t put my finger on the exact time it happened, but about seven years ago something changed radically in my own spirit. I’d been serving the Lord for decades while carrying a battle within my soul. I had suffered from a fear of flying. I was ashamed of the fear.
Did I not trust God?
When I mustered enough courage to share them with some Christian friends or leaders, they would say something akin to, “Oh that’s normal. Everyone has fears like that about something. Let’s just bind that spirit of fear of flying now in Jesus’ Name.”
I’m sure I profited some from those prayers, but they didn’t cure anything. In some ways things got worse because of the shame I fought when they returned. I shouldn’t fear that. What’s wrong with me?
Then, years ago as I was reading the Word, and praying about some things, suddenly a light came on.
The written words on the pages became alive in a way I can’t explain. It wasn’t just a verse that popped out — it was the entire Bible. Suddenly, I knew that I didn’t have control of all these things. I knew in my spirit, not just in my mind, that God controlled every single detail of my life.
As The Bible says, faith is a substance.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. Have you ever seen a show such as “Law and Order”? The judge is always asking, “Where is the evidence?” Or, “I’m sorry, that is just circumstantial evidence.”
I was a Christian, but some of my walk was based upon circumstantial evidence up until that point, and the longer I seek to know Him, I still find it.
I looked up amygdala again and the first definition was “encoded memories based upon experiences, especially trauma or pain with ensuing behaviors.”
If I was never sick, all was well. If I didn’t suffer, the Lord must be pleased with me. But I’d had it backwards.
What if Paul had believed that way
He suffered more than most of us could ever imagine.
And remember our study on Joseph?
His tests could have caused him a life of perpetual anxiety. Instead, his reply was “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”
The peace of God that passes our understanding can and will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. His peace is sovereign, and our circumstances do not determine whether or not He loves us unconditionally.
Our concept of or attempts at righteousness — however veiled — are as filthy rags outside of the sacrifice of Christ and His blood.
Paul, after he had suffered unimaginable things, was able to say from his heart, “The things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ.” Philippians 1:12-13.
God reigns supreme over every detail in your life.
“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.” Proverbs 21:30.
Our fears are not always calmed by removing the problem, but by realizing His power and His constant presence during or through it.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. Foe he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; and will not be anxious in the year of drought.” Jeremiah 17:7-8.
There is no one who can control the circumstances they will face on any particular day. The issues or “what if’s” that tormented me might be totally different than yours. What caused anxiety in me might not ruffle a single feather on you. But the destructive qualities of anxiety remain the same.
So, what is the remedy for “clogged or restricted” spiritual amygdala?
Remember that the Lord is sovereign. Nothing escapes His sight. For God so loved you He gave His only begotten Son. He loved you first. Think about that. Ruminate on that.
When you were lost, dead in your sins, running from and avoiding God in every way possible. It was at that point He loved you. And He has never stopped loving you. That love is your path to peace. Your path to surpassing your amygdala; by forgetting those things from your past.
Stop playing reruns of all the painful experiences of your life. Stop allowing worry or anxiety to rob you. To choke you, to steal your joy.
Remember that God is not a man — He cannot lie. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have you ever studied what that word “forsake” really means? It is the Greek word “egkataleipo,” which translates: “to leave behind; to let remain in a bad sense; to leave in a lurch; to desert; to leave in dire circumstances; to abandon.”
As we learned last week, many people suffer anxiety because they feel they are not yet truly accepted in Christ — that they still have some “performance evaluations” coming due. That is a lie from the father of lies, the devil himself. He loves you with an everlasting love.
“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
There are some truly terrifying events happening in our world today. Our nation appears torn right down the center. God has provided us a treatment plan. Cast down all evil imaginations. Think upon those things that are pure, honest, good and of good report. You are never alone. The Lord is not a spectator in your life. He has gladly accepted all responsibility for your care as your Good Shepherd.
“May the God of hope and peace fill you with all joy and peace in believing, through the experience of your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”
“And I know the Lord will continue to rescue me from every trip, trap, snare, and pitfall of evil and will preserve me and carry me safely to His heavenly Kingdom. To Whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:18
Ruminate on that.