What are you afraid of? Maybe it’s heights? Or spiders? Or if you’re anything like me it’s ants? Yes, I am afraid of ants. Why you may ask? It is because when there is one ant, there is never just one. Ants travel in colonies; which means if there is one ant, there is bound to be tens, hundreds or even thousands more right around the corner. This may just be a silly fear of mine, but just the thought of thousands of ants just freaks me out!
This morning I went to Crosspoint church in downtown Nashville, and let me tell you it was one of those services where I just felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me. Pastor Pete Wilson was finishing up this series about fear after his new book, “What Keeps You up at Night?” The past few weeks we have been walking through Scripture looking into this idea of fear and how we as the church are supposed to handle it. Pete touched on many points about fear and how we are to handle it, but today especially he focused on how our fear effects our personal relationship and view of God. Does fear really impact the relationship you have with God? If you fear too much can you even say you trust in God? What does fear even have to do with my spiritual life? Well, let’s dive into this a little bit more.
First things first; do you think you have a fear problem? Well, the answer to that no matter who you are is, no. There is no such thing as a fear problem. It is a faith problem. Fear, as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary is, “an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid.” What does this definition say about one’s faith? Is fear created by an overwhelming trust in the God you serve, or by the lack of that very faith we claim to have as Christians? Fear has become a facet of our lives that came about due to the fall of man, many years ago. If we lived in complete harmony with our Father the way Adam and Eve did before the fall, what would there be to be afraid of? Nothing! Fear has been instilled in us by the very one who took us away from that perfect harmony we once had. Fear is created in a human by a lack of knowledge about God. As Pastor Pete would put it, “The more you know about who God is, the more you can trust Him without fear.”
One of the biggest fears that I struggle with is the fear of the unknown. What will happen if I go here for the summer? What will happen if I start this relationship? How will this end if I do this? I am the type of person who likes to have a plan for things and sometimes I struggle with stepping out of my comfort zone just because of the mere fact that I do not know. I personally never thought of fear as being a lack of faith in God. I trust in God with my whole heart and know that He guides me and has a plan for me. Yet, why is it so hard for me to be afraid of where I will be in a few days, months, or even years? I always had the mentality that as I would continue to mature in my spiritual walk I would begin to know more about my future. Almost as if God would reveal His plan to me, or that I would become more knowing of what would happen to me. To be honest with you, it’s the complete opposite. To sum it up in the words of Pastor Pete, “The more spiritually mature we are, the less certainty we actually need.” So, instantly I began to question myself.
What does this mean to me then, if I claim to trust in God yet still have this fear of the unknown? I think it may serve as a reminder to me that despite my trust and faith in Him, I still have room to grow spiritually. There are still things in my life that I need to hand over to Him, and there are still things that I can continue to learn about Him. How we go about living our own personal lives is just a reflection of our beliefs and views of God. If we live life constantly questioning our place and our trust in the future do we really believe that He holds the future? Do we really trust in God as much as we like to say we do, if we live our life cautiously, because we are afraid to make a wrong move, or make a wrong decision? Do we fear the future or the end so much, that we never even take that first step or try to start a new beginning? If we live our lives with the trust and faith in God we are called to have as Christians we would not even question our worth or place that we are in for even a split second. We would not even have that fear to keep us from stepping out into the unknown. We would be willing to leave the boat and stand upon the crashing waves. But how exactly are we supposed to live a life without fear? I mean, God does call us to not fear, or “Fear thou not” over 300 times in Scripture, but how do we actually obtain that lifestyle?
PRAYER. There is no other answer that is so simple, yet so deep. The only way that you can rid yourself of the fear that is so deeply engraved in you is, prayer. It is through your prayer and reflection that you will learn more about the God you serve, therefore being able to trust in Him fully, dissipating all fear. The most important thing we will ever have in our minds is what we believe about God. So, let us pray in order to seek that important knowledge. Ask God to remind you of what He has done for you. Remember those days when you thought you were at the end of your line or that you were done with that relationship, or that job? If you go back and think on those moments you will see that God was right there with you working through every bad moment, bad timing, or bad mistake you made. He was always with you and will always be with you. Let your prayer start with thankfulness and celebration for all of the good He has done in your life. You must be willing to celebrate the faithfulness of God in your past in order to take the next steps to trust Him with your future, because those prayers of thankfulness and celebration should soon turn into prayers of forgiveness and repentance. We do not live perfect lives. We are not perfect people. But, our God loves us through our impurities and imperfections and we must bring those to Him in prayer. We must pray asking for forgiveness. We must allow Him, the gardener, to remove the weeds from our lives and help make us whole again. For He tells us, “In Christ you are a new creation; the old is gone, and the new has come.” Can I get an amen?!? Isn’t it so wonderful that we serve a God who loves us even when we’ve strayed? It is wonderful. Let the answer to your fear be prayer.
It seems as if it might just be an easy fix. Just prayer more, trust God, and your fears will go away, right? Or some of you may be saying, “Well, it’s just the same old stuff they told me in Sunday school years ago.” Well, let me tell you brother and sisters, there is no easy fix, and this fear thing is a problem. The concept of fear is the top thing God calls us out in Scripture to get rid of above any other sin or imperfection we might have. We are called to not fear over 300 times in Scripture, and we need to pay attention to it. But, it goes beyond just prayer and scripture readings when it comes to getting rid of the fear in your life. It becomes a personal decision you must make. Similar to the decision we make as Christians when we decide to take that first step proclaiming our love for Christ, we must make a decision to not fear.
Do you trust God enough to say that you do not fear those things you once were afraid of?
Do you believe in a God that is all-powerful and all-knowing that fear within you should not exist?
Will you stand on the boat, or step out onto the crashing waves?
Just remember, you may not know what tomorrow holds, but you sure know who holds it.
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