If you're watching the news at all, anxiety and fear can take hold of you very quickly. $700,000,000,00.00 is a huge number! But anxiety comes not just because of the chaos in the financial markets and world events, but from chaos that goes on in your individual life. Very easily, discouragement can set in and your confidence can begin to deteriorate without you even realizing it.
I watched the storm surge of Hurricane Ike pound the Texas coastline recently. I wondered how much of the beachfront would be washed out to sea. For many it's not nearly as obvious to notice it was they started to become cynical, bitter or fearful in their attitudes. Very slowly over time, they didn't realize that their confidence, their foundation of faith was eroding.
Let me give you some symptoms of faith-erosion?
- Whenever you face all of your problems and you trust only YOUR plans to get you out …
- Whenever you face crises and dilemmas and your confidence is in your family, friends, your co-workers, or the government, more than in God …
- Whenever you face an obstacle in your life and you reach for your wallet or your credit card thinking that every issue in life can be resolved through economic resources...
...these are all signs your faith is need of major renovation.
In the Bible it says, "But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." Jude 1:20 (NLT)
The scripture makes it clear, that faith is built when we assume the personal responsibility for the process of building it. No one builds by accident. There is always a plan, a financial commitment, a and a foundation to be built.
When it comes to faith, you’re not new construction. You are a renovation project! You already have all kinds of hidden structures and systems in place to deal with anxiety, crisis, conflict, trouble and difficulty.
You may believe in God. You may go to church. You might have a fish on the car. You may call yourself, "a person of faith.” But when the storm comes, when the conflict starts, when the pressure builds up, when fear hits your heart, you will default to the foundation structures that support you. What do you run to? How do you spell relief?
And in the moment of pressure and crisis, the foundation of your life is exposed and you see what you’ve really built your life upon. It has to be replaced.
Don't let your confidence be built on the shifting emotions your moods, the words of others, the predictions of the talking heads, the amount of money in the bank, or the spending limit on your credit cards.
You need to renovate your faith! How does one do this?
1) First, the scripture says, "by praying in the Holy Spirit." Don't let that sound too mystical or strange. It's simply believing the Spirit of God is right there with you when you pray.
Faith begins by believing that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. So it begins with the belief that He's in the room. He's listening. He hears every word you are saying.
Don’t get so caught up in this physical world that you fail to recognize that there is a Higher Power, a Higher Authority, a Higher Influence who has power over everyone and everything. This world is not out of control. God is not wringing his hands about the economy or your personal situation today.
It's just beyond your control! When you’re tempted to wonder why a problem has come upon you, don’t think it so strange. Trouble happens in life; to the good and the bad, the just and the unjust, arbitrarily.
Recognize that there is a God who is in charge of everything and has all power in his hands. You can communicate with this God, as though he was right there in the room with you.
I couldn’t live without praying in the deep hope that the Spirit of God is listening to me when I pray; that The MOST INCREDIBLE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE is within my reach, within the sound of my voice. I can reach out in faith and touch something that is GREATER THAN ME; that things are not as they seem ... I can pray and God can change everything!
2) I’ve learned that I have to be active in cultivating my faith. And one of the ways I do that is to make it easy to remember all that God has done for me. Everyone should keep a journal and write down all the things that God has done. Keep a record of the blessings he's provided, prayers He's answered, and encouragement you've received.
When I re-read the blessings of God, I feel very grateful. I start thanking God for it all, thinking about how much I’m loved, thinking about the good things God has done, how he’s never too early or late but he’s always right on time …
Many times after just about 5 or 10 minutes, that will totally change my attitude. I've just built a little more faith into my life. After all, I realize that He didn't bring me this far to fail me now.
You'll always have something to thank God for when you keep this kind of record.
What are you doing today to build your faith in God?
P.S. By the way, not everyone is wringing their hands about the economy right now either ... prolific blogger and author Seth Godin just wrote a great reality check piece on his blog today called, "Looking for a reason to hide." He says, "If I wasn't already running my own business, today is the day I'd start one."