I wonder what your greatest fear is? I guess for me my greatest fear is not living to see the fulfilment of the vision God has given me for our church and the Newcastle Dream Centre. It’s a massive vision!
Just recently I’ve also noticed that the devil has been really playing on my fears of an early death and at times has tried to torment me with the fear of death every time I am ill or simply have an ache or a pain.
In addition I’ve noticed recently that when one of my children calls I have become fearful of what news the call will bring! It’s crazy and irrational and certainly you may be shocked that as a pastor I have those thoughts….buy hey….I’m human just like you! To be honest this is an area of weakness for me and I have to regularly battle against those fears.
The challenge is how do you and I deal with fear……
I wonder what your greatest fear is….maybe you share the same fear as I do or maybe it’s something else such as flying, heights, darkness, spiders, unemployment, failure, rejection, commitment, a person (boss, colleague, family member) sickness, old age, being alone….
Where does fear come from?
It certainly doesn’t come from God but rather the other fella!
FEAR: “False Evidence Appearing Real”
Fear is falsehood and it comes from the devil who is the enemy of our souls, the father of lies, and the destroyer of our peace (John 8:44). Jesus himself warned that the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. He loves to spread fear and uses falsehood and lies to deceive God’s people and cause them to be fearful.
Steals – life, hope, joy, peace, contentment, confidence, boldness to obey, courage (we become dis-couraged) and robs us of the rewards of faith.
Paralyses – causes anxiety, worry, stress, sleepless nights, cold sweats etc
Disables – stops us being all that God has called us to be, taking risks, stepping out in faith, fulfilling God’s plans & purpose for our lives, witnessing, serving, giving etc.
Controls & destroys lives – if allowed to, fear will take over our minds and impact our behaviour and impacts those closest to us.
Just to encourage you…all the major characters in the bible were fearful at times but God did not let them dwell there long! His desire is for all of us to live without fear:
“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:8-10)
God speaks to Israel and says: ‘Do not fear!’ There is no room for fear!!
The same is true for each one of us. So how can we live fearlessly?
How To Live Free From Fear…
As someone who has, at times, been timid and fearful I’ve had to learn to live fearlessly and sometimes to carry on, even when I’m afraid! I believe that God has so much He wants to do in us, through us and for us but the key is living fearlessly! A lesson I’ve learned is this…..we mustn’t fear, we mustn’t HOLD BACK!
God has big plans and even greater purposes for each of us so…
Remember Who Is With You!
This is not Bruce Willis, superman or even your pastor speaking! This is Almighty God saying….‘For I am with you! For I am your God’
Yes, the great ‘I am’…..who created the universe, heavens & earth, creatures…The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Mathew, Mark, Luke & John, Peter, Paul….The all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present God of the universe is with you!
Take Paul’s advice
Our minds are like battlefields and where the major battles are fought and if we can win the battle in our minds then we will live in victory! There is so much wisdom in Paul’s words but how often do we practice what is so familiar to us…
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:4-9)
When we rejoice we’re actually being thankful and worshipful. Of course when we begin to worship three things happen:
– Enemy of our faith flees!
– Our God perspective returns.
– We are strengthened, built up (edified in spirit!) & faith arises.
Don’t be anxious about anything (at all!)
Winston Churchill said towards end of his life that:
“He’d learned that most of the things he’d worried about most – NEVER HAPPENED!!”
We’re surrounded by bad news, disaster stories & horrible cancer adverts etc and it’s easy to become anxious however most of our fears are irrational and never actually occur.
Bring everything that concerns you (requests) to God
There is nothing too small to bring to God in prayer with thanksgiving and the promise is this:
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)
Allow His perfect peace to come & guard your heart & mind
The Amplified Bible uses the term “garrison” for guard. A garrison of troops would be used to guard and protect a town/city. Great picture!! I’ve learn’t that it takes practice not to worry and become fearful however it is possible even for even the greatest worrier to do this with God’s help. Trust me!
Focus on the TRUTH (not lies/falsehood)
At difficult times we must meditate on what God says. His Word is TRUTH! I find that God’s word is my anchor when the storm is raging. We need to know the Word and use it when fearful and instead of thinking the worst….why not believe God’s Word?! It is packed with promises and truth.
Focus on whatever is pure & lovely etc
Feed your spirit on good, wholesome things! Starve your fears and stop watching or reading stuff that makes you fearful! Don’t google every medical problem you have!!
Learn from the Apostle Paul
I think Paul started out fearful and scared but learned to live by faith not by sight and learned to live with all kinds of pressures and stress. His life was continuously under threat and he learned to face his fears and live victoriously. I believe his message to you and I would be ‘You can do it too guys!’
Learn to overcome fear!
Interesting that the Bible does not say “Tremble not” “Sweat not” or “Shake not” but rather: “Fear not for I am with you!!”
Jesus overcame every temptation and fear that we face:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33)
‘For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)
‘But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.’ (Hebrews 10:39)
So why not choose today, with God’s help, to become an overcomer!
Learn to say NO! (Resist him!)
‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)
How? Just say NO! I’m not having this fear! Get angry!
You are not robbing me a second longer! I’m choosing FAITH not FEAR!
And the God of peace WILL be with you.
‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14:27)
God’s desire is that you enjoy life in all it’s fullness and abundance. There really is no room for fear. Choose to live a faith-filled life today and NOT a fear-filled life. You will be better for it and so will everyone else.
My Prayer For You
I pray that the precious blood of Jesus will set you free from every fear that you have right now (name your fears right now) and that from this moment on you will be faith-filled and fearless! I pray that you will surrender every aspect of your life to the God who knows you by name and who has the most amazing plan for your life!