Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…What are you afraid of?
In his first of four inauguration speeches, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the following famous statement; “The only thing we have to fear…is fear itself.” While that was to become one of the defining things that president said, and is perhaps the most quoted of his comments, it was unable to wipe fear away.
In my day to day work I sit with people who share with me their fears. Fears that they will never be loved again. Fears that they are unlovable. Fears that they will never have the marriage they thought they could when they first married. Fears that the latest difficulty in their lives will be too great to handle. Fears that they cannot please God. Some even express a fear that they will be alone forever.
Societally, there are additional things that people find themselves afraid of. There is the current pandemic. Fear that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Fear that people are becoming more divided and not less so. Of course this is a very short list of the things available to us to incite some level of fear.
God’s word has some interesting things to say about fear. Isaiah 41:10says 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.’ Of all of the fears that I talk with people about it seems that they are most afraid of having to face whatever difficulty they may be experiencing, alone. What they cannot fathom is having the wherewithal to stand up to whatever their fear is without someone supporting them.
Sometimes I find that people are afraid of standing alone in a crowd. What I mean by that is, they know the right thing to do in a certain situation, but they are afraid because they think they will be the only one in their family, or among their co-workers, or even their friends willing to take that stance. God says clearly that if we walk with Him we are never alone. This scripture goes on to say that not only is He with us but that He will strengthen us to the point of holding us up even if we have no strength in us other than Him. I think it noteworthy that He says He does this with His righteous right hand. I take this to mean that when we take a stand for righteousness we can always know He has our back, and as His word says, if He is for us who can be against us. (Rom. 8:31)
Another message from God’s word about fear is this. 1 John 4:18 says; There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. I don’t think President Roosevelt knew how close he was to the truth when he made his statement about fear. This scripture ultimately says that the only thing that we really should fear is an eternity separated from God. As Christ followers we know that the perfect love of the Father that allowed for the sacrifice of His only begotten Son’s life in exchange for ours, has eliminated that possibility of permanent separation. Therefore, we have nothing to fear, not even fear itself. This goes to further reinforce my thoughts from last Thursday…Worst Case Scenarios. No matter what may be causing us concern in this life, the worst case scenario is that we die, and as children of God, earthly death results in glorious life everlasting.
Finally, I want to look at 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. As people who enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus, and as a result are empowered and equipped to live a life without fear, we should want everyone to be as free from fear as we are. When he wrote these words to Timothy, (his spiritual son) Paul was himself facing martyrdom. Literally daily staring an earthly death in the eye, Paul wanted Timothy (and us) to know that even that dire circumstance should not result in fear. But, Paul did not simply say to Timothy; “I am not afraid to die”. He encouraged Timothy (and us) that fear didn’t belong among our exercised emotions because to die is to gain. He reassured Timothy that instead of fear God empowers us to have a spirit of power and of love. So equipped, we then are enabled to turn our thoughts from ourselves and our situations outward toward others. In that power, and because of that love, we can share that same gospel with them that gives us such peace, even in the midst of tumultuous times. Finally, Paul mentioned that this lack of fear would result in a sound mind. This term intimates the ability for supernatural self-control. Essentially, Paul was writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that perfect love enables us to live in perfect peace.
So for the American people, President Roosevelt had a great message of encouragement…”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. For the Christian our King wants us to know we have nothing to fear…especially not fear itself! Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
So now, living without fear because you have experienced and are sharing the perfect love of Jesus with others…Go be awesome!