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Spiritual First Aid
Facing Our Fears
“Fear” is a four letter word that has stopped a whole lot of people dead in their tracks, especially Christians, even though we’ve been told that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7.
Frank Herbert, the creator of the Dune sage, gave this description of fear.
“Fear is the mind-killer.”
Fear is a killer, but not so much of our minds as it kills our soul and spirit. In essence, fear is a faith killer.
Fear is also the formula for failure. When we’re afraid we be begin to doubt God and ourselves. Fear also keeps us from growing into everything God has created and called for us to be.
And while we want to be rid of all fear and be strong and courageous like Joshua whom the Lord encouraged, to be rid of all fear is unrealistic, and in many ways dangerous.
Fear is actually an emotion given to us by God to keep us safe in dangerous situations. Fear actually helps us make good decision so we don’t put ourselves in harms way.
And while fear is good in these instances, what we need to be careful of is letting our fears rule our lives.
Everyone is afraid of something, from losing our jobs, health and finances, to the loss of life. But instead of facing our fears and giving them to God, we try to counter it by buying insurance policies and installing security systems on everything we are afraid of losing.
Fear is therefore a part of our everyday lives, and it always has been from the very beginning.
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they hid themselves when they heard God calling for them.
Adam said, “I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10 NKJV)
How sad is that, when we are unwilling to face our fears, like Adam and Eve we try to hide ourselves from God. Now do you see why I say that fear is a faith killer?
And so instead of running away from our fears, we should face them giving them over to the Lord who delivers us from all fears.
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 NKJV)
To our fears, which have caused humanity’s faith to die, God sent good news. On the night Jesus was born the angel spoke these words to a bunch of frightened shepherds.
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV)
God has given to us the greatest gift of His Son so we no longer need to be afraid.
We live in a fearful world and in a fearful time, where natural disasters are up both in numbers and intensity. There are wars around the globe and the rumors of war abound in greater number. Diseases that were once thought eradicated are now making a horrific comeback, along with new ones that defy modern medicine, and they are both on the increase. We also have children killing others and themselves, not to mention the horrendous number of children that are being eradicated in the womb.
We truly live in a world that is designed to paralyze us with fear; maybe that’s why God tells us not to fear over 60 times.
And so with God’s help and strength we can face our fears and defeat them.
How can we face our fears? We can face our fears understanding first that…
1. God Created Us
Because God created us we can face our fears.
“God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness … So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’” (Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV)
God created us, therefore He knows each one of us, has a design for all of our lives, and no matter what we go through, God will see us through to the end.
And while things happen that are not good, God says that He will work them out for good, Romans 8:28.
Further, we can be confident that God who has started this good work within us will complete it, Philippians 1:6.
God created us and therefore we are His.
Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
Therefore, since the Lord created us, how can that alleviate our fears so we can face them?
He created us for His purpose
God created us and knows what is best for us. In fact, God planned our lives even before we were even conceived in the womb.
To the prophet Jeremiah God said,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV)
Since God has designed us in His image, He has therefore created us and has set us apart for His special purposes.
To believers Paul said, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 NIV)
The second reason why God as our creator helps us face our fears is because …
Our Creator is all-sufficient
Being identified and defined as all-sufficient means God possesses within Himself every quality, ability, and supernatural capability without measure, that is, He’ll never run out of whatever it is that we need.
This is seen in His names in which He has proven Himself more than worthy.
• He is Omnipotent, all powerful, Omnipresent, present everywhere, and Omniscient, all knowing.
• He is El-Shaddai, God Almighty, Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, and Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides.
How then, does God being all sufficient help us with our fears.
a. God is our sufficient refuge and strength
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2a)
The writer goes on to say, “Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” (Psalm 46:2b-3 NKJV)
He is saying that even in the worst disaster we can imagine, God is sufficient as our refuge and strength so we don’t need be terrified.
Whatever personal catastrophe we face, whether it is a major health problem, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, emotional problems, relational conflicts, or whatever, God is bigger than our problems.
b. God is our sufficient grace
God will give us all the grace we need to get us through the hard times.
This is what God told Paul as he was suffering from a sever illness in which he requested a healing three times.
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9a NKJV)
Therefore Paul concluded, given God’s sufficient grace that he would proudly boast in his illness and infirmities so that the power of God’s grace could rest upon him.
