Here is the love, the faith, the power that will conquer every anxiety and fear you may have!
THIS is good news! There is a right and happy solution to human fears, to anxieties and mental depression! Yet, why do so many depend upon temporary or false solutions to their problems? The right way of dealing with problems and fears is not denying they exist. It is not drowning them in alcohol or drugs. It is not assuaging conscience or feelings of guilt with human — invented personal philosophies. Nor is the solution to fears, worries and problems, as some religious people emphasize, just "accepting Christ" without facing the causes of depression and anxieties. The cause of fear and depression is the breaking of God's spiritual laws. The solution is to teach humans how to obey God's spiritual laws, how to develop spiritual-mindedness, the attitudes and power of God, which is the love of God that conquers fear and worry. That love shows humans how to change, bear, escape and conquer problems, fears and worries in this life (I Cor. 10:13). Jesus Christ promised, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). He meant that truth — the truth taught in God's Word, the Bible would open up to human understanding the real cause of human problems. He meant truth would set you free from the consequences of wrong knowledge and ways of thinking. He meant truth would set you free from hopelessness and depression, free from sin. What, then, is the priceless truth — the good news that will set one free?
The True Gospel!
Jesus came with a message about government — God's government. It is a message about how that government and the laws upon which that government is based will be set up on earth. It is a message about how humans may qualify for rule in that government. It is a message about a way of life! The laws of God's government are the laws of true love — the way of giving instead of getting. They generate the love that conquers fear and depression, the love that would, if obeyed, eliminate every evil afflicting mankind today. God's love is revealed, in broad principles, in the Ten Commandments. Fear and mental depression are caused by breaking God's immutable spiritual — and, often, physical — laws! Fear and depression are caused by wrong values, desires and attitudes. They are caused by wrong ways of thinking and living — the "get" way. The only true solution is to quit breaking God's spiritual and physical laws and start living God's way in all our thoughts and actions. "There is no fear in [godly] love; but perfect love casteth out fear.... He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18). Many wonder why they don't have that love, even if they want it. Here is why: This love is a product of growing out of wrong ways of living and thinking. Not even someone called from sinful ways develops perfect love all at once. It takes time. But as we grow in God's love, fear and hopelessness diminish. But there is an even more critical reason why many don't have perfect love. The reason is that God's love is a spiritual love — ruled by spiritual law (Rom. 7:14). It can only be fully fulfilled by spiritual, not human, love. You weren't born with that love. It must be given to you and developed by supernatural power. There is something missing in the natural mind of man. Man was born incomplete. He was made to need a vital missing element. What is missing is the Spirit of God. It empowers the human mind to understand and obey God's spiritual laws. The natural mind of man — until worked with by the Spirit of God — does not understand that mental and emotional problems are spiritual in nature. The natural mind, by itself, does not understand it is breaking spiritual laws. The natural human mind is attuned only to physical causes and relationships, to things it can see or feel with the five senses. From this incomplete knowledge humans speculate about the causes of their or others' problems. Many blame their problems and fears on others, not on their own weaknesses or wrong habits of living or thinking, which, in turn, are caused by a wrong spirit or attitude of mind. The Bible reveals the source of that wrong spirit and attitude. Though some may not believe it, every human mind has been influenced by Satan's evil attitudes. Scripture reveals Satan as "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2-3). His influence permeates the earth. The results of his bombardment of evil moods upon the minds of human beings, moods that fuse into human nature, are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Notice these damaging actions and attitudes: fornication, adultery, idolatry, hatred, lust, sorcery, strife, wrath, envying, murders, drunkenness, uncontrolled living and thinking. From these attitudes and ways of living spring fear and depression. This state of the human mind, called in Scripture the carnal or natural mind, is antagonistic to God's laws and ways (Rom. 8:7). It refuses to yield to and obey God in all things. It reasons around what God says to do in areas it doesn't want to change. Even true Christians have to work to root out these attitudes from their minds. What, in contrast, are the fruits of God's Spirit? Scripture again clearly explains: love, joy, peace (including peace of mind), patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, humility (Gal. 5:22-23). Some totally unconverted persons have, through proper childrearing, developed some attitudes that are in harmony with some of God's laws, whether they recognize God's laws or not. They reap the automatic blessings in their lives as a result (see Romans 2:14).
