Summary: There are many landmines that we need to sidestep. This message addresses three landmines, fear, jealousy and anger.
Side Stepping Land Mines
James 3:13-18 NLT
If I were traveling across country in Viet Nam, Cambodia, or near the boarder of Thai-Burma area; one of my greatest fears would be encountering a landmine! Clear Landmines International says that one person dies every 30 minutes somewhere in the world from stepping on a landmine.
Landmines by the millions are just waiting for someone or something to trigger their explosive.
There are many landmines that we need to sidestep. This morning I’m going to mention three landmines, fear, jealousy and anger.
I. The Landmine of Fear
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Psalm 23:4 David prayed, “Even through I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
In these days many people face different fears.
Some fear losing their job.
Others have lost their job and fear losing their house.
Many fear what the future might hold.
Some fear the attack of terrorists.
Years ago I feared for my safety when living on a farm one summer when a tornado was coming our way. I still remember the intense fear I felt as a 12 year old.
Years ago Winston Churchill addressed a nation experiencing fear. With London’s bombed-out buildings in the back of his mind, he spoke to the nation: “Never give up, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
England was on the brink of disaster. The people had endured months of daily air raids and bombings. Fear filled the hearts of the people and would have overcome them except for two things: their will and their faith.
In 1942, Churchill said, “Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.” The British people along with their allies went on to win the Second World War.
Job 28:28 Job declared, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom.
Psalm 111:10 The Psalmist sang out: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”
The proper kind of fear of the Lord is having a reverence, respect and honor of the Lord. Because we reverence the name of the Lord we do not use the various names of God in vain.
The fear that lacks trust in the Lord is the kind of fear that takes away the blessings of the Lord. Fear that leaves God out of the picture can become debilitating. Fear can so paralyze us that we can only see the clouds of life and not the bright side of Life. Fear that forgets God has the view that God is only good part of the time and not good all the time.
God promises hope to all who put their trust in Him. Isaiah 40:29-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; and they run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not be faint.”
Nehemiah was one who did not give up hope in the mist of fear and impending danger. Nehemiah felt called of God to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls so the city would be protected against their enemies.
When the people started rebuilding the walls their enemies also went to work. All kinds of threats and accusations were made against Nehemiah and the Jews working on the walls. Nehemiah believed God had given him a mission and he refused to cave into fear. When the leaders in Jerusalem began to fear the threats of their enemies Nehemiah gave them reassurance:
“Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and yours houses.” Nehemiah 4:14
Nehemiah did not panic or become fearful in the face of enemies. He did not pack and go home. He trusted God for the present and the future.
You need to always remember that Jesus knows all about your challenges and circumstances. He has not forgotten about your situation.
Mark 4:35-38, Mark tells about Jesus getting in a boat and going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As they were sailing along a fierce gale of wind arose and whipped up the waves so they were filling the boat up with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat fast asleep.