Have No Fear, God is Here!
How many of you guys have ever been afraid?
I have. I remember when I was younger I was afraid of the dark and I would have trouble sleeping unless someone was with me. Even though my brother and I had our own rooms, my parents would make him sleep in the same bed with me because I was so scared. When I was in third grade, the book Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark was really popular, so my teacher would read some of the stories to us. Well, one particular story scared me so bad that I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I would close my eyes and images of that story would creep in my mind and I’d pull the covers over my head so nobody would get me and I’d shake and tremble in fear. It was awful.
I remember going to my grandma’s house and watching TV and coming across the Discovery channel or something and there’d be snakes on the screen and my grandma would freak out. “Turn the channel, boys, I can’t stand those snakes.” She’d immediately close her eyes or get up and walk out of the room until the channel was changed. She was so scared of snakes that she couldn’t even see one on TV without it affecting her.
Well, what are you scared of?
Whether it’s the dark or carrots or going to the bathroom, by the end of the night you’ll learn some lessons about overcoming your fears.
II. Know That God is With You
The very first lesson for overcoming your fear is know that God is with you.
The phrase “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” is found 365 times in the Bible. I think that should make it very clear that it’s not God’s desire for us to be afraid. In fact, many of those times that he said, “Fear not,” he included “for I am with you.”
Isaiah 41:10 “10So 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.”
Imagine a young 3rd grader who’s getting picked on by an older 5th grader. The 5th grader tells him that after school they’re going to gang him and beat him to a pulp. The 3rd grader says, “Ok.” And he’s not scared, because everyday his older brother, who is in 10th grade, picks him up from school. He’s not scared because he knows who’s going to be with him when he faces the bully. And it’s the same for us, if we know who’s with us, we can surely muster up the courage it takes to overcome our fears.
Philippians 1:28 (AMP) “And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and a seal) to them [your enemies] of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God.”
In other words, when trouble comes—and it will come—don’t be frightened, or intimidated by it. Psalm 34:19 says, “Many evils confront the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Trouble will come, but you can be confident the Lord will deliver you from it---all of it. Instead of being intimidated by trouble, be constant and fearless. This will be a sign to your enemy that God is with you.
III. Don’t Run, Face Your Fear
Fear is not some huge, ugly brut that’s going to rip your head off and use it as a basketball, NO. Fear is simply a feeling. However, this feeling does try to make us shake, tremble, or sweat.
The word FEAR in Bible Language (Greek) is the word phobos and initially had the meaning of FLIGHT which is caused by being scared. So, you’re first instinct when fear comes is to run. Think about that for a minute. What are you running from?
I remember when I was about 6 or 7 I used to live just down the street and around the corner from my grandma, so my brother and I would sometimes walk to her house. Well, about 4 houses down from ours, there was a huge chain link fence, and a house with a swimming pool. So, we would walk really close to this fence sometimes so we could get a good look at the pool, especially on a hot day, because we wanted to take a dip in that cold water so bad. Well, one day we were walking to grandma’s house, and we were walking along that fence, and all of a sudden we heard (bark, bark). And the first thing we did after we screamed was take off running. We were scared, so we ran. Well, that’s the exact opposite of what the Word says to do. In so many cases, the Lord, or the angel of the Lord, would tell folks, “Fear Not,” literally meaning that when fear comes, don’t let it stop you, don’t run away. Stand up and do it afraid.
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” - John Wayne
“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” - Eddie Rickenbacker
One of the best ways to get courage is to face your fear. And once you’ve done that, you can look back at those times when you did something despite the fear that you had.
For example, do you remember the first time you jumped off of a high dive or rode a rollercoaster?
At first, you’re really excited and pumped about doing it because all of your friends tell you how awesome and fun it is. So you climb up the ladder to the top of the 10-foot diving board. Once you’re up there and realize how high you are, you start to get a little nervous. Then you creep out to the edge and peer down at the water, now you’re just plain scared. At this point, you have a couple of options. You either jump and face your fear, or you chicken out and make the descent of shame. So, you jump. And what a rush! So, you jump again and again and again. What once frightened you now invigorates you.
And it may have been the same way with a roller coaster.
And it can be the same way with other fears that you may have. Maybe it’s standing up to a bully, or asking someone to go to the movies with you and your friends. Maybe it’s trying an exotic dish at a new restaurant, or attempting one of the stunts on our performance floor tonight. Maybe it’s getting on an airplane, or holding a boa constrictor. Maybe it’s speaking in front of a group of your peers or playing an instrument. Whatever that fear is, get some courage by facing it.
IV. Make Jesus Lord
1 Peter 3:13-15 NIV 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed,16 "Do not fear what they fear Or not fear their threats; do not be frightened." 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Peter states that believers are to “Set apart Christ as Lord...” Lord in Bible language is kurios, koo’-ree-os and it means supreme in authority, controller; God, Lord, master. It simply means we recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, our Savior and Messiah. Peter in no uncertain terms is challenging all believers too: Set apart the Lord Jesus as Lord in your hearts, giving first place to him in obedience of life. We have no need to FEAR when Christ is in His proper place in our lives. However what sounds easy appears to be our greatest problem.
In 1999 a Gallup poll showed that 78% of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, less than 30% ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church on a regular basis. And Christians wonder why they are filled with fear!
The choice we will make every day is our response to this command: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord?”
A.W. Tozer: “People who have ‘set apart Christ as Lord’ have three distinct marks:”
1. They are only facing ONE DIRECTION
2. They never turn back in the face of FEAR
3. They no longer have PLANS of their own
Corrie Ten boom once said “In my times of fear I don’t wrestle, I nestle!”
Overcome your fear by drawing so close to the Lord and Master of your life that you experience his continual shelter and protection.
So, 3 ways to overcome your fear:
Know that God is With You
Don’t Run, Face Your Fear
Make Jesus Lord