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October 13, 2008

The Truth about Fear

In his sermon notes Dr. Forrest writes, “God commanded His servants from Abraham to John on Patmos to ‘Fear not.’ Even though we make strong professions of faith, there are times when we act very atheistic in our belief in God’s ability to protect, provide, and keep us from harm. Hasn’t He said, ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind’? (1 Tim.1:7) When trials or tribulations come we are tempted to cave into fear, but God commands us to rise up on eagle’s wings. (Isa. 40:31)

“The fact is: fear comes from sin and Satan. The first time it is mentioned in the Bible it is in connection with Adam. Shortly before he disobeyed the Lord, Adam had walked and talked with God in the Garden. Imagine the communion they had. Then, Adam made a devastating choice—it was one that brought great sorrow and brokenness to his relationship with the Lord. He actually told God, “I heard the sound of You in the garden and I was afraid!” (Gen. 3:8)

Satan is a merciless enemy. He tempts us to sin and then he goes around announcing how bad we are and how fearful we should be of the very Person who loves us unconditionally. Realize that even though Adam sinned, God provided for him in his sinfulness. (Gen.3:21)

Another reason fear paralyzes us is because we buy into Satan’s lies. We listen to his tauntings telling us that our destruction is sure and we have no place to turn. This is absolutely not true. We can always turn to God. Who or what is more powerful than Him? Jesus said, “I am He that liveth and was dead but am alive forevermore. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” (Paraphrase by Dr. Forrest — Revelation 1:17-18)

Amy Carmichael writes, “Have you ever thought how infectious fear can be? It spreads from one to another more quickly and certainly than any of the fevers we know so well. So, for the sake of others, let us refuse the spirit of fear, which God never gives us (if He does not, who does?), and let us open our hearts wide to the Spirit of power and love and discipline.’ We can do this if we will.

“Thank God, courage is as infectious as discouragement. Have you not often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from one whose mind is stayed on God? I have.

“And I have been thinking of another, a greater, reason for refusing the sprit of fear. When we are down-hearted, or fearful, or weak, we are saying to everybody, by looks and by deeds if not by words, ‘After all, our Lord is not to be absolutely trusted.’ Somewhere near us, though we do not see them, are others, the good angels and the spirits of evil. To them, too, when we yield to fear, we say the same dishonoring thing. So for, the greater glory of our glorious Saviour, who has never once failed us and never will fail us, who has loved and led and guarded us all these years, let us look to Him now and pray from the ground of our heart, ‘Lord, give us valor.’

Dr. Forrest concludes, “You ask, ‘How am I going to free myself from the agony of fear?’ Paul tells us in my favorite Bible text: ‘Be anxious for nothing [be firm and strong in your faith], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God [who is unshakable and who has a wondrous plan for your life (Jer. 29:11)]. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 4: 6-7).

“If left unattended, fear will paralyze a family, a community, and a nation. It starts small and works to overwhelm and conquer us. We do not get lasting relief from fear through psychology or human adjustment of the brain, but by a miraculous revelation of Christ, who is the omniscient God of the universe. Will you trust Him today, this week, and in the months to come with your situation and deepest need? If you will, He will change your life, your outlook, and every problem you face. Fear is powerless in God’s presence.”

Take from the online devotional book, Grace in the Wilderness © 2008. Amy Carmichael’s quote is taken from the devotional book Edges of His Ways.