There's no limit to the good thoughts God wants us to have. So, why do we waste so much time preoccupied with our doubts and fears? How are we supposed to handle these thoughts? In part two of our series How to Be Brave, Pastor Don teaches us how to be brave in our faith by developing a courageous state of mind, holding onto the thoughts that come from God, and demolishing the thoughts that take hold of us.
Philippians 4:1 (NKJV)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GOAL FOR THIS SESSION
Learn how to hold onto the right thoughts and to take captive the thoughts that attempt to take hold of us.
1. Learn to focus your faith.
Don preached that it’s not through epic feats of bravery that we make an impact on the world for Christ. It is through long-term faithfulness and consistent courage. But how do we find this kind of heroic faith?
In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul gave them a list of things to think about. He instructed them to think on things that were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In order to cultivate heroic faith, we need to form a habit of thinking thoughts that are of God. It’s all about forging a courageous state of mind. As Pastor Don explained, both fear and faith are products of focus. When we focus on the wrong things, fear is produced. But when we focus on the right things, faith is produced. Unfocused minds welcome fear and weaken faith.
In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam he could eat all he wanted of any tree in the garden, except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Things would have been much different if Adam and Eve had focused on what they could eat instead of on what they couldn’t. In the same way, instead of focusing on not thinking wrong thoughts, we need to focus on thinking right thoughts. God places no limits on our thoughts that come from Him.! A lack of faith is a sign of broken focus. Our faith will rise when we concentrate on the goodness of God.
2. Learn to capture your thoughts.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us that we have divine weapons that have the power to destroy every argument and pretension raised against the thoughts of God. He also tells us to take every thought captive to obey Christ.
So often when God tells us to do something, we have thoughts that tell us why we shouldn’t. These are arguments, and we have the power to destroy them. These arguments often present us with facts. But as Pastor preached, “Just because it’s a fact, doesn’t make it true.” We have a truth that is higher than facts. Though it was a fact that Jesus was dead, the truth was that He got up out of the grave. We need to find what is verifiably true by the Word of God.
We can’t always control the thoughts we have, but we can control the thoughts we hold. Some thoughts come from God and some come from the enemy. We need to learn how to hold the thoughts that are true, noble, and excellent. God is continually encouraging us, but we get discouraged because we haven’t learned to hold that good thought.
3. Interrogate your fears.
We need to screen our thoughts that enter into our mind to find where they are coming from.
Many thoughts are dispatched by Satan to terrorize our faith. We are often told to just let such thoughts go, but this isn’t very effective. We need to hold these thoughts captive in order to interrogate them and destroy them. We need to screen every thought that comes into our minds to find where it came from. If it came from the Enemy, we can interrogate it to find what purpose it was sent for. Thoughts from the enemy can actually give us valuable information when we take them captive and question them. Satan sends thoughts in order to keep us from fulfilling our purpose, so if we interrogate what’s intimidating us, we will begin to discover the very reason we were born.
As Pastor Don shared, he has a fear of silence and of being alone. But he needs to spend significant time alone and in silence with God in order to preach God’s Word. So when the thoughts of fear kick in, he has learned they’re actually a sign that what God is about to give him in the secret place of silence is going to be helpful to someone.! -We can interrogate our fears in the same way. If we have a fear of scarcity, it might mean we have a calling of generosity. If we are afraid of embarrassment, it might mean we have an incredible gift to touch other people’s lives. Wherever the thoughts from Satan are attacking us shows us where our greatest strengths are.!
4. To Have and to Hold
Meditation on God’s promises can build faith and Courage in our lives.
In Joshua 1, Joshua was about to lead the Israelites in to take the promised land. God told them to be strong and courageous because He would go with them. He also told them to meditate on His Word night and day.! -God said be strong and courageous. Courage takes strength, but often we have no strength because we’re exhausted. We need focused thoughts because every thought either pays or costs, and the currency is our energy.! -God told the Israelites to meditate on His Word night and day. Too often we meditate on our misery. We need to learn to meditate on our victory in Christ and on the promises we have in Him. Meditation on God’s promises accrues an interest of faith and courage in our lives. All God’s promises are ours to have, if we’ll just hold them!
Session 2: Hold That Thought
Review the sermon, if needed.
Use the questions provided in each session to facilitate your group’s discussion and application of each topic. Use the questions ands discussion that is best for your group.
Too Have and to Hold… That Song ?
Pastor Don preached that we can’t control every thought we have, but we can control the thoughts we hold.
Likewise, we can’t control every song we hear, but what if we could control the songs that get stuck in our head?
* If you could choose one song to be stuck in your head forever, what would it be?
* What is the difference between focusing on what you don’t think about and focusing on what you do think about?
* What does Paul list as things that should be the object of our focus?
* Both Fear and Faith are powered by focus. How was Adam and Eves focus misdirected? What limits has God placed on our thoughts that come from him?
Key Point 1: Learn to Focus
* What does Paul mean by saying “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world”? What weapons de we have to fight with everyday?
* You don’t have to hold every thought that you have. When was the last time someone said something offensive to you? How difficult was it to let that thought go?
* What is the difference between ignoring someone and learning from them?
* What can we learn from the words we hear from people who aren’t necessarily concerned about our best interests?
* How often do you really think about your thoughts? How do you know if a thought comes from God, from your fears, or from somewhere else altogether?
Key Point 2: Learn to capture your thoughts.
* Don preached that our fears are often indicative of where our strengths may lie. Which fear do you resonate with the most, failure, embarrassment, commitment, vulnerability, or loneliness?
* What is it about these fears that make you so afraid? What makes your fears unique?
* If our spiritual Enemy uses fear to keep us from realizing our fullest potential in Christ, what do you think he is using your fear to keep you from? What potential strength lies at the bottom of your fears?!
Key Point 3: Interrogate your Fears
We need to screen the thoughts that enter into our mind to find where they are coming from.
* Why did God tell the Israelites to meditate on His Word night and day?
* Is it easier to meditate on our misery or on our victory in Christ and on the promises we have in Him?
* How does meditating on God’s word accrue and interest of faith and courage in our lives?
Help your Group identify and take their next steps with Jesus. Pray with them and for them. Ask them about their next steps later this week.
Is your Next Step to begin to take captive every thought and interrogate it for the values it has in your life?
Is your Next Step to commit to reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s word to build faith and courage into your life?
- Pray for those in your group to have clarity of thought.
- Pray that they may be free from fear by focusing on the promises of God.
- Ask God to help your group be brave this week as the waves of fearful thoughts come.
- Thank God for allowing these times so that we can grow in our faith and to be brave.