Dealing With Problems

by Franklin L. Kirksey

Suddenly you experience an increase in heart rate and breathing, tightening muscles, improved vision due to a dilation of the pupils of your eyes and you break out in a cold sweat. Your body is being prepared to face the threat of danger. When you face danger there are two basic responses - you can either confront the threat or seek to avoid it. This is known as the "fight or flight" reaction.

Similarly the Israelites found themselves hemmed in with the mountains beside them, left and right, the pursuing enemy behind them and the Red Sea before them. Robert J. Morgan writes, "Just as Moses and the children of Israelites found themselves caught between "the devil and the deep Red Sea", so are we sometimes overwhelmed by life's problems."

Sometimes we are to flee. It is wise to do so in many instances. For example, Paul writes to Timothy, "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1 Tim. 6:11). Love of money is primarily in view at this point, as well that which precedes the command.

We are warned to "flee sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18a), to "flee from idolatry" (1 Cor. 10:14a) and to "flee also youthful lusts" (2 Tim. 2:22a). Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with the Holy Child and His mother (Matt. 2:13). Almost thirty years later Jesus warned those who will be in Judea during the great tribulation to "flee to the mountains" and to "pray that [their] flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath." (Matt. 24:16-18). But it is interesting to note that as the multitude of the Egyptian military hotly pursued the Israelites, "Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever'" (Ex. 14:13).

Other times we are to fight. There are times when fighting is unavoidable. Timothy is encouraged by the Apostle Paul, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Tim. 6:12). Believers are to fight the world system, the flesh and the devil. We are also to fight sin, heresy, and error. We are in a spiritual battle and Scripture reminds us "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh" and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:3-4).

In the face of enemy aggression, Moses received these comforting words: "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Ex. 14:14). This reminds us there are times when we are simply to follow.

V. Raymond Edman writes in "The Discipline of Daring" (The Disciplines of Life, World Wide Publications, 1948, pp. 30-31): "Whatever may be our Jericho, it will not jeer at us indefinitely, if we obey the word and will of our God. Its walls may be high, its battlements formidable, its strength undoubted, its occupants unyielding; but prayer and patience will bring it low before the soul who dares to obey God"-though God's methods may not be ours, and usually are not.

Jehoshaphat was told "The battle is not your's but God's" and "You will not need to fight this battle, do not fear or be dismayed" (2 Chron. 20:15,17). First Samuel 17:47 and Zechariah 14:3 offer similar encouragement.

"Stand still! Stand firm! / Stand ever sound- / Stand armour clad, / Tis fighting ground; / Then stand with victor's grip, / The foe' to overthrow; / With holy hands, unloose the bands- / Tis Christ that brought him low." -Evan Roberts.

Specifically we will either react in fear or respond by faith to the threat of danger.

Faith is essential to respond to each threat we face, whether we flee, fight, or simply follow. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).

Often people ask the Lord to increase their faith. The answer lies in hearing and heeding the word of God: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). When God tells us to flee it is an act of faith to flee; just as it is an act of faith to fight when He gives that command, and faith is also required to simply follow step by step in the way marked out by Him.

© January 14, 2007. All rights reserved. Printed by permission.

Franklin Kirksey pastors First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama

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