Summary: It’s important not to give way to fear, when Jesus is calling us forward.
The Spirit Within Us
June 25, 2005
There’s a story that’s told about a man who had a flat tire late at night.
“A salesman, driving on a lonely country road one dark and rainy night, had a flat tire. He opened the trunk- no tire wrench. The light form a farmhouse could be seen dimly up the road. He set out on foot through the driving rain. Surely the farmer would have a tire wrench he could borrow, he thought. Of course, it was late at night- the farmer would be asleep in his warm, dry bed. Maybe he wouldn’t answer the door. And even if he did, he’d be angry at being awakened in the middle of the night. The salesman, picking his way blindly in the dark, stumbled on . By now his shoes and clothing were soaked. Even if the farmer did answer his knock, he would probably shout something like, “What’s the big idea waking me up at this hour?” This thought made the salesman angry. What right did that farmer have to refuse him the loan of a tire wrench? After all, here he was stranded in the middle of nowhere, soaked to the skin. The farmer was a selfish clod- no doubt about that! The salesman finally reached the house and banged loudly on the door. A light went on inside, and a window opened above. A voice called out, “Who is it?” His face white with anger, the salesman called out, “You know darn well who it is. It’s me! And you can keep your blasted tire wrench. I wouldn’t borrow it now if you had the last one on earth!””
This story tells us what happens when you fear that the worst will happen- your thoughts may help to bring it about. Someone once wrote, “Fear is the wrong use of imagination. It is anticipating the worst, not the best that can happen.”
Today, I want to discuss an aspect of where we are, in our church, and where I see our needing to go. I want you, too, to have an opportunity to respond to what I speak of, so I’ll move through quickly, so we have time for that today.
2 Tim.1.7- Paul wrote to Timothy, a young minister- an evangelist, in our church. He wrote to him about the spirit that was within him, and which is within us, too. He wrote encouraging him, to consider his heritage, spiritually, where he’d come from and where he was and was going. In this brief verse, he speaks of what GOD gives- not the spirit of fear- some translate this as timidity and others as cowardice- craven and cringing and fawning fear. This is not what we’ve received- not what Timothy received- but a spirit of power and confidence and boldness, of love and concern, and of a sound mind, rooted, as scripture instructs, in the heavenly realm.
We all understand fear- it’s what we feel when we face a new or difficult situation. It’s what we feel for no reason, sometimes. We’ve all felt fear over the past decade or so, at various times in the journey of our church to orthodoxy. We all know what fear can do to us and in us, and scripture speaks of this, too.
Heb.2.14- 15- fear gives bondage. We know this to be true, and I guess this has been known for hundreds of years! Interesting, isn’t it? Fear leads to anxiety, inactivity, lack of action and lack of momentum. Fear holds people in what they perceive to be safe places, unable to move to someplace new that might be a bit scarey- we fear the unknown, don’t we?
1 Jn.4.18- there is no fear in love. Notice that fear involves torment- but when we’re made perfect in love, rooted in Jesus Christ, fear loses its power and its reality. The torment of fear is something all humans have known. Again, it can drive us to inactivity. Bondage and torment are powerful and for all of human history, there are those who have not gone where they needed to go, or should have gone in life, because of bondage and torment- the fruits of fear.
However, being made perfect in love has its root- notice verse 19- in Him. Holding on to Him- to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit- the huge Him- gives security and confidence. We call that ‘faith’. When we go into our unknown- not His unknown- we do what we call stepping out in faith. And that takes us somewhere very stable. We think the floor of this building is hard and stable and dependable. Faith is harder, more stable, and more dependable. Where God leads us- where Jesus, the head of our church leads us, where the Holy Spirit Comforter enables us to be- is absolutely secure. We don’t see that, oftentimes, but that is the reality in which we live, with our heads in the heavenlies and our feet firmly placed on the ground.