Are you scared today? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of the future? Are you afraid of a person? Are you afraid of dying?
Whatever you are afraid of today, I intend to help you to understand your fear and how to overcome it. Chances are I won’t address your particular need as you would like, but the principles that I will bring before you should be easily moulded so as you can apply it to your own case.
I’m going to tell you a story, but I need you to try and be scared for me, you might need a little bit of imagination as my story telling skill might not be too good!
The story starts with a boy of 12 whose name was Jim. Jim was a pleasant young lad, but one day his mother became very ill, the doctor came and saw her, and he explained to Jim and his father that in all probability Jim’s mother will die. Sad right?
Well, the day came for Jim’s mother to be taken from this life, and she died. Then it dawned on Jim that maybe one day he would die too. The thought really scared him!
You can imagine the sorrow in Jim’s heart when he saw him mother placed in a coffin and put in the ground, her lifeless body never to see the light of day again! Where is she now? Jim wondered whether she was in a different world. Maybe she had gone to Heaven? Is there such a place? Or maybe when you die you just stop existing? Jim decided he was going to think that his mother was with Jesus in Heaven!
That’s great! Jim’s finally come to believe in God! Or has he?
Well, the first few nights after the burial, Jim started to have nightmares about his mother dying, he told his dad, but his dad just assured him that they will eventually go, which they did. But with the passing of the nightmares about his mother, came nightmares about his own death.
Jim had once heard a preacher mention something about a place called Hell, where there are lots of flames and bad people are tortured every day. Jim started to have nightmares about Hell now, and he wondered whether, should he die, whether he would go to Heaven or to Hell.
Jim tried to think of himself as a good person and that surely he would go to Heaven. But the nightmares kept on coming.
The nightmares had a terrible effect on Jim, he began to have lots of other little fears, he began to be afraid of spiders, and afraid of heights, and he developed claustrophobia. Jim gradually began to lose friends because they thought he was a freak, no-one wanted to know him!
Jim’s in quite a state right?
So it’s time to play doctor! So Jim’s come to my little doctor’s surgery and asked for my help. I’m going to diagnose him as having multiple fear disorders. Do you agree with my diagnosis?
If yes, then please help me now to find a cure!
If you went to any normal doctor, I’m sure they would send you to a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist would prescribe you some kind of anti-depressants, and they’ll probably do you no ounce of good, or even worse make the nightmares go away, so that Jim can live his life again just as he wanted, fulfilling all his selfish desires.
So here’s my perfect cure for Jim’s sickness, I give him a Bible, and I instruct him to read a few chapters a day.
Do you agree with my clinical judgement? Am I right to prescribe the Bible? I’m sure most of my hearers are Christian, and so you’ll probably be pleased to hear of my answer to Jim’s condition. But let’s see what actually happened when Jim started to read his Bible!
So, Jim leaves the doctor’s surgery thinking that the doctor is a complete idiot, and that any sensible doctor would have given some sort of tablet to remove the nightmares. But Jim was quite desperate, and he really wanted to be normal again and not be afraid of dying all the time.
Well, Jim opens up his Bible randomly and his eye fall on the passage in Hebrews 2 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage”
That’s last bit really describes Jim doesn’t it? That’s what he thought too. And it was quite a relief to feel that he was not the only one like this. But he thought it quite weird that someone dies and that stops people being afraid of dying... shouldn’t that make them more afraid?
Jim decided to read a bit more of the Bible, but instead of taking away his fears, it added one more fear. Jim read about a mighty God who had the power to either save you or send you to Hell, he read that everyone deserve to go to Hell. So Jim develops yet another fear, a fear of God.
That’s terrible! So my so called “cure” has only made it worse for Jim, I’ve added yet another fear to his huge list of fears.
Have any of you read proverbs?
If so, you will know that the fear of God is a good thing, as you will see with Jim.
Jim starts to have nightmares about God being angry with him and punishing him. And Jim began to be afraid to do anything that was against what God wanted him to do, so he started reading his Bible a lot, and he soon learned that God can also be merciful, and that God is loving and pardon’s sins. And soon Jim started to think of God as his Protector, and he lost all his former fears, except for his fear of God, which looks more like love than any kind of slavish fear.
So Jim finds the fear of God and now he’s not afraid of anything.
Go ahead and try it, If you are afraid, just think about God’s might, learn about Him in your Bible, and pray that God will give you this valuable fear of God!
Maybe you are afraid of someone? Do you quarrel with your boss at work? Do you have fights with your Husband? Your wife? Are you rebellious against your parents?
Fear turns to Anger, Anger turns to Hate!
If you hate someone, it probably means you were afraid of them to start with. Just think about it. Who are you angry with? Can they seriously affect your life?
I used to fight with my boss, I was afraid that they would give me bad work to do, or even fire me. It seemed that my boss had the power to make my day go well or to make my day an absolute misery. I resented that, and soon I began to be afraid, and then angry, and soon began to hate. And hating is totally wrong, both in the Bible, and anyone will say that is bad to hate people.
So if you are a Christian, and you have the fear of God, and you don’t want to do anything contrary to the will of God, you will not be afraid of man, because it doesn’t matter if you get fired, it doesn’t matter if your husband makes your life a misery, all you are concerned about is doing the will of God, and you know if God loves you, no one can touch you.
Ever wanted to be like Superman? Get the fear of God and you’ll feel utterly invincible.
The fear of God brings Joy!
Well, now here are just a few examples from the Bible of people who had fears.
David. David said in 1 Sam 17:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” He was afraid that Saul will kill him, he didn’t seem to remember that God had anointed him king of Israel, and that if God promises something He will keep his promises!
Has God given you any promises? Don’t doubt God, and don’t be afraid of man!
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Esther. Esther was asked of Mordecai to go to king Xerxes to save to Jews, but to go in to the King without him calling you was a penalty of death unless the king spare you, and you might remember Esther’s famous words “if I perish, I perish” she went in not fearing the king who could kill her, but God who could destroy her soul!
There are many more examples in Scripture, Jonah fled to Tarshish, the disciples all forsook Jesus when He was arrested, Peter denied Jesus with an oath.
But if we have the fear of God we will be able to look at death in the face and laugh saying: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There are stories told of martyrs that went to their deaths singing. I pray that when the time comes that God will give each of us the strength to go equally joyful to our deaths however they occur!
Now I pray that we will be given this great gift of the Fear of God and that, we will not be afraid of man!
May God add His blessing on what has been said, and pardon anything that I have spoken amiss.
May all be done to His honour and glory!