Q: In your book “Do It Afraid,” you tackle the topic of fear. What exactly is fear?
A: Fear is an enemy that torments the soul and seeks to steal our life. It’s said to be “False Evidence Appearing Real,” because fear is rooted in lies the devil tells us. When we believe them, fear takes root in our hearts and minds, holding us back from becoming everything God created us to be and doing everything He’s planned for us to do.
Q: Why do you say we should not pray for fear to go away?
A: The truth is, we will never completely get rid of the feeling of fear. We will all feel afraid at various times in our lives. When the Lord tells us to “fear not,” He’s not saying we will never feel fear; however, He is telling us not to allow fear to control us and prevent us from moving forward.
Being free from fear doesn’t mean that we will never experience fear or be confronted by it. It means that we are committed to not allowing it to rule our lives, and when necessary we will do what we need to do, even if we have to “do it afraid.” Each time you feel fear and decide to “do it afraid,” you will experience a new freedom and become more determined to end your days of slavery to fear. That doesn’t mean you won’t still need to confront your fears, but it does mean that you will be more and more resolved to keep confronting them.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV) says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” This Scripture is very clear that even though we have been completely liberated from a yoke of bondage, at times we will need to “stand firm,” and not allow ourselves to be entrapped by it again.
Satan is very shrewd and he doesn’t give up easily. I guess we can say that he never completely gives up the hope of drawing us back into bondage. We must live watchfully, ready to recognize and immediately confront the things that steal our liberty in Christ.
Q: In your own life, your mother was abused by your father and was fearful. How is fear a choice?
A: My mother told me that even though she knew what my dad was doing to me, she didn’t leave him because she didn’t think she could face the scandal of divorce and she wouldn’t be able to make it on her own with two children to raise. She believed the lies of the enemy and it eventually led to a nervous breakdown and a lifetime of misery and regret. Her fears kept her imprisoned in abuse and kept her from experiencing the love of God and the freedom of living by faith in Him.
The only way to conquer fear is to confront it—to keep going forward with God while the enemy of fear is trying to drive you backward. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) says that “the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” So when you’re struggling to do what you know God wants you to do, go to the Word for encouragement. Philippians 4:13 says you can do whatever you need to do in life through Christ, who gives you strength. The key is to live by faith, trusting in Him and believing what God’s Word says more than what you feel or think or what your circumstances look like. Then you can move forward in the face of fear. You still feel fear, but you are determined—with God’s help—to move forward anyway. You can choose to do it afraid!
Q: Why does the enemy bring fear against us?
A: John 10:10 says that the enemy “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (NIV). Satan wants us to shrink back in fear and live tiny, useless lives, and fear is his number one weapon that he uses against us. In fact, I believe it’s the reason so many believers in Christ aren’t living out their destiny. But John 10:10 goes on to say that Jesus came so we “may have life, and have it to the full.” God desires for us to live free from the effects of fear and live big, fulfilling lives. He wants us to enjoy freedom and creativity, free of fear and anxiety.
Q: What are some of the things believers do to cause God’s power to short-circuit in their lives?
A: I love to teach about the importance of our thoughts and words because they are the key to having the life Jesus died for us to have. For many years I went to church faithfully, week after week, but I wasn’t living a victorious Christian life. I read my Bible every day, served on the evangelism board and went door-to-door telling people about Jesus because I really wanted to serve God. But even though I was doing those things, I was still miserable most of the time.
Eventually everything changed when I learned how to be transformed into the image of Christ by renewing my mind, according to God’s Word. Ephesians 4:23-24 (AMPC) says to “be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image….”
The truth is it’s impossible to have a positive, powerful, peaceful life and at the same time have a negative mind. And there are three attitudes that commonly short-circuit our faith, cutting off our access to God’s power because they are rooted in mindsets that don’t line up with God’s Word.
- Complaining is a negative attitude that keeps us from being thankful for all God has done, what He’s doing, and what He will do. We need to repent of it and then be determined to thank God in all things, at all times. His grace and blessings always outweigh the things we think are wrong in our life.
- Self-pity is simply a “poor me” attitude. It is a form of idolatry because it causes you to focus on yourself and think, “What about me?” But we can’t be pitiful and powerful at the same time, so let’s decide to give up all self-pity.
- Pride takes credit for what God has done and steals His glory. It makes us independent of God, and we can’t bear good fruit apart from Christ.
When we take time to renew our minds with God’s Word, we learn how to think like God thinks, say what God says, and act like He wants us to act. Then we can have what He wants us to have—abundant life in Christ, filled with His righteousness, peace and joy. (See John 10:10 and Romans 14:17.)
Q: What is doubt? And why do you call it a low-level fear?
A: Doubt is a type of fear and I sometimes refer to it as “low-level fear” because it is subtle…it doesn’t show up the way other fears do. For example, we doubt God by fearing that He will not come through with the help we need or doubt we can hear from Him and make the right decisions. Or maybe we’ve experienced disappointment with a friend and now we doubt that we can trust them again. And there are times when people doubt God because they ask Him for something and don’t get it; they don’t realize that if He doesn’t give them what they asked for, it’s because it’s not the best thing for them.
Q: How do we take authority over our doubts and confusion?
A: The antidote for fear—whether it’s doubt and confusion or some other kind of fear—is faith. We have to trust God and believe in the power and authority we have in Christ if we’re going to overcome our fears and experience the good life God has planned for us.
There are so many Christians who seem to be going through their daily life just hoping they can make it through the day. They go from one problem or crisis to the next, confused about why these things are happening and doubting that God is concerned about them or hears their prayers. This causes them to lack a confident, bold faith in God that can keep them stable and full of His peace and joy in the difficult circumstances of life.
