“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:19-21).
As you observe the tumult of the world today, you may be experiencing fear. Pay attention to the mainstream media and you run the risk of catching the contagious disease of unmitigated fear. Give in to that fear and you ignore one of the most frequent commands in God’s word: fear not.
There are two types of fear mentioned in the Bible. First is the fear of God, meaning true reverence to the Almighty, and the other is fear of everyone and everything else. A concise summary of God’s commands is: Fear God; otherwise, do not be afraid.
Where’s your treasure?
As he walked and talked with our ancestors in faith, Jesus knew there would be periods of trial that would take many forms. He knew full well that people would be mesmerized and trembling as worldly symbols of strength began toppling, just as they have in recent months.
That’s why his encouragement nearly two thousand years ago was not to trust the world’s treasure chests but rather those of heaven. Should we be surprised that moths have eaten and thieves have taken what we’ve put there? Not if we’re paying attention to the only real news, the Good News.
As Jesus continued teaching on worries about what people would eat, drink and wear, he set the tone for the best antidote to worry and fear: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Mt 6:33).
Pushing the reset button
You can do something immediately to stem the tide of fear inside yourself and simultaneously be a stalwart of courage in a steady stream of fear all around you. Try these:
- Commit to a news fast. Maybe you listen to the television or radio news first thing in the morning while you prepare for the day. It’s mostly bad news and harmful to your mental and emotional health any time of day, but especially as you’re getting started. Decide that you’ll stop these inputs for a day or a week and feel the real difference it makes on your attitude and outlook. As with other detoxifying processes, you may sense a change instantly. Give it a day or two to sink in and note that the world hasn’t crumbled completely while you were paying attention to something more constructive.
- Replace it with some Good News. Because nature abhors a vacuum, the hole left by turning off mainstream media will strain to be filled. Do so with a helping of God’s word in the Gospels or a serving of wisdom in the Proverbs chapter of the day. This can take all of five minutes, likely much less time than you’d spend with the bad news.
- Visit with the Lord. Do you think that God might have something to say to you concerning your current situation? He most likely does and you get the message by listening. It’s your choice. You can listen closely for God as part of your daily routine, or you can wait until he gets your attention through some calamity. Don’t settle for crisis communications. Instead, find a quiet space and carve out some unhurried time. You don’t want to rush God or box him into a convenient part of the day. Sit quietly and focus on what God wants to tell you.
Only you control what enters your mind and your day. Decide today that you will make intentional decisions to put more of God’s word into your life and experience the difference that the Good News can make.
Carroll is an author, consultant and entrepreneur based in Mount Pleasant. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.