There are two great motivating principles in life. One is the principle of love. The other is the principle of fear. When you strip all the shrouds off, and get rid of all the facades, one or the other of these two principles lies at the heart of each and every decision or action of people. They either do what they do motivated by love or motivated by fear. Because of the nature of the world in which we live, they are many times motivated by fear – fear of disease, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of death.

The whole machinery of our world is a machinery of fear. From the moment we are born, we are introduced to fear. People spend their entire lives living in fear. The psychology of the world in which we live is a psychology of fear. Almost every aspect of society utilizes fear as a motivator. Politicians utilize it – vote for this candidate or these problems will increase. The medical field utilizes it – see your doctor after this age, or this disease will come upon you. Businesses utilize it – buy our product (and you’d better do it in a timely fashion) or you’ll miss out on the deal. Religion utilizes it – you better conform to our theology or you will be out of favor with God.

Fear motivates! Fear is always enslaving, and binds and captivates people. There is a record in the gospel of John where the parents of a man who had been born blind were interrogated by the religious leaders of their society regarding the healing of their son. These religious leaders were unhappy with their son being healed on the Sabbath Day by Jesus Christ. When questioned, the parents of the man were afraid to give a straight answer. They were afraid of the repercussions of admitting that Jesus Christ had healed him, one of which being that they would be ostracized. Fear kept them from being the kind of parents you would expect them to be in the situation.

John 9:22
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

The truth of the matter is that many of the decisions that people make in life, in business, in war, in relationships, are motivated by fear. Sometimes fear is normative and healthy. In war, for example, fear is understandable and controlled – kill or be killed. Motivated by the fear of losing or dieing in battle, strategies are developed to defeat the enemy. In battle, fear can keep us alive when we are able to control it. General Patton once said, “All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.”

Common sense can be rooted in normal, healthy fear. As much as I have always wanted to rock climb, I wouldn’t go solo. Why? Because I am not experienced enough to rock climb without qualified assistance, and I’d rather not end up on the six o’clock news. So my decisional motivation is what? Common sense, but fear nonetheless. I also don’t bungee, sky dive, or stunt fly (though all of these sound exciting) because I am not instructed in these activities. If I had proper instruction I might attempt them. I change the oil in my car every 3,000 miles. Why? Because I am afraid that if I don’t the engine won’t last very long (and oh the concern if I go past 3,000 miles). Call it what you want, ‘manufacturers recommendation,’ common sense, whatever, but the bottom line is that it is still fear.

I am qualified and trained in herpetology and have no fear, and actually enjoy studying snakes. I find snakes fascinating and am not afraid of them because I am not ignorant concerning snakes. Some of you might run screaming in fear if you came home and found a 7’ snake coiled up in your garage. My reaction might be, “awesome!” I grew up in south Florida, close to the Everglades. I spent my youth around snakes. I am familiar with, and knowledgeable of, snakes. (I know some of you are getting the creepy crawlies and breaking out in a cold sweat right now just reading this). I am not fool-hearty about handling a snake that is venomous if I had to. I would take the necessary precautions out of common sense (a healthy fear, but fear nonetheless).

Folly, which gets people killed, is fear that is scoffed at. Panic is fear that is out of control. Courage is the control of human emotion and fear. Some fears are normal and protective. Others are unfounded and unhealthy. As a child, after watching the Wizard of Oz, I was terrified of flying monkeys. I did not know that there was no such thing as flying monkeys. As I got older, I learned that there is no such thing as flying monkeys……r-i-g-h-t?

Fear is enslaving. It keeps people in bondage. It holds them back from literally acting on the promises of God’s Word (which action brings the results that Word of God promises).

Hebrews 2:14, 15
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (The fear of death is the mother of all fears! If you fail big enough, you could die. If you are rejected enough, you might find yourself destitute and die. If you get sick enough, you’ll die. It is always the fear of death).