Love That Conquers Fear
The Bible reveals how mankind ought daily to be living in every sphere of life. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," said Jesus (Matt. 4:4). Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 3. Jesus quoted Leviticus (chapter 19, verse 18, Revised Authorized Version) when he said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." You can't love someone unless you know how. God's written words, in Old Testament and New, teach right marital, child rearing and human relationships. God's Word also gives examples of wrong human relationships, examples of how not to live. Scriptures also teach basic health, financial and agricultural laws for human prosperity and success. Most important of all, the Scriptures reveal God's awesome purpose for human life — that of developing holy, righteous character. The gospel of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached (Mark 1:14) is the good news about how that character is developed. The way we achieve that purpose is by having God's Spirit or love in our minds. God's Spirit operates only in accordance with God's laws. It leads to a constructive, positive and upbuilding state of mind. A human with this mind respects, not degrades, his physical, mental and spiritual potential. He also respects the potential of all other human beings, whether or not they yet understand God's purposes and laws. God's love has a two-fold thrust. Love first means loving and trusting God. This is summarized in the first four commandments: It means having no other persons or things, as gods, in place of the true God. It means not serving false gods and ideologies. It means not defaming God's name in word or by the way we live. It means respecting the things that are holy to God. The second thrust of God's law of love is love toward other humans, your neighbors. This is summarized in the last six commandments. It is honoring parents, doing no murder (that includes hatred, which is the spirit of murder), no adultery, no stealing, no lying (or slander or false witness), no coveting things of others. Jesus explained this two-fold thrust of God's law of love in Matthew 22:37-40. True love, explained the apostle Paul, works no ill to one's neighbor. Of course not, because God's love "is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10). God's love is not the way of hate, competition, lust, envy, jealousy, covetousness, selfishness or getting to exalt the self over others or to put others down. These ways are Satan's ways and attitudes, subtly placed in human minds by a clever devil. They produce the bitter fruits of strife, animosity, fear, guilt, walls of separation and loss of hope. Obedience to God's laws of love produces the opposite results. Humans with this love have feelings of neither superiority nor inferiority toward others. We obey God's law of love and we no longer try to get the best of others and put them down. We no longer hate or fear those who set themselves up as our enemies or those that don't agree with our values or the way we live. We understand why they think and do what they do. They have been influenced, though they don't know it, by wrong attitudes or moods from Satan's workings upon their minds, or by wrong cultural values, or wrong experiences derived from this devil — led world. We recognize we couldn't see God's ways either except for God's mercy to us. And we realize if we had others' circumstances or experiences, our attitudes and problems could be similar or worse. Instead we have hope for all who sin in ignorance. We understand all humanity will eventually be corrected in God's own time and plan. Until then, we are instructed to do' good to all men, not evil. But true love commands us to go beyond this. We are to pray for those who hate or abuse us. We understand we can't argue anyone into conversion. That calling can only come from God (John 6:44). We pray that God will work with an antagonist's mind according to his will and wisdom because we can't always fully understand how to do that ourselves in the most effective or best way. We also pray we won't set up stumbling blocks about God's way by wrong actions, attitudes or words on our part. These instructions in living are taught in Matthew 5:43-48, Romans 12:17-21 and Galatians 6:10. When we understand God's love, we realize we also are imperfect. We, too, have wrong ideas, feelings, attitudes and habits to overcome. We don't exalt ourselves as great persons. We realize any true good or ability in us has come from God. But we know God's love is also powerful toward us. Though we fall short in many areas of life — yes, even succumb to fear and depression on occasion — we have God and his mighty spiritual resources — faith, hope and love — to help us overcome. Why don't more experience that mighty power and help? The answer is sin, the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4). Sin cuts us off from understanding God and utilizing his help. Sin against God and fellowman hinders our prayers from being heard, unless and until we repent (Isa. 59:1-2).
