Summary: This sermon discusses ways to overcome fear through facing it head on, renewing our mind and changing our mindset, and taking authority over fear in the Name of Jesus.
Valley Grove Assembly of God
Valley Grove, West Virginia
July 15, 2012
Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Someone once told me, “If it says fear it means to be scared to death of God. Fear means fear!” I couldn’t convince her that God doesn’t want us to be scared to death of him but rather that we have a sense of reverence concerning God. The fear of the Lord is an Old Testament expression meaning reverential trust. If we trusted God completely with our life, we wouldn’t allow the destructive kind of fear to enter in. Our enemy, the devil, knows how to rush in with fear that paralyzes us. We fall for his lies time after time and it hinders us from coming into the things that God has for us. Fear could enter our lives over our health as well as any number of other things. It doesn’t matter to the enemy how he takes us down. One way is as good as another. Scripture says “The thief cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”(John 10:10). Symptoms come and we panic. We fear that something bad is coming on us. We fear that we will never get better. We hear words like cancer which strike terror to our heart. We hear the word terminal and we think that that is settled and the way it has to be.
Other fears come on us about a bad economy. What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I lose my job? What if I have to file for bankruptcy? What if?...
We fear storms and environmental calamities. What if the tornado comes through and destroys my house and all my belongings?
When we live in a world of technology where we hear of terrorism and destruction continually, our life is consumed by things that drag us down rather than build us up. We don’t have the wisdom to make right decisions a lot of the time.
1. Facing Our Fears:
Story: Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look your fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next step that comes along. You must do the thing you cannot do.’”
We all know what it means to face our fears and overcome them while at times we do not do this and do not overcome them.
Story: A few years ago a friend was terrified about going to a funeral home or a cemetery. One day I took her to a funeral home, but she wouldn’t walk up to the casket. Another day we went to a cemetery and we did a paper/crayon rubbing of a tombstone. She touched the tombstone and was able to do that.
On the other hand there are times I remember not facing my fears. I took a swimming class in college and was terrified of getting water in my face or my head under water. I was constantly being rescued with a long hook. I managed over time to actually swim the width of the big pool but not the length. On the day of the finals we were to jump off the high dive. I had never done that before. One after another in the class finished the test. I kept standing there. The bell rang. I said, “When do I take my final?” The professor said, “That’s it. Class is over. “I never faced my fear concerning swimming.
Story: To this day I have never faced my fear about mice. Walter said he has never seen anyone climb up on a chair when they see a mouse. Just me. Our cat discovered some mice last fall in the basement and brought them to the bedroom as a present to me and laid them down beside the bed. I think I was awake all night fearful that there would be a dead mouse in bed with me the next morning. After 9 mice, I still did not overcome my fear of mice because I didn’t try.
My mother used to say, “That little mouse is more afraid of you than you are of it.” I never believed her on that one.
We can choose to face our fears to gain confidence and skill or go for years refusing to do so. We have been programmed by our parents, teachers, and society and these ideas and fears are deeply ingrained in us; but Paul says in II Corinthians 10:4, “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations and every thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” We must deal with our fears first by facing them if we want to overcome them and then taking action.