I Thessalonians 2:13
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (To ‘believe’ is a verb, and a verb connotes action. Believing is literal action on the Word of God, which always produces guaranteed results!)

People are ignorant regarding speaking in tongues, or have received wrong teaching regarding speaking in tongues (i.e. witnessing the misuse of the manifestation by certain denominations) and therefore are afraid to speak in tongues, which is the only way whereby a Christian believer can truly worship God.

Acts 17:24, 25
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (God does not dwell in buildings, no matter how magnificent the architecture, and he his not worshipped by anything man produces or does, no matter how sincere).

John 4:24
“God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (The true worship of God is only accomplished via the spirit. A person may respect and reverence God, but they can only worship Him via the spirit).

People are afraid to share the knowledge of God’s Word that they have, for fear of rejection. People are afraid to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, invoking their legal Power of Attorney, for fear that their prayers won’t be answered. People are afraid to tithe (tenth) and abundantly share for fear of being poorer for doing so, which is exactly opposite of what the Word of God promises.

Luke 6:38
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Malachi 3:6
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Fears that prevent men and women from acting literally on God’s Word are always due to wrong teaching or ignorance. We live in a world that is entirely antagonistic toward the promises of God’s Word because the devil is the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4). Literally acting on the Word of God many times flies in the face of human logic and goes against ‘conventional wisdom.’ Many times it will be totally opposite of what the media says, what a doctor might say, what a financial planner might say. Acting literally on God’s Word is deemed ‘foolishness’ by sense knowledge, ‘natural’ man.

I Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man (a man of just body and soul, without spirit, who is governed by the five senses and human intelligence, or the carnally minded Christian) receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Fear, built into our lives since birth by the machinery of the world (which the devil is the god of) and the evidence of the five senses, is a powerful motivator. Whenever and wherever we have fear, we do not have confidence toward God, and we are defeated. Right teaching and instruction from God’s Word gives us the tools, the keys to rid ourselves of fear. The other great motivator in life – the principle of love – gives us the catalyst, the courage, to implement the Word in our lives and overcome fear, which we will cover in the next article.

For questions, information regarding fellowship, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group contact us at fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

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JUNK FOOD

January 1, 2010

Nowadays, it seems more and more of us are becoming concerned about the quality and value of the food we consume. We study the labels on our lunch meat and cereal boxes; how much sugar? How much sodium? How much fat? We are making a concerted effort to improve our eating habits and thereby improve our physical health.

The truth of the matter is that what we feed on mentally is just as important, and may I be so bold as to say, even more important than what we eat physically.

Matthew 4:4
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

If all we did to feed our physical body was to eat junk food, our physical condition would deteriorate rapidly. Our strength and vigor would diminish. Our immune system would grow weak, rendering us helpless to fight off disease. Eventually, what we eat would kill us. The truth of the matter is that the same principles, which govern nutrition physically, also apply mentally. What we feed upon mentally can have as beneficial an effect, or as detrimental an effect, as what we feed upon physically. If we feed on the abundant negative ‘junk food’ mentally (and spiritually) which surrounds us (i.e.-CNN, the newspaper, the unbelieving neighbors, negative and unlearned or unbelieving family and friends, the medical community) we will manifest the crippling results of the food we are eating.

On the other hand, if we feed and act upon the positive truths of the Word of God we will manifest the power of God in our life. It has been said, and rightfully so, that “you are what you eat.” In the mental and spiritual category, it can be said, “what you look at you become.”

II Corinthians 3:18
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

When it comes to physical food, not only must we use wholesome ingredients, but also we must prepare those ingredients properly. We must be careful how we store and how we cook foods to avoid spoilage and contamination, thereby harming our physical bodies. The same care must be taken when it comes to our mental food.

