Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fear, Part III

...Continued from a previous post...

...I enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then sat back to hear the testimonies of the two ladies who had stories about overcoming fear.

The first testimony was from Christine, whose home had been burglarized and whose dogs had been viciously attacked in their own backyard by a group of pit bulls. She summarized her testimony by saying that sometimes fear is given to us to keep us safe but that it can't rule our hearts.

The second testimony was from Jennifer, who has had a chronic illness for the last decade and has overcome some major medical issues. She was diagnosed with a disease that causes her muscles to either seize up or break down. Amidst treatments for this, she had to have a major surgery. Because of her chronic illness, they had to use a different method of anesthesia. She woke up in the middle of surgery. She didn't "come to", but afterward she was talking to the doctor and was describing things she should have never known. This led to a year and a half long battle to sleep at all as she would have nightmares immediately upon closing her eyes. When she needed yet another surgery, she faced the greatest fear she had ever had. With the help of the Lord, she overcame her fears and had a successful surgery. Her testimony was gripping and powerful. Her testimony was also something that involved way more fear than I have ever known!

So, then it was my turn. What in the world did I have to share after these two testimonies? To be perfectly honest, I felt like an idiot to even go up and try to speak on the topic of fear at that point!

But, I had some Scriptures on the topic and felt like I was supposed to share that Beth Moore illustration. So, that's what I did.

It's kind of neat how the Lord made it all fall into place. I have to say that even as I was speaking and realized my notes weren't exactly what I was sharing, I wondered if I was making any sense. But, one thing seemed to lead to another and so I kept going with it.

I began by defining fear. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. It is a mixed feeling of dread and reverence; a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something; the likelihood of something unwelcome happening.

Fear is an emotion. Scripture tells us we are not to be ruled by our emotions and that our heart is deceitful above all else and can't be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). As Christians, we are set free from a fear of death (Hebrews 2:14,15). We have hope.

Psalm 27 is a beautiful psalm. It really addresses the issue of fear well. I think the key to fear, as outlined in these verses, is that we will have less fear as we delight ourselves in the Lord. The psalmist says "one thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (vs. 4). As we seek the Lord, dwell in His presence, and delight ourselves in Him, our fears will banish. Just as this psalmist said, we will be able to say "The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (vs. 1).

1 John 4:18 says that as we are perfected in love, fear is impossible to have. Our aim is to be like Christ. Christ had no fear because he could fully trust the Father. He knew Him. He was confident in God's will for His life. As we grow in love with the Lord, fear is driven out because we grow in our trust of Him.

No matter what comes, we can trust God. If ________, then GOD! (see Fear, Part II post)

How do we get from fearful to trusting God? Take our thoughts captive. If fear is an emotion, what can overcome emotions? Truth. Meditating on truth!

2 Corinthians 10:4,5 says we must demolish any thought that comes up against truth. We must train our minds not to fear.

Are you a captive or a captor? Are you held captive by fear or do you take thoughts captive? Colossians 2:8 tells us not to focus on things of this world that can take us captive.

As I was speaking, I realized I had experienced a moment similar to Beth Moore's that prompted her illustration. It was really weird to have it come to me as I was speaking, but the timing was really neat.

...Stay Tuned...

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