11/15 Family at its Best series: Living Daily without Fear 1 John 4: 7-21
Most of us would agree that we live daily with fear. Is it even possible to live daily without fear? We all have some kind of fear that grips us if only momentarily, we feel its grip in our mind. In our Right Now Media session viewed this week we learned from Trillia Newbell in her series titled Fear and Faith, as she addressed many faces of fear. *Fear of Others* where we feel we don’t measure up. Our frantic and frenzy lives leave us irritable. *Fear of the Future* The uncertainty. We so desperately want to control the future and we often think that we simply do it better than God does or will. *Fear of Tragedy* Our fearful, controlling, anxious hearts. We don’t get to see the whole picture of our lives. *Fear of Ourselves* those insecurities, not measuring up to the standards of the world and the standards that we place upon ourselves. These are ones that Trillia addressed in her series. There are others that can be added to. They all are very real to the people who are gripped by them. So how can we begin to live daily without fear? It’s in the renewing of our minds as found in scripture and trusting in it. This week we are looking at 1 John 4: 7-21 , God is Love. In verse 18 we read “There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” In this passage we also read that love is from God. He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature. He loves us so much that he sent his Son to be the propitiation (that is the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering) for our sins. Atone – as Pastor George defined, at one with God. Through Jesus we are atoned for. Jesus is a doorway – I’m here to help you get through- that’s the love God and the gospels speak of. Pastor George said Sunday, God’s perfect love drives out fear, let his love soak into you.
Trillia Newbell in her series Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, used scripture as her bases for dealing with these fears. Getting the word of God into us, reading, claiming its truths, makes for the renewing of our minds.
In our minds eye of thinking it’s this fear that we don’t measure up, in comparison to whose standards? God created us and sent his Son to die for us so that we can be secure in his grace. One place we read of this is in 1 John 4 vs. 17 “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” Our identity isn’t in who we are and what we do – it’s in whose we are. Our identity is found in Christ, scripture assures us over and over again. Our future is in God’s hands. Trillia says, God can bring us peace to live confidently no matter what happens. He is good, in control and mindful of man. There is nothing outside of His control. In our fear of tragedy, Trillia reminded us that we don’t see all that God sees, we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Cling to the glimmer of hope and run to His throne of grace. Pray for God to give you fresh faith. We cry out, I believe – help my unbelief. We are our own worst enemy. Our insecurities, daily battles with our body. We are to take our eyes off of ourselves, say Trilla, and put them on Him. What did God create us for? In Isaiah 43:7 we read “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” We are His, we are his creation, designed by God. Made for His glory. Our exterior does not compare to the inward beauty of godliness. The greatest value is found in our hearts, our value does not come from how we look, it comes from whose we are and being found in Christ. God is big enough! He knows our struggles and has grace available to us. As found in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.” 1 Peter 5:7 says, “…casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”
Trillia also addressed the question, what about when your fears come true? We will all experience tragedy in our lives. The world we live in is broken and sinful, they can force us to ask – is God still God? God doesn’t promise to take away difficult circumstances, but He does promise to be your keeper. She refers to I Peter 1: 6-7 which states that our pain has a purpose, a testing of the genuineness of one’s faith. The beauty of faith is that it isn’t derived from us, she goes on to say, God graciously gives us the faith to believe His promises. He will sustain us to the end. God will see you through your trials.
In Romans 8:31-32 it says “…if God is for us – who can be against us…” God is Love, which we read of in today’s scripture passage. As surely as you are in Christ, you are in His love. Proverbs 8: 17 says of God’s Everlasting Love, I love those who love me, run after, and seek Him. To fight our fears with faith, the fight requires the power of God and His grace made available to us through His Spirit to enable us to continue the battles. Trillia says the Fear of the Lord is our most significant fear. It’s not that he’s out to get us, but to come before God reverently and with great expectation. We are to grow in Fear of the Lord, and in faith. She says we need to exercise this great gift of consistent prayer, ask God to help you pray, pray the Bible promises back to God, pray to believe. Psalm 34:15 states “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” She reminds us to be in the Word of God, learn who God is and why you can trust Him, don’t neglect this gift. And finally, she says we need confession which is an active way of displaying your trust in the Fear of the Lord. Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” He is with us ‘til the end. Place our fears on Him. He can carry our burdens. When you Fear the Lord, you are able to conquer any number of earthly fears.
Pastor George said fear derails us from our best. When gripped by fear it brings us down, sometimes paralyzing us. He used the acronym F.E.A.R – false evidence appearing real. Our fears grip us that they can’t be anything else but real, right? Pastor George said if you still have fear allow God’s love to be poured into you again. This means to read again of God’s promises in scripture, His word poured into us. it means to allow others to come along side to calm your fears and offer encouragement to you, to love on you. It’s God’s love through others to comfort you. He says our focus is to manage the things we are to manage, controlling the things you can control.
Another training in RNM this week comes from Erwin McManus, don’t be overcome by Fear. In this training he says we are to be faith in action, be pro-active, taking initiative to run towards those fears dealing with them head on. In our personal fears, in our fears of community, in fear for those we love the most, become a people of prayer which brings you closer to God, says McManus. Be blessed by it, but not at the expense of action. He posed the question, are we waiting on the Lord, or is God waiting on us? Pastor George prayed that we are motivated to show this love (God’s Love) to others. That’s family at its best, helping others through their fears to be who God created them to be and find the joy that comes from a relationship with Him. To be used by Him so that the “families” we care about are their best. Saturate our minds with thoughts of living daily without fear because God love us.
Larry and Darlene