By Jill Briscoe
The battle over fear is fought on two fronts – your part, and God’s part.
Your part in winning the battle over fear, the Teacher says, is to “banish anxiety from your heart” (Eccl. 11:10). Of course you can’t do this in your own strength – and God does not expect you to! “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong” (Eccl. 9:11), meaning our own willpower or self-discipline is not sufficient here. We need God’s power for this.
The word “banish” means “to expel from… a country or place by authoritative decree; condemn to exile.” (Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). So if you have been living with fear, God tells you to “exile” it. He tells you to get it out of your life. You order it to go by the authority of the government – in this case, God. This is your part.
The dictionary uses another definition of the word banish. “To drive away, to forcibly dismiss – as to banish sorrow – to put out of one’s thoughts as security banishes fear.” Notice it says security banishes fear. When you are secure in the love of God, there’s no room for fear and worry. Love dispels fear. To dispel means to drive away – to forcibly dismiss. So we win the battle over fear in the strength of God – the strength is God’s part.
You mind your mind – and God will mind your heart.
You look after your mind by choosing to think positively. You “banish” negative thoughts, like expelling unwanted people from a country. That’s our work – mind work. Paul exhorts us in Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
We need help to do this.
Believers have the help of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to banish sorrow, fear, and anxiety from the rhythm of life. When we are busy banishing worry by focusing on God and His promises, and refusing to allow fear a place to stay in “heart country,” God is busy supplying our hearts with satisfaction, tranquility, and joy. When God gives a man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot (however hard it is) and be happy in his work (however dull it is) – this is an amazing blessing. “He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Eccl. 5:20). This is a gift of God!