Remembering My Creator
Volume 1, Number 2
Theme: Influences of the World
In This Issue:
- The Influence of Fear in Our Faith by Shannon Harden
- Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See by Jordan Shouse
- Let Us … Yield Not to Temptation by Ian Harmon
The Influence of Fear in Our Faith
By Shannon Harden
“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey
Adults say young people are easily influenced – music, movies, television, clothing, and our peers. I do not doubt this is true, but I wanted to think about something else we’re influenced by – which usually comes from within ourselves. Would you consider yourself someone who is easily scared away of doing things you want or should do? I don’t like discussing obvious ideas, so I started thinking about how fear influences our lives.
A few years ago at a bible study, we were going around saying what we admired in the other people in the room. Several people told me they admired my lack of fear and my ability to do many things. At the time I inwardly thought, “Wow, I must really have them fooled.” But as I’ve become more aware of people and the world around me, they may actually be right. The fact is – I do get scared – a lot actually. But I choose not to let that stop me and in some cases, it drives me to push through that fear. The way I look at it, fear is the absence of faith. When talking with my mom about this article she reminded me of the acronym for FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real (Neal Donald Walsch). So I think she agrees with me.
Fear comes in many different forms – we may be fearful of love, death, living up to our potential, different cultures, unfamiliar situations, rejection, doing God’s will, and what others might think of us. Everyone is afraid of something, so fill in the blank for whatever scares you, and be honest with yourself. Acceptance and honesty is the first step in combating a fear, sin, or failure. I have seen so many people overcome with their fear that instead of doing what they should they either make excuses or just give up. Is that the way God wants us to live our lives? After you accept and understand, you must then become proactive.
So how do you get past your fear? Yes, there are some people who live fearlessly through life and end up doing foolish or dangerous things. That’s not what I’m talking about. Of course I’ve done a few foolish things in my life, but I’m also VERY thoughtful about my decisions. Here’s how I remain “fearless” (remember it’s not that I’m fearless, just that I trust in God more than men). I live with two philosophies to get me through life. Maybe it can help you get through your fear.
First, I have completely adopted 1 Corinthians 13. I believe Love is a verb. I don’t believe love is defined the way the world defines it. It involves the actions of patience, kindness, humility, perseverance, and forgiveness. Godly love never fails, the world’s view of love does. This is VERY important in understanding love. I can love to the best of my ability, but I’m not perfect and neither are people. They will disappoint you, hurt you, take advantage of you, etc. But, I believe in choosing to love others even despite all that. Remember love is selfless and without understanding and accepting that people are imperfect, you won’t truly be able to do this effectively. With “my enemies” or people who choose not to treat me in a loving way, I have to CONSISTENTLY remind myself of my role of being a humble, forgiving, and selfless person. Choosing to love, as God describes it, is GREAT practice for getting rid of fear. If you can love without fear of rejection, what other people think of you, pain, and strife you will be able to diminish fear of other things in your life! But I caution you – your faith can not be in men, they will fail you every time. You must love in spite of men (or women) and their inability to sometimes love you back.
Second, I trust in God. No matter the pain or strife that comes my way, I fully believe that the people and situations that come into my life are there for a reason. Maybe I’m supposed to help that person grow or maybe they are meant to help me grow. Remember we’ve been told that we may have trials which will be a testing of our faith (1 Pet 1:6-7). Not only that, we’re told to rejoice in our sufferings for what it produces – endurance, character, and hope.
We must change our attitude from that of fear, to one who is truly filled with hope. Through Christ we can achieve great things (Philippians 4:13). God has made us to do great things, and we can’t allow our fears to diminish our potential and possibilities.
Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See
By Jordan Shouse
A great influencer from the world comes through our eyes. You wouldn’t think much harm could come from eyes, but truthfully they can lead to a great amount of spiritual damage. Jesus spoke about eyes in the famous Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus illuminates the importance of our eyes. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Jesus shows us the importance of a clear eye. An eye which produces light is clear of sinfulness, error, and wrong. It is an eye which looks upon wholesome, pure, and honorable things. It doesn’t spend its time in front of junk. However, let your eyes gaze upon those things which are sinful, wicked, and filthy in nature, and you’ll find yourself filled with darkness. Do you know why that is? Let me ask you this, what is one of the greatest influences for your thoughts? It is what you see. What my eyes take in influences what my mind dwells upon. When you finish watching a movie or a show or a concert, what does your mind think about for the next few hours? In one way, our eyes are the windows to our mind.
Satan knows this. The world knows this. Why is it there are countless TV shows and movies filled with sinfulness and darkness? Why are there so many billboards along the side of the road with models half dressed? What you see affects your soul. Gazing upon sinful things produces sinful thoughts. John exhorts us to avoid the “lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16). We are told to set our mind on things above (Col. 3:2), to renew our mind (Eph. 4:23; Rom. 12:2). Pure thoughts, holy thoughts, righteous and godly thoughts all come from setting our eyes on godly things. If my goal is to think godly thoughts, I shouldn’t sit in front of shows which are saturated in sin and lustful temptation. Instead of spending hours looking at that which only brings darkness, what if I spent my time dwelling upon the word (Col. 3:16). The Hebrew writer encouraged us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2). You will be tempted and pressured to go to sinful shows or places where people are improperly dressed. For the sake of purity, for the sake of holiness, for the sake of obedience to your God, you must learn to say no. Jesus said that if our eye causes us to stumble, to tear it out (Matt. 5:29). I’m Heaven bound, my goal is God, and NOTHING must cause me to fail. Let’s learn to keep pure and holy in our minds by guarding our eyes. “We are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chron. 20:12)
Let Us…Yield Not to Temptation
By Ian Harmon
There’s an old hymn in our hymnal, written by Horatio R. Palmer in 1868, entitled “Yield Not to Temptation.” This hymn was written in response to why an individual must not yield to temptation, how we must conduct our lives, and what we have to look forward to if we overcome sin. In this article, I would like to touch briefly on these three topics.
First, we must not yield to temptation because yielding to it is sin. In Matthew 4:1, we read that after Jesus was baptized, he “was led up by the Spirit…to be tempted by the devil.” We are given three separate accounts in which the devil tempted Jesus after already being in the desert for forty days and nights, and having not eaten anything. Jesus combated all three temptations with a weapon that we all have at our disposal: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). James tells us that we are tempted when we are “drawn away by [our] own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). LET US yield not to temptation for the fear of death that it may bring.
Second, we must not associate ourselves with evil companions, nor do anything which may impede our chances of making it to heaven. If we allow ourselves to be in the company of those who may be stumbling blocks to us, and cause us to sin, then we are doing nothing but harm against our souls. The apostle Paul warned the Corinthian brethren of this in I Corinthians 15:33-34. He tells them to “not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” He wanted them to come to their senses and realize that in keeping with bad company, they were bringing shame upon themselves. In keeping with this, we must also guard our speech, and make sure that nothing unwholesome leaves our mouths. James tells us that we must “bridle” our tongues because it “is a fire” that can easily burn out of control (James 1:26; 3:6). He tells us that we must make sure that we are not praising God with the same mouth that we curse men. LET US not associate with evil companions nor do or say anything that may impede our chances of making it to heaven.
And finally, we must look forward to what will happen to us if we overcome sin. Through our faith in God, we know that if we overcome temptation, God will give us a crown. James tells us that “blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (1:12). God will always to faithful to his promise of eternal life to those who not only love the Lord but also to those who obey his commandments. LET US always look forward to our crown that awaits us, strive to shun evil companions, do and say what is right, and yield not to temptation.