Most humans have been blinded to the incredible relationship totally yielded persons have with God. That awesome relationship is a loving father-son or father-daughter relationship. "Wherefore come out from among them [sinful ways]... and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:17-18; see also I John 3:1). God can be a person's literal, spiritual father. This begettal and sonship comes after God's calling, our true repentance and baptism. "No man can come to me, except the Father... draw him... ," said Jesus (John 6:44). These called and yielded persons are then in a covenant relationship, which is also a family relationship with God. They are potential members of the God family! God's part of the covenant is to be helper, provider, corrector and deliverer. That is what his name means — the Almighty, the All — Bountiful! The One who leads and guides! The One who delivers from evil! "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus," amplified the apostle Paul (Phil. 4:19). God supplies true needs, not wrong wants or desires — things we shouldn't have or should wait for. The converted human's part is to be obedient to all of God's ways, living by faith and strengthening that faith by asking God for physical and spiritual needs daily (Matt. 6:7-15). But we must have our priorities straight. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [food, clothing, shelter, etc.] shall be added unto you." "... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:33, 32). Millions don't receive answers to their prayers because they don't put their spiritual needs FIRST! They are only concerned with their own selfish physical wants and desires, not in preparing for God's kingdom or serving others. "Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all [natural human] understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," instructed the apostle Paul (Phil. 4:6-7, Revised Standard Version). Many fail to receive the help they need because they are not thankful for the blessings they have. Others fail to solve their problems and needs because of lack of a positive attitude and diligent effort. Jesus taught those who would yield to God, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7). When one applies the laws of success — among them drive, resourcefulness and perseverance he will succeed in what really counts. These laws are explained in our free booklet The Seven Laws of Success, written by Herbert W. Armstrong. God has immense spiritual resources to help you solve your problems and fears! God will work through his Spirit and his Word, the Bible, to encourage, correct and empower you to live rightly and solve your problems — if you repent of breaking his law and totally yield to him. "... this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word" (Isa. 66:2, RSV). God promises he will liberally give wisdom and "upbraid not" — but we must ask in faith, believing God's promise (Prov. 2:6; James 1:5). God knows no one can eliminate fear with unforgiven guilt hanging over one's head. God promises to forgive every sin, if we repent truly and turn from sin (I John 2:1-2). Once we have done this, we must go on, "... forgetting those things [sins and mistakes] which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things [spiritual goals and godly character] which are before" (Phil. 3:13). You may feel you made some big mistakes in life. What's wrong with admitting you're not perfect? No one else is either! You can repent. God will forgive you. Life is a learning matter. Learn by your mistakes. Don't let them destroy you. Right now maybe you or a loved one is sick with a serious illness. God can intervene and heal. But if God doesn't choose at this moment to intervene to restore full recovery, is this life all there is? No, thank God there is a resurrection of hope for all who have been 'called and faithful ("Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" — Ps. 116:15). But there is more good news. There is also hope for those who never had their minds opened to understand God's ways. You don't have to endlessly grieve over the death of a young person cut off early in life, or that of a loved one who never had God's calling to comprehend God's laws and ways. If you really understand God's great master plan, you know all will be resurrected and given an opportunity to repent, overcome themselves and enter God's kingdom. Our free reprint "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?" explains this great hope.
Tap God's Spiritual Power
"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help...." said King David (Ps. 146:5). God reveals his hand is not shortened that he cannot intervene in our lives to help us with our problems. It is our sins, our lack of faith and willingness to obey his ways — it is our wrong priorities that cut us off from God and his powerful help and intervention until we repent (Isa. 59:1-2). God wants those he calls now to start living by his spiritual laws of love, to solve their present problems and fears in life. The apostle Peter taught Christians to cast "all your care upon him [God]; for he careth for you" (I Pet. 5:7). The Bible reveals God is the God of peace, the One who leads and guides and heals his people. He is the God of wisdom and understanding, the God of mercy and forgiveness, the God who gives victory over death, who offers hope to those who have never known hope. "I [God] dwell... with him who is of a... humble spirit... to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa. 57:15, RSV). These are the spiritual resources and power that the god of this world — Satan (II Cor. 4:4) — has blinded most of humanity from understanding or believing. And why? So they won't grasp the great purpose of their lives. So they can't experience the power of God to change their lives according to God's will. So they won't have real hope and faith in this world of failing hopes and immense difficulties. We have our part to do. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." "A sound heart [or mind] is the life of the flesh...." "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls" (Prov. 4:23, 14:30, 25:28). We must build and strengthen right character. But the Bible gives us another warning: "... try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets [influenced by spirits from Satan] are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). How can you tell God's Spirit and teaching from a false spirit or teaching? God's Spirit leads one to obey God's laws. It leads one to live the kind of life Jesus Christ lived! We start to conquer fear and worry by turning from the thinking and living that causes our fears and worries. We then ask God for forgiveness and mercy for our sins and weaknesses, each asking him to "put a new and right spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10, RSV). We then exercise that spirit, develop that attitude — which is the right way we should be thinking and living — even in the face of difficulties or wrong attitudes of others. We build confidence and faith in God by drawing close to God in daily prayer and study of God's Word. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you... ," admonishes James 4:8 (RSV). We must act on what we know God wants us to do, having faith that God will work out what we need in our lives. This growth process is summed up in II Peter 1:5-7. And God inspired the apostle Paul to write to remind true Christians, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7).
Ahead for You — Growing Faith?
We are nearing the end of this age of human misrule. Satan knows the end of his 6,000 years of sway and deception is close at hand. Great difficulties and trials are prophesied to try all humans that dwell on the earth. God has chosen to allow this suffering to show rebellious mankind the horrendous end results of breaking his laws. But the good news is, God reveals a way for the world ultimately to escape these afflictions and fears. Before humanity would destroy itself from the earth, Jesus Christ will return to restore God's government on earth and usher in world peace. A shattered earth and broken humanity will need healing of body, mind and spirit. God will then fulfill the prophecy: "The Lord builds up Jerusalem .... He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds" (Ps. 147:2-3, RSV). Christ, then, as he does now, will offer to yielded humans the ultimate solution for fear and depression: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), and "... men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).