As our refuge, we can flee to God and find relief and comfort. As our strength, we discover that His grace is made perfect in our weakness, as we trust in Him.
It’s so easy to build up our own defenses against the troubles that come with this life rather than put our whole trust in God. Isn’t it interesting how we trust in our bank accounts, insurance policies, schemes and plans instead of the Lord for our future?
Now there is nothing wrong with any of these. In fact, the Bible urges us to be prudent in planning, but those things can become wrong if we allow them to shift our trust away from God.
The third area where God is all sufficient is in our salvation, which brings me to our second point about how we can face our fears.
2. God Redeemed Us
“Thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV)
In Titus 2:13-14, Paul said, “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Redemption means that God has paid something for us.
The word, “redeem,” means, “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. It was also a term used in the ancient marketplace where someone could redeem or buy back what was once theirs, or a family member sold into slavery or as an indentured servant.
In a similar manner God has purchased our freedom from the bondage to sin and death through His Son. Jesus Christ has therefore redeemed us, buying us back by paying a very steep ransom price.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV)
The Apostle Peter said, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
In Galatians 3:13 Paul said that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law. This is exactly what Jesus said and the writer of Hebrews confirms as our eternal redemption.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
The writer of Hebrews said, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12)
Sinfulness is our natural condition as the Bible so adequately points out in Romans 3:23 saying, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
But the redemption provided by Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death as the Paul went on to say.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24 NKJV)
Therefore, we can face our fears, especially the fear of the future, because of the sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross redeeming us from the curse of the law, that is, sin and death.
The third way we can face our fears is knowing that…
3. God is With Us
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV)
Now, before the Lord gave this to Isaiah, three young men believed it and weren’t afraid of the threat of death by fire.
When commanded to bow to king Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were the only ones left standing. They were standing faithful even seeing the potential consequences for doing so, the fiery furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar said, “I’ll give you a second chance, but know that if you don’t bow down, the fiery furnace will be your end. I know you serve God, but He’s in heaven and you’re here under my control.”
And they responded without fear, “Do your worst, we won’t bow,” because they knew the Lord their God and they weren’t afraid because they knew God was with them.
After their response Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the fire, but they were not alone. God delivered them through the furnace’s fiery blast.
When looking into the furnace Nebuchadnezzar said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25)
In Deuteronomy 31:6, the Lord said, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Three times the Lord repeated these same words to Joshua to be strong and courageous, and not to be afraid. And each time God gave him a reason, and the last reason was because the Lord would be with them.
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)
No matter what we are faced with, no matter what opposition, trial, tribulation, problem, or difficulty comes our way, even death, we don’t need to fear, in fact we can confidently face our fears because God is with us.
One of the most quoted verses at funerals and memorials is found in Psalm 23.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Jesus gives us this assurance.
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
So far we’ve seen that we can have the courage to face our fears because God has created us, redeemed us, and is always with us, but it is this last one that really hits home for me.
4. God’s Everlasting Love
To assure the prophet Jeremiah of His desire to restore and for the people not to be afraid of their captivity the Lord made this incredible statement.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.” (Jeremiah 31:3-4a)
God’s love is perfect towards us, therefore we have nothing to fear.
The Apostle John said,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”(1 John 4:18)
Paul is sharing that fear and love cannot coexist. The closer we get to love the further we get away from fear. But the other is also true. The closer we get to fear the further we get away from love.
How can we be made perfect in love and face our fears? It’s by accepting God’s love for us as He has given to us His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life, John 3:16.
God’s love that cast out fear, and that which helps us face our fears, is the love God showed in sending His Son.
In 1 John 4:10 (NLT), John said, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
Not only in God’s everlasting love did He save us, but also in His everlasting love He will gather us to be with Him forever.
The Apostle Paul tells us to comfort one another with this truth, that there will come a day when God will bring us to where He is in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV)
To Timothy who was timid and it would seem often afraid, Paul said,
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
In Philippians 1:6 Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Today God brings us a choice; we can either live by fear or faith. If we choose fear we will live lives never experiencing the satisfaction of a life well lived. But if we choose to walk by faith in Jesus Christ then we will experience freedom and an assurance that we are living life to its fullest according to God’s design.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study