Fear Not!by Dan Stolebarger, Executive Director of Koinonia Institute
Recently I was going through the documents on my computer in an attempt at organization. In doing this, I ran across a document simply titled “365.” When I opened the document, I discovered it contained notes from a sermon my pastor recently gave. As I was reading the bullet points, I felt like they were too good not to use as a springboard for this article.
Did you know that 365 times in the Bible you find the phrase, FEAR NOT? Coincidence? Or is it possible that God wants to make sure we have a daily reminder, or better yet, a daily exhortation concerning this debilitating emotion?
Here are some thoughts about fear that I have picked up along the way. Hopefully they will serve you well.
Fear Always Lives in the Future
Have you noticed this to be true? It seems that worry and fear are identical twins of sorts. I have found, looking back, that so many things that I have feared or worried about simply never came to pass. In recent times, when fears and worries come my way, I try to deny them access, calling to mind the words of Scripture that relate to whatever the issue may be. Funny how comforting and powerful the Word of God can be and how forceful it speaks to the age in which we live.
Take a moment to Selah (pause, reflect on all the following Scriptures and let them sink in—marinate in them for awhile) the following verses:
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
1 Peter 5:5-7
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Fear Usually Hovers Around Loss
Many of us have been raised in a culture that stresses profit and gain and that the concept of loss is not only a four-letter word but also a possible indicator that God is displeased with us in some way.
Obviously, some types of losses are more impactive than others, such as the loss of a loved one, etc., but it is important to restate the obvious: God is in control and nothing catches Him by surprise. When loss comes our way, we need to find our way to our prayer closet and pour out our emotions to God as well as quiet ourselves in His Presence and ask for clarity and perspective.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.
1 Peter 3:12
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Fear, Like Faith, Is a Force: It Is Essentially Faith in Reverse
Fear can be so crippling that if it is not checked, it can put the believer in a catatonic state spiritually. We need to under-stand that ALL things are God filtered and He never allows situations (or temptations) to come into our lives that will do us in—He always provides assistance and a way out! Also, we must understand that faith requires some kind of crisis or un-resolved issues to be pure and refined.
Remember, faith is a verb and every day God is not only asking us if we trust Him, but also what are we “faithing” Him for?
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a re-warder of those who diligently seek Him.
The More You Believe in Sovereignty, Your Serenity Grows
The Shalom of God is available at all times to those who ask, seek and knock. Faith is believing what you cannot see. The mantra of our culture is “seeing is believing” but in the Kingdom of God it is reversed, it is “believing is seeing”!
The times we are entering into will be turbulent times and those without firm faith foundations will be shaken and tossed to and fro. God promises to be a strong tower for the righteous to run into and be safe, but remember, these turbulent times provide us as believers with opportunities to introduce others to that Tower, that Rock whose Name is Christ Jesus!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.
In conclusion, let me give you one of my favorites from the 365:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Shalom, my friends.