Summary: I describe what fear does to a person then talk about how to fight those fears.
How To Fight Fear
July 7, 2001
New Community Church
Intro: We have been talking about things that rob your joy these past few weeks. There are all kinds of things that rob the joy in our lives at any given moment. For instance, you get up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen for some water and a second after you turn the kitchen light on you see a small furry animal scurry across the floor. Or you are at your favorite restaurant and you are enjoying your meal and you see a roach climb up the wall. At first you are amazed because you wonder how insects can be like Spiderman but then you realize that you are eating.
Fear is also something that robs our joy. Fear is__________________
ILLUSTRATION: One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, "Mommy, will you stay with me all night?" Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, "I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room." A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, "The big sissy!"
ILLUSTRATION: There are a lot of things you and I are afraid of. I found a list of phobias that I thought would be neat to share. Cyberphobia: fear of computers; Ecclesiophobia: fear of church; Lunaphobia: fear of the moon; Astraphobia: fear of lightning; Chrometophobia: fear of money; Europhobia: fear of the color red; Homilphobia: fear of sermons; Triskaidekaphobia: fear of the #13, Peladophobia: fear of baldness, Phobophobia: fear of fear.
You and I both know that there are things we fear that we shouldn’t be. Things that are beyond our control. Things that aren’t even a reality. For instance you might be afraid to face death. You might be afraid of commitment or rejection. Or you have the constant fear that your kids are going to get hurt and that’s all you think about. Or you might have the fear that you’ll never measure up to anyone or the fear that you might wake up and have cancer one day.
I want us to look at a story in the Old Testament found in 1 Samuel 17 to help show us not only what fear does but how we are to fight it.
SUMMARIZE 1 SAMUEL STORY UP UNTIL GOLIATH TERRIFIES ISRAEL’S ARMY.
All of us have our Goliath’s. All of us have those things that intimidate us day after day. Those fears that haunt us and accuse us and make us feel miserable. What does this constant fear do to us? If we are not careful this is what happens when we live in a constant state of fear:
· Experience lack of enthusiasm. (Life just isn’t exciting and purposeful anymore)
· We have unfocused thoughts (All we can think about is what we fear.)
· Keeps us from interacting with others. (All we want to do is be alone and deal with it by ourselves.)
· Keeps us from getting anything done. (All we are consumed with is the fear.)
· Eventually turns into ungodly behavior. (Because we don’t know how to deal with it in a healthy way we turn to unhealthy ways of coping.)
· Causes health problems. (This fear & anxiety puts a tremendous strain on our bodies. Causes abdominal trouble, tension of the muscles, pressure in the head.)
· Can cause premature death. (Wears the body down. Fear can keep you from getting medical help. If you have a disease that can only be corrected by surgery and you are afraid of surgery what is going to happen?)
· Chips away at our intimacy with God. (We see God as having caused this. We see him as being mean to us.)
ILLUSTRATION: I know someone quite well who after reading something in a journal convinced himself that just because he had some of the symptoms of a terminal disease it was describing that he had this terminal disease. Every day it haunted him. When he got up he thought about it. When he carried out his day he thought about it. It caused him to be ineffective in ministry. It caused him to lose the intimacy he had with God. He put a smile on the outside but inside he was being torn apart by this fear.
Transition: We need to remember that God is not the author of fear! 2Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (NLT) The only kind of fear that God promotes is the fear of Himself. This is not a “scaredy cat” kind of fear but a healthy reverential fear that says I stand in awe of you Oh Lord.