The truth is our enemy only has the authority that we give him, and many times we give him the ability to attack us through ignorance. But we can recognize his attacks and resist him if we know the truth—God’s Word—and put our hope and trust in Jesus.
The Word of God is an offensive weapon in our warfare against the enemy. It has the power to renew our mind, heal our brokenness and change our lives. The Word contains God’s wisdom and the direction we need for every problem we face. Everything we need is found in the Word; it’s God’s love letter to us, our instruction book for life and reveals all of God’s promises to us as His children.
The power and authority in God’s Word equips you to go after the devil—he hates the Word and must bow down to it. But we must approach the Word with the attitude, “With God’s help, I’m going to do what it says.” That’s the key to operating in the authority we have in Christ.
The best thing we can do is make it a priority to spend time with God and study the Word. Go for quality, not quantity; meditate on Scripture so you really get it deep down in your heart. Make a predetermined decision to apply what you learn to your life. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and He will show you how to obey the Word in your daily life.
Q: Talk about why you think it’s so important that we recognize in ourselves the fear of other people’s opinions.
A: The fear of man is a common problem that causes us to worry about things like, “What will they think of me? What are they going to say about me? What will they do if I don’t do what they want? What if they don’t like me?!”
Everyone struggles with insecurity and the fear of rejection to some degree. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting people to like you. But when we’re so focused on being people pleasers that our fear of being rejected, judged or criticized controls our choices, we’re being controlled by the fear of man.
If we’re going to get free of fear and really pursue everything God has for our lives, we have to make a decision that we will not live with the fear of what other people think! Instead, we can learn how to live courageously by the grace and strength we have in Christ and be exactly who He made us to be.
Q: With the uncertainty of the economy due to COVID-19, how is it possible to stop worrying about money?
A: Worrying is a natural response in many situations, and I’ve wasted many days getting caught up in it. I thought it was a normal way to live. I’ve also gone through years when our finances didn’t meet all of our needs and I had to learn how to trust God to come through for us when I couldn’t see how it would happen, so I know what it’s like to worry about having enough money.
But God clearly tells us in His Word, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV). And 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast, “all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (AMP).
Now, I realize that it’s not easy to “cast all your cares” on God; it takes practice and you may need to be patient with yourself as you’re learning how to trust God no matter what your circumstances look like. But we can overcome fear in every situation if we will make a determined decision to believe God’s Word and reject the thoughts coming against us that steal or weaken our faith in Him. I find that my whole outlook changes as I say simple prayers like “God, I believe You’re working in my life, and I’m expecting something good to happen today.”
I’m not saying we should ignore our problems, wishing they’d just go away. We need to see them for what they are, but we can’t let them keep us from choosing a hopeful, positive attitude that says, “I believe God is in control!” I like this saying: “Worry sees the problem. Faith sees the God who can handle the problem.”
The Bible says that God can “do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). So no matter what our circumstances look like, we need to keep our eyes on God.
Q: People tend to worry about not doing enough. But should they?
A: God’s love for us is about so much more than the things we do. He loves us…period. Nothing we do will ever change that. Our enemy, the devil, wants to deceive us and make us believe that we must do everything right in order to be accepted and have favor with God. He does everything he can to convince us that it’s our good works that make us righteous, or pleasing to God.
We have to learn how to separate our “who” from our “do” and simply accept that we have been made righteous because of what Christ did—not what we do. We know this is true because Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us that God “chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (NIV). Verse 7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
More than anything else, I want every single person to get a revelation about God’s love for them…that they are a unique, wonderfully made creation, chosen by Him to have a personal relationship with Him. He sent His Son to die for our sins and make us right with Him—not because of anything we do, have done, or ever will do but simply because He loves us.
Q: Your new book called “In Search of Wisdom” just came out. Tell us what inspired you to write on this subject and what do you hope people take away from it?
A: So many people are not living the lives God created them to have, and it’s keeping them from representing Christ in the world in a way that draws others to Him. I know people whose lives are falling apart because they haven’t made wise choices in the past, and they are struggling every day, barely getting by, just trying to get through the day. My heart grieves for them, and I want to help them discover the wisdom they need to get their lives on the right track.
The Book of Proverbs is considered the book of wisdom in the Bible, and it deals with both the practical and spiritual issues of life. But we have to learn how to diligently seek God’s wisdom and apply it if we want to live by it, and that’s what I want people to get from this book.
Q: How do we implement the values from Proverbs in an effective way?
A: Proverbs is full of practical advice about how to live your daily life, but in order to follow the wisdom it offers, we need to be willing to obey God’s Word no matter how we feel, what we think, or what we want. So it starts with making a predetermined decision that you’re going to do whatever God shows you to do.
I’ve written this book in a way that makes it easy for people to study Proverbs and apply the wisdom it teaches to our lives. There are simple yes-or-no questions to help you think about how you are living in light of the principles that you discover throughout Proverbs. As you honestly evaluate how your behavior compares to God’s truth, you can see how to apply the instruction you learn in practical ways.
We all have room to grow in becoming more like Christ…it’s a lifelong journey we take every day. I believe that searching for the answers we need in Proverbs will make an amazing difference in helping us fulfill our God-given potential.
Q: Why did you decide that it’s the right time to write a book about wisdom?
A: There is so much confusion and turmoil in the world today, and God’s Word contains the answers to every question and problem we face. I wanted to write a book that would help people discover the wisdom they’re searching for and see how to apply it to their lives. It’s true that life on this earth will never be free of hardship or pain, but I know from personal experience that anyone who follows the principles in Proverbs will have an amazingly good life!