Summary: Too often God’s design for victorious living is replaced with fear, depression and anxiety. What can be done about it?
My preparation took some interesting twists and turns – where I started on Tuesday morning is not where I ended up last night! I feel drawn to today’s subject and couldn’t seem to get around it. I trust this as God’s leading and proceed accordingly. Whoever you are this is for you from God today.
Website: (http://www.thecalmzone.net) – “Campaign Against Living Miserably”– web designed to make men aware of depression. I cannot vouch for the content but only refer to it for the purpose of suggesting we all need a “calm zone” approach to living.
•“Approximately 6.3 million American adults ages 18 to 54 or about 4.4 percent…have some type of specific fear.” http://www.phobia-fear-release.com/fear-statistics.html
•1,315,314 of us suffer from depression http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/health35.htm
Do you have a “calm zone” to help you deal with fear and depression? Let’s explore these stressors that rob us of our “calm zone” on a daily basis.
Not new or unique to our post-modern, 21st century society. Example – (SLIDE) women at the tomb the first Sunday morning after Jesus’ crucifixion. They went to prepare his body for permanent burial since they didn’t have time before the Sabbath came upon them. They went to the tomb only to find the stone rolled away and the glorious announcement by the angel of Jesus resurrection!
Mark 16:8 “They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.” - alarm (sudden fear) and panic (strong loss of composure)
•Luke 4:37 – NASV: “But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.”
•There could have been fear that they would be accused of removing Jesus body and be arrested for doing so. Do you know the fear of being accused of something for which you are not guilty?
Possibly a strong sense of sudden alarm mixed with unbelievable joy!
“The powers of hell itself trembled at the significance of what those women became suddenly aware of; and there can be no marvel that they were afraid.” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries)
There are debates about the validity of verses 9-20 and whether or not they actual belong; did Mark write them? Were these his words torn from the papyrus? Was the ending added by another author to “complete” what was thought to be an incomplete letter? However it ended we have two options – end with verse 8...
What a sad ending it is if ended here. “Disquieting fears often hinder us from doing that service to Christ and to the souls of men, which, if faith and the joy of faith were strong, we might do.” (http://www.ccel.org/)
Or we can end it with verses 9-20 with the force and explosion of Jesus’ resurrected presence and power! I’d like to think that fear was overcome by the conscious choice to tell the disciples and obey Christ as we get the sense from these verses of 9-20!
Which option do we generate in the face of our fears?
Many know the story of my fear of – FLYING! My most recent reality of going to and returning from British Columbia was not unlike most experiences! Not as severe – but there niggling in my spirit, disrupting my “calm zone”. I could have decided “I just can’t fly because it’s too stressful for me so I’m going to pass on this opportunity.” I chose to not allow my fear to dictate my life and so the need on occasion to fly never prevents me from going forward. Someday I hope to master the fear completely.
How does fear dictate our witness and influence? How does it arrest the power of the Christ within us to witness to the world of his resurrection power in our lives? Or do we put fear in its place and not be dictated by it?
1 Kings 19:1-10; 18
(SLIDE) KEY VERSE: 4
His “fear” (v3) of Jezebel came after defeating 450 false god-worshipers at a showdown of fire from heaven. From that he resorted to the fear of a woman and depression and wanting to die. Elijah seemed to have been on the verge of suicide.
Elijah wanted to be “rid of the troubles of life” (John Gill). His problem was fearing what might become of him. This fear which Elijah could not control, led to a spirit of depression and despair.
While many of us fear what is to come, the unknown, others live with the regret and fear of the past being exposed. Neither is a good reality. This next story is for any of you who find yourself in one of these realities. It is a story by “Connie” who refers to the name that God attributed to himself, “I AM”:
I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking: "My Name is I Am." He Paused. I waited. He continued, "When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS. When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM." Exodus 3:14 http://www.heinvites.org/story.php3/0141.html