Summary: Superman never felt panic or fear! We’re not him (even if you do run around the house in tights and a cape). Sometimes we lack courage. However, as believers we should be operating in courage. Why? How?
Pt. 2 – The Fear Factor
Last week I mentioned that I wished I was Superman so that I could handle every situation with supreme confidence and strength. However, I also revealed, hold onto your jaw so that it doesn’t drop, that I am not Superman. We all need courage and we all lack courage. Jesus even told us that in the last days there would be men who would lose heart. Lose heart is the literal translation of courage. I told you that being strong is not the same thing as courage. It takes both. Our courage needs to be placed in the right place. Courage is a prerequisite for blessing. Then I told you that you could have courage because our end is resolved. It’s over, but it ain’t over. Our success isn’t based on our success or track record. We have the promise of His presence. We can have courage because of the sworn word of God. His word always comes through.
Today, I want to talk about the number one enemy of courage.
Uncertainty certainly affects our courage. People can impact our courage level. What we see can have ramifications on our courage level. However, the number one factor in whether we have any courage or whether we lose heart is how we address, face and deal with fear.
Fear is a common emotion. Some fear is even good. I want my kids to be afraid of lions. That way if we ever run into one they will keep their distance. At the same time, I also know that Paul teaches us that God has not given us a spirit of fear and I believe that. We are not to operate in a spirit of fear but in courage! Mark Twain must have understood this concept because he said, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear."
Have you ever met anyone who couldn’t master fear? They lived in a spirit of fear? I am not talking about someone who is occasionally afraid of something. I am talking about someone who is constantly in a state of fear? My grandmother was that way when it came to storms. The smallest cloud was all that was necessary for us to head to the cellar. She lived in a spirit of fear of storms. I want to teach you four things about fear this morning that will hopefully cause us to be afraid of being afraid!
I want to read to you three sections of Scripture. They may seem to be disconnected, but although they are different they each teach us a crucial lesson about fear.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
18A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, "It is I; don’t be afraid." 21Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
II. Facing Fear
Section 1, or the Christmas passages, teaches us a very important truth about fear. Notice if you will that in each account, the one with Joseph, the one with Mary, and the one with the shepherds that prior to delivering the news that the angel was sent to deliver the conversation was always started with the same phrase, “Fear not!”
I have learned something as I reread these passages.
a. Fear blocks revelation!
Fear is an enemy because it blocks revelation. In order for us to receive, hear, apply revelation we must operate in courage. If we are overcome by a spirit of fear we will not be receptive or in tune with the revelation of God. Fear blocks our receptivity! Fear keeps us from hearing. Fear keeps us from believing.