II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

All of the Word of God is truth, but only to the extent that it is rightly divided will we garner the truth from it. Spiritual weakness or inability is due to either improper diet or neglect of the Word of God. Improper diet is due to the wrong dividing of the Word. Neglect of the Word is due to its not being enjoyed when it is read. It is not enjoyed because it is not understood. With the right dividing of God’s Word, you get the understanding.

The truth of the matter is that we need to be as concerned, even more concerned, about what we are consuming mentally and spiritually as we are about what we are eating physically.

Job 23:12
“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

BON APPETIT!

For questions, information regarding fellowship, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group, contact us at fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

The individual who sold you the “cherry” automobile that turned out to be a “lemon,” the television commercial that persuaded you to buy the spot remover that also removed the fibers of your carpet, the real estate agent who sold you that ‘waterfront’ property in Mexico but forgot to mention that the water was underground, and the local preacher who convinced you that you are nothing more than a sinner in the hands of an angry, punishing God, that you could be born of God one minute but if you ‘backslide’ you might lose your salvation, that God might make you sick and afflict you to prove your love for Him, all have one thing in common – they were all sincere! They were also deceptively wrong and grossly in error.

Sincerity is no guarantee for truth. Sincerity is wonderful, and necessary at times, but never a guarantee for truth or authenticity. The Bible, the scriptures, The Word of God, when logically and honestly handled, is truth.

The truth of the matter is that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).” “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).” “He is pure (I John 3:3).” “He is righteous (I John 3:7).” “He is love (I John 4:16).” The truth of the matter is “the goodness (Greek: krestos = kindness) of God” leads a man or woman to repentance (Romans 2:4), not the fear of the punishments and torments of hell. God’s goodness, His kindness is what motivates and convinces a man or woman to change. The Word of God declares that if you “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).” It does not say confess your sins. It says to confess the savior from sin. It also does not say publicly, to your minister, at an altar, or any other place. You can do this driving to work in your car, or at home alone washing the dishes. The word “saved” means to be made whole. The Word of God calls it “being born-again…of incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23).”

The first time an individual is born, when they are born physically, they are born of corruptible seed. They have a corrupt nature (Ephesians 2:3) because all humans are descendants of Adam (Acts 17:26) and, as such, all humans are condemned before God (John 3:18), not because of what they do or do not do but rather because of blood guiltiness (Psalms 51:14). The seed that an individual is born of when he complies with Romans 10:9 is God’s incorruptible seed. It is the gift of holy spirit. The reason the word “saved” is used, meaning to be made whole, is that prior to getting born again of God’s spirit, that person is not whole, they are incomplete, there is a piece missing that mankind was originally designed to have – spirit, which gives man a connection with the creator, God.

In a physical family, sonship is the result of seed. A child may be out of fellowship with their parents for any number of reasons but the sonship is never altered or changed because of the seed of which they are born. There is a tremendous difference between sonship (which is determined by seed) and fellowship (which is determined by conduct). So it is in the spiritual family of God. When a man or woman is born of God that sonship can never be altered or changed because of the seed of which they are born. Religion has degraded God to being less than human and many Christians live in fear of hell because of the false, devilish and counterfeit teaching called “backsliding.”

It is also interesting to note that the scriptures declare that Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, always did the will of his Father yet there is not one place in the entire Bible where he ever afflicted or made anybody sick – which would substantiate the false, devilish and counterfeit religious teaching that God afflicts people to prove their love for Him, that God is the author of bad things that happen to good people. The truth of the matter is that Jesus “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” (Acts 10:38)

The Word of God declares that there are two gods. One is the true God, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3), the other god is “the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4), who is Satan, the devil, who blinds and deceives men and women that they never see and hear the truth of God’s Word. Both desire your loyalty and worship – one by your freedom of will with resulting blessings, the other by manipulation and possession with dire consequences. Both are sincere!

If you would like to contact us or support the work of the Bible Study Group, our email address is fellowship@biblestudygroup.org (you can use that same email address to donate via PayPal, or contact us to provide you with a postal address).