Does the word dread ever enter your mind or conversation? It does mine. Sometimes when I’m tired I dread having to go to the store for groceries, or I dread the housework facing me that day, or I dread an appointment; especially the dentist or doctor. Sometimes I even dread having to get up and start my day. I thought to myself, “Why do I dread things?” “What is dread anyway?” So, I looked it up in the dictionary and here is what I found: Dread: “To be in terror of; fear greatly. Fearful anticipation.”
Wait a minute! Fearful anticipation! What? I thought fear was out of my life. I didn’t know that dreading something was being fearful. So, is it sinful to dread things? I don’t want to sin against God!
I looked up “fear.” Here are some synonyms for fear: anxiety, dread, panic, trepidation, worry, stress. Oh no! I’m not liking what I’m reading! What does the Bible say about anxiety?
Mat 6:25-34 MKJV Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? (27) Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, (29) but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? (32) For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it. (Emphasis mine)
In these verses I count the phrase “do not be anxious,” three times. Just think about it, these words came out of the lips of Jesus himself! Amazing! And, when He says something we can take it to the bank. This is a command! Do not be anxious! There is no other way to look at this than anxiety (and all those other terms we use, like dread, and fear) is sin. In these verses Jesus Christ has told us not to be anxious about anything: our life, our immediate needs, and our future. If I dread things then I am also being anxious, and anxiety is definitely sin. I need to confess to God that I have sinned and repent of it. Repent means to turn away from. I need to turn away from any dreadful thoughts and turn them over to God.
Doubt and dread are first cousins. What is doubt? Doubt is to be unsure, or distrust, or something uncertain or unsettled. Yes, when we are uncertain and unsettled in our minds about something than that thing becomes bigger than us and we begin to dread it. Our minds go over the situation time and again, and sometimes we blow it out of proportion. We doubt that we can do the thing that lies before us, or we feel it will make us feel uncomfortable, and we dread it more and more until we are paralyzed.
Jas 1:6 MKJV But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. (Emphasis mine)
Picture the waves of the sea crashing upon the seashore. The wind drives the waves against the shore and then back out to sea again to be driven in again. We are like a tiny boat on that sea and when doubt enters our minds we are tossed all about not being able to make decisions or function. We need an anchor. The Bible is our anchor and we can find our answers there. Don’t be tossed about by everything you hear or think. The mind is the devil’s playground, and dread and doubt can keep us from doing the work God has called us to. Satan is happy when we are full of worry and stress. Are you experiencing this? Is there something you know God wants you to do but you are full of dread when you think of doing it? Cheer up! There is an answer.
So, what is the antidote for dread and doubt? It is another word that starts with “d.” It’s discipline. According to the dictionary discipline is, “training that develops self-control.” That’s it! We need to discipline or train our minds in order to be in control of our thoughts. “How do we do that?” you may ask. Let’s look to our anchor the Bible for the way out of the storm. Do you know that God loves us so much that He told us what to even think about? It’s true!
Php 4:8 NASB Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Emphasis mine)
It’s right there in the Bible. We have to discipline our thought life. Think about what you think about! Examine your thoughts according to Philippians 4:8. Are you thinking rightly? Or, are your thoughts anxious? If you catch yourself thinking about something you truly dread, or perhaps a doctor’s report you are about to receive, then check out your thoughts. Are you blowing them out of proportion? Are they true? Or, are you jumping ahead to the “what ifs,” or “what might be.” These words are also a picture of Jesus. He is all of these things. Set you mind on things above.
Col 3:2 NASB Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Our minds can be renewed. As we study, read the Word and pray God will renew our minds and it will change us. We don’t have to be the way we used to be. We don’t have to think all those awful thoughts that drag us down.
Rom 12:2 MKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
Deliverance is to “set free.” I like those words. If I can just get my mind to be rid of any fearful, dreadful, anxious thoughts, than I would not feel stressed and I’d be free!
2Co 10:5 MKJV pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; (Emphasis mine)
Let’s not be captives of our thoughts! Let’s be free! Who is in charge? You or your mind? Take control and set yourself free. God says in the above verse that we can take captive every thought. If He says we can than we can! With God’s help, prayer and keeping in the Word we can be disciplined and overcome dread and doubt.
How do we do this? Here’s how.
Php 4:6 MKJV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Emphasis mine)
Checking your thoughts and then prayer. Ask God for help, and be thankful. Tell Him things that you are thankful for. He is waiting. He is right there all the time ready to help us if we will only call on Him.
If you change what you think about do you know what will happen?
Php 4:7 MKJV And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Isn’t that wonderful? We can have a peace which we cannot even describe. I know this is possible because I’ve had this peace. I still have to be careful every day and monitor my thoughts according to Philippians 4:8. I can’t let them get away from me. It is very easy to fall back into the bad thought habits that were once an everyday part of me. I must be on guard.
In summary we see:
Dread: It keeps us from doing God’s will in our lives.
Doubt: When we doubt we are not trusting. It is Satan’s tool to trip us up.
Discipline: Be aware. We need to break old bad thinking habits and acquire new ones according to the Word.
Deliverance: Depend on God to set us free.
If you have trouble in this area I would suggest you take a 3×5 card and write out Philippians 4:8. Put it where it is easy for you to see or get too. You could place it on your desk, in your purse, on your visor in the car; wherever it is handy for you. It would also be a great scripture verse to memorize so you wouldn’t have to depend on finding your card. Also memorize Philippians 4:6-7