There are hundreds of ways to be afraid. We have
- Cacophobia – the fear of ugliness
- Chorophobia – the fear of dancing
- Megalophobia – the fear of large things
- Numerophobia – the fear of numbers
- Peladophobia – the fear of bald people
- Shortophobia…the fear of short people…and the list goes on and on…
There are over 530 documented phobias. It is quite possible to be in a state of fear of something different every day of the year. To be fearful of something is natural – maybe not to this extent, but everyone gets fearful from time to time. There were times when even Jesus was fearful, and he talked about His fears to His disciples in those last days. He wrestled with His fears to the point of sweating blood in a garden.
Fears can leave us unsettled, feeling insecure, doubting our next move and second guessing our self worth. Sometimes our fears are even greater than what we’re afraid of. Fears can keep us awake at night, fears can be the cause of health problems. We end up worrying about what will happen tomorrow and if we’ll ever get there.
We’ve all been fearful. There are some times where we should be fearful…jumping off a bridge when you’re not really a super hero like we saw in our clip. But there are also times where we’re called to be bigger than our fears. So, if the question isn’t how to not be fearful, that will never happen. Consider this instead:
- How do we live with fear when we have to?
- What can we learn from the fear that we have experienced?
How do we live with fear when we have to?
We will probably always have to deal with fear. If we wait for our fears to disappear we’ll never begin anything. So, how can we avoid being afraid? All throughout the Bible God continually reminds us to not be afraid.
- Isaiah 41:10 encourages us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you…Do not be dismayed (anxiously look about), for I am your God I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.”
Well, who wouldn’t want to be held up by God big ole’ right hand. That sounds deliciously wonderful, but sometimes when I’m in the middle of my fear I forget that he has a big ole’ right hand holding me up. Jesus knew that the best way to conquer fear was to face forward. Jesus didn’t shrink away from doing what He knew He had to do.
- What can I do when I’m overcome with fear? How can I find the strength to go on?
God promises to comfort us in our fear when we seek Him. It doesn’t mean what we’re facing will all the sudden disappear, but we’ll certainly feel a whole lot better about it.
In John 14:27 says “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.” We do have the assurance the He is with us.
What can we learn from the fear that we have experienced?
When we learn to respond differently to our fears, the power that the fear has will change. At the onset we may feel weak, timid, depressed. In this state we’re not much good to anyone…and if we continually let our fears take us out of the game we’ll stay that way.
- We are the reflection of God’s work in us. It’s the living, breathing, walking around picture of who God is in our lives. When we let fear take that seat, what are we showing other people?
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Does your life reflect his masterpiece or does it reflect something else.
- Take a lesson from your fears and begin to show the strength, power, and confidence that God gives us.
Deuteronomy 31:7-8 says “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you…” Fear can be a good thing if it teaches us about courage. This passage in the Bible is the one where Moses is done with his leadership responsibility and Joshua is about to take over as their new military commander. What a huge, daunting, and fearful prospect. Joshua truly couldn’t have understood courage if he hadn’t experienced fear. Fear game him a stronger character and taught him to rely on and trust in God. See…fear is good when you learn something from it.
Here are a couple of practical applications to take with you:
1. What are the fears that are keeping you from your goals?
2. If your fears never disappear, how long are you willing to wait before you move forward?
We’ll talk more next week about another “What did Jesus Say” topic.