Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Don't be Afraid"

“Don’t Be Afraid”

Modern Psychologists tell us we have nine basic emotions. We share eight of those nine with God but the one emotion we experience that God has never experienced is fear. Fear is a result of sin and that’s why it is a foreign emotion to God. God knows no sin nor has he ever suffered any consequences of sin.

My students often tell me we have too many rules at Calvary Christian School. So, I ask them how many rules should we have? I’ve never really received a good answer to that question but I think one rule would probably be too many. One rule was too many for Adam and Eve. The problem wasn’t how many rules, the problem was the sinful rebellion they felt in their hearts toward authority. What did Adam and Eve do when they sinned? They ran away and they hid. They experienced fear and fear has been with us ever since.

We all fear something. I stepped in a yellow jackets’ nest when I was nine years old which resulted in nearly 30 painful bee stings. I panic every time a bee comes my way. Some are afraid of the dark. Some fear getting cancer or losing their possessions. We probably live in the most fearful society in history. The more we turn away from God the more fearful we become.

Dr. Samuel Johnson was so fearful of death that he never permitted anyone to speak of it in his presence. Julius Caesar was very much afraid of the sound of thunder. Peter the Great would tremble when he had to cross a foot bridge and Adolph Hitler feared cancer most of his life. We fear violence, we fear debt (unless you work in the Congress), we fear H1N1 and we fear natural disasters. Some people will never board an airplane again after 9/11.

Fear is the expectation that something bad is going to happen. It is the opposite of faith which is seeing and believing clearly that something positive is about to happen. Faith is the tool God uses to help us to grow in grace and love. Fear is one of the few tools Satan has to hurt and destroy us. If you’ve ever read the book of Job you know that he lost everything he had. He placed double guards on his herds, he prayed ceaselessly for his children. He was full of fear. We know this because of his own admission: Job 3:25 “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” He feared losing his children – he lost them. He feared losing his wealth – he lost it. He feared losing his health – he lost it. Fear never brings security, only faith does.

I’ve been watching some of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. There is a very fine line between control and ‘out of control’ when you are rushing down the mountain top at very high speeds. The great ones sometimes have to cross that line to achieve their best speeds. Isn’t fear the feeling anyone gets when they no longer have control? So fear always precedes the fall of one of these superb athletes. Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger, told his father that he was very frightened of the luge track. It makes one wonder what role fear played in his tragic death.

One of the most frightening moments in winter Olympics history took place in Nagano in 1998. Hermaine Meier of Austria experienced a devastating crash and everyone feared he may not have survived after taking a direct hit to the head. But, he went on to win two gold medals in the ’98 games.

One of our greatest fears is the fear of failure. How many men should have been great but fear prevented it? How many should have accomplished great things but they were stymied by fear? How many great books were never written because a great writer was fearful to pick up a pen and begin writing?

Christ came walking on the water toward the disciples. It’s not every day you see someone walking on water and they were afraid. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.” Peter then learned a strong lesson on what faith can do for you and what fear can take away from you. The Bible tells us over 500 times to “fear not”. We can never be all that God wants us to be nor accomplish all he wants us to accomplish as long as we are governed by fear instead of faith!

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