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Archive for Fear

I’ve previously shared a couple of posts related to Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. One of the helpful sections of the book relates to the subject of fear. Tripp contends that, “The dirty secret of ministry is that much is done out of fear, not faith.” Point well taken. Common debilitating fears include fear of myself, fear of others, fear of circumstances and fear of the future. I’m sure you can think of more to add to those broad headings.

Tripp continues his section on fear by helping the reader understand how to address it. He believes that in a fallen world filled with fallen people there are legitimate reasons to be afraid. He writes, “Faith does not require you to deny reality, so there are things that should concern and sober you and cause you grief.” Even though we should acknowledge the reality of fear, at the same time we cannot be governed by fear. Even though fear is real, it can be a good and godly thing. The problem comes when a person allows fear to overshadow what we know and lose sight of who we are.

So what’s the solution? Tripp offers five things.

1. Humbly own your fears. They will never be overcome by denying their existence.
2. Confess those places in your life where fear has produced bad decisions and wrong responses.
3. Pay close attention to your thought life.
4. Preach the gospel to yourself. Tripp states, “No pit in life is so deep that Jesus isn’t deeper.”
5. Cultivate an awe for God.

The only thing that can overcome our fears, according to the author, is our awe of God. Awe of God overcomes our mediocrity and presses us to excellence. The glory of God will cause us to do things we would never expect of ourselves.

Categories : Books, Fear
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Apr
30

What are You Afraid of?

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The second post resurrection saying of Jesus cuts straight to the heart of where many of us regularly live. Check this out:

Early on Sunday morning,a as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there” (Matthew 28:1-10, NLT)

Jesus second saying? “Don’t be afraid!” It’s interesting how somethings never change. What are you afraid of? Some of our fears are common place, such as snakes, spiders and mice. But many of us are gripped by fears that lie beneath the surface of our skin. What do we know about these phobias? For one, most of our fears are false. In the late 1980’s I attended a conference and heard motivational speaker Zig Ziglar say that fear was an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Not only are our fears usually false, our fears are usually negative. No one says, “I’m afraid I’m going to earn too much money” or “I’m afraid all my dreams will come true.”

How does the risen Lord help us deal with fear? There are three things from the text that are helpful to us. The first is worship. Worship is beneficial in that it increases and magnifies the greatness of God. One lesson we learn from the story of David and Goliath is that the size of your giant in life depends upon the size of your God. When we regularly engage in the spiritual discipline of worship, God becomes literally larger than life and all that life throws at us.

Not only does the practice of worship help us deal with fear, faith helps us as well. Did you notice the simple phrase, “just as He said” in the passage quoted above? Three times in the last six months of his ministry Jesus predicted that he would be killed and rise from the dead on the third day. Unfortunately the disciples forgot what Jesus had said as his claims became swallowed up in the sea of circumstances that surrounded the first Easter weekend. Until God’s voice becomes the prevailing voice in your life you will face fear after fear. In reality, we don’t overcome our fears. We replace our fears with faith in what God has said.

The final piece of the story is obedience. Jesus summonsed his followers to meet in Galilee. Why Galilee? If the disciples wouldn’t go to Galilee to see the risen Lord, they wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth on behalf of the risen Lord.

Worship, faith, and obedience. That’s how Jesus’ followers overcame their fear. After the giving of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, fear evaporated. While the gospels record numerous times the disciples huddled in fear, fear is virtually absent from the Acts of the Apostles. Have you ever noticed that? Do you wonder why? I think its because Jesus’ followers had such a high view of the risen Lord that no other voice mattered. Proverbs 1:7 states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. When the fear of the Lord is absent from our lives we become enslaved to lesser fears. If you’re struggling with fear, don’t focus on the fear. Focus on the God who created and sustains the universe. He’s the same God that knows you by name.

Categories : Fear, Jesus, Resurrection
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