By Maria Fontaine
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“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”1 His life-changing power is the same as ever, and it is available to all those who have put their faith in Him. If we avail ourselves of His promises, we can all experience His power to transform lives—both ours and the people whom we share the gospel with.
It is as we continue to become more immersed in Jesus and His Word, earnestly wanting His best and asking Him to work in our lives day by day, that we grow deeper in Him and truly become the new people He wants to make us.2 Our old mindsets pass away as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.3
The Lord doesn’t make one big change in us at the time of our salvation, and that’s all. He continues to work in our lives to transform and perfect us—if we do our part and allow Him to “perfect the good work He has begun in us” and “bring it to completion.”4 Our part includes asking for Him to work in our hearts and lives. His Word tells us that if we ask, we will receive,5 and that He “gives generously to all without reproach.”6
But we are also told to ask in faith. “Ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”7 If we’re wavering in our faith, then of course we’re not trusting the Lord. We have to place our focus on the Lord and His Word, and trust His promise to fulfill His purpose in our lives and perfect that which concerns us.8
The Lord says He’ll keep us in perfect peace if our mind is focused on Him and we set our affections on things above.9 The psalmist David said, “My heart is steadfast, O God.”10 If our mind is focused on Him, our heart is steadfast on Him, and our affections are set on things above, then we’re going to be firmly connected to Him in spite of the real obstacles, trials of our faith, and seemingly insurmountable challenges we may face.
It is possible to live above worry and fear and discouragement! Of course, you’re still going to be tempted to worry or fear, but as long as you’re fighting it in your spirit and mind, and asking the Lord for His perfect peace to fill your heart and mind, you’re bound to overcome it. Memorizing a few key scriptures and quoting them to yourself at those times increases your faith and helps to replace fear and worry with faith.
You have to choose to not allow fear, worry, discouragement or anxiety to take root in your heart and mind. You can’t help but have negative thoughts sometimes, and you can’t help but have feelings of depression sometimes. But you don’t have to allow them to have dominion over you.11
As Christians, we are not supposed to operate according to our feelings; we are supposed to operate by fact—faith in the facts according to God’s Word. We walk by faith and not by sight, or by feelings.12 So when you are besieged with negative feelings of any kind, you have to take a stand of faith and overpower them with God’s Word.
If we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with discouragement or worry or anxiety, we miss the offer of the Lord’s mercy, help, faith, and grace, as well as the Lord’s miraculous power that can not only free us from these negative feelings but also transform us in the process. This is why we are told to “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”13
When we are too focused on the circumstances and problems we are facing, then we can’t see the Lord’s presence anymore and how He is working in the situation, because we’re too busy looking at the mountains of obstacles! But the Lord says if we have our eyes on Him and have just a little faith, no larger than a mustard seed, we can say to the mountain, “Be removed!” and it will be cast into the sea.14
Fears, worries, and discouragement can seem like mountains looming larger than life, but for us as Christians, we have been given His promises in His Word and the power of His Spirit to overcome these.
We also have to remind ourselves constantly that no matter what we are facing, He knows best, that He does all things well, and that His priorities are often different and much more long-term and “big picture” than ours. Living the Christian life requires faith and trust, because we’re not in control—Jesus is.
Even when we claim His awesome promises—promises like, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He [will] give you,”15 and “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you”16—we still have to remember that we’re not the ones calling the shots. We’re not the ones with the bird’s-eye view of the past, present, future, and master plan for eternity. It is His will that must be done.
It’s so important to keep an attitude of trust in Him, as otherwise we can struggle with so many questions when things don’t turn out the way we were hoping or the way we prayed they would. There is so much in the Bible on this topic, as well as throughout the writings of men and women of faith from the past 2,000 years, and of course Jesus can also still speak to our hearts today. Every now and then it’s good to stop and reflect on the various reasons why Jesus works the way He does, why things don’t always turn out the way we’d like, why every prayer isn’t answered in the manner we had hoped, and why life is sometimes harder than we think it should be.
If you don’t strengthen your faith, life can seem pretty hard for no good reason. When that happens, you can start to feel that it’s your fault, that you must be doing something wrong, that Jesus must be displeased with you because He isn’t answering your prayers as you want Him to. But the more you study God’s Word, the more your faith will grow.17
Whenever things are rough, whenever you feel that they’re not turning out the way you’d hoped, when you feel your prayers aren’t being answered, when the trials of life are a little too much to bear, when your faith is under attack, when you’re feeling weary and aren’t sure if you can take much more, climb up onto the rock-solid foundation God has provided for your faith through His many promises and encouraging words, and rest in that safe haven.
Take comfort also in the fact that this battle isn’t uniquely yours. It’s one that every Christian of all time has had to reckon with, and the answer is the same today as it has ever been—trust in God and His wonderful ways. Encourage yourself in God’s Word and relax in the comfort of knowing that Jesus has everything in His hands. Rest in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you and support you, and trust that in God’s time the storm will pass.
Compiled from the writings of Maria Fontaine. Adapted and republished
February 2021. Read by Carol Andrews.
1 Hebrews 13:8.
2 2 Corinthians 5:17.
3 Romans 12:2.
4 Philippians 1:6 NASB, ESV.
5 Matthew 7:7.
6 James 1:5.
7 James 1:6.
8 Psalm 138:8 KJV.
9 Isaiah 26:3; Colossians 3:1–2.
10 Psalm 57:7.
11 Romans 6:14.
12 2 Corinthians 5:7.
13 James 1:2–4.
14 Mark 11:23.
15 John 15:16.
16 Matthew 17:20.
17 Romans 10:17.