Summary: A look at why we fear and how we can overcome fear through Christ.

June 6, 2010

Overcoming Fear

When Mark was drumming for us during our time of praise and worship we had a little inside joke. He would from time to time play the cowbell prompting me to say - we need more cowbell. Anyone remember Will Farrell from the skit on Saturday Night Live? Well that song by Blue Oyster Cult was titled - Don't Fear the Reaper. As Christians we don't need to fear the reaper because we know that God promises that those of us who die in the body will still live forever.

But are there other fears we face? Is it okay to have fears as a Christian? We will take a look at these questions and more as we learn what God's Word has to say to us about overcoming fear.

The first thing we need is a good definition of fear so we will begin by:

Defining fear

I looked up the word fear and found several definitions for fear.

Ø an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger

Ø be afraid or scared of; be frightened of; be uneasy or apprehensive

Ø reverence: regard with feelings of respect and reverence; consider hallowed or exalted or be in awe of;

In reading about fear I learned that we all are born with two basic fears; the fear of falling and the fear of noise. It doesn't take long for us to develop more fears. Members of a psychology class interviewed 500 people and came up with a list of 7,000 fears.

I think that a proper understanding of our relationship with Christ can help us because Jesus came to deliver us from our fears.

The Bible speaks of two kinds of fear.

First there is the fear that is commanded. This is the fear of God, a fear that involves respect, honor, reverence and a sense of awe. We read of this type of fear in the book of Acts.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit , it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. (Acts 9:31 - NIV)

This kind of fear leads to the church, and to individual believers, becoming alive and active as they carry out their mission from God, a mission to lead a life of holiness and to reach others for Christ.

The second fear found in the Bible is the fear that is forbidden. This kind of fear is born of alarm, fright, terror, anxiety, distrust and dread. In Psalm 91 we read:

He will cover your with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of nights, nor the arrow that flied by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalm 91:4-5 - NIV)

We are commanded to not fear these things. This fear comes to us because of lack of trust in God and in His purpose and plan for our lives. The Bible also tells us that if God is for us, who can stand against us? (Romans 8:31 - NIV) Or one of my favorite passages on this subject "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:4-5 - NIV)

One thing I want to point out. There is a difference between fear and caution. Fear that leads to caution is a good thing because they make us aware of staying alive and healthy. It is this type of fear that leads us to look both ways before crossing the street.

So knowing what fear is we need to look at how to find fear in life. When we do so, we learn that there are common:

Areas of fear

In Matthew 25 we read the story of the talents. Three men are each given some talents of silver to manage while their master is away. The first two men invested wisely and were able to show a profit which pleased their master. The third man was afraid and buried the talents so he wouldn't love them earning the condemnation of his master.

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' (excerpt from Matthew 25:14-30 - NIV)

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