Summary: How believers can deal with the cause, consequence and cure for our fears.

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"The Fear Factor"

2 Timothy 1:1-7

Scripture Reading

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

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.

I. The Cause of Our Fears

a. The basis of fear is self- preservation

There is a healthy attitude toward self-preservation that God gives us; for instance when we jump out of the way of speeding vehicle to save our life. But when we become consumed with self we are vulnerable to all kinds of unhealthy fears. Self- centeredness is a feeding ground for fear.

b. The basis of fear is wrong thinking

The real foundation for tormenting fear is wrong thinking. When we're thinking right- when we're remembering God -- when everything is kept in proper perspective--then fear can not dominate our lives. But just the opposite is also true for when we have what I would like to call "stinkin thinkin," then their will be worry, fretfulness and torment!

c. The basis of fear is rebellion

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

From the moment that King Saul rebelled against God he was a man who lived in fear. His fear tormented him in every area of his life and eventually resulted in his death by suicide!

II. The Consequence of Our Fears

a. The power 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.)

b. The paralysis of fear

* Keeps us from getting anything done. (All we are consumed with is the fear.) Some might see this as the fear of failure. I read some blunders made by "dumb criminals" that actually made me feel better about my own mistakes. Let me read a few and see if it has the same affect on you.

1. The bank robber police were able to track down because his hold up not was written on the back of his birth certificate.

2. Police in Boston were investigating a car theft. When they asked the owner about any valuables that were in the car, the man told them that two tickets to that evening's Red Sox game were among the items in the car. Figuring they had nothing to lose, the cops went to the game and found both robbers sitting in those seats, and they had driven the stolen car to the game.

3. The guy who tried to break into a store by throwing a concrete block through the window. Unfortunately, the window wasn't made of glass, but rather Plexiglas. The concrete block ricocheted off the Plexiglas and struck the would-be burglar in the head, knocking him out cold. All this was captured on video.

4. The robber who wrapped his whole head in duct tape for his disguise. He forgot to leave openings for his mouth and nose and wound up unconscious on the floor!(5)

Now, doesn't that make you feel better? That makes me feel a whole lot better.

c. The penalty of 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?)

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