Freedom From #4: Fear

 

Freedom From #4: Fear

 
In our series “freedom from” we have discovered how we can get free from the dominion of Satan (1 John 5:19).  The scripture reveals that the whole world is the realm of the evil one.  Jesus is the liberator (1 John 3:8).  Like the song we sing “He’s a prison shaking Savior If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”  Your great escape is a request away.  Call on Jesus to save you, the Holy Spirit will guide you out.  Paul and Silas were locked in jail, they sang and praised God, and an earthquake shook open the doors and somehow all their chains came off (Acts 16:26).  Your great escape from the darkness into light is just a prayer away (Colossians 1:13-14).  Ask God to deliver you out of bondage and into His family (Romans 10:13).  He will reveal to you your steps to freedom.  Four words to know:  Acknowledge, Believe, Commit and Ask.  If you seek to know, God will show and lead you to freedom.

 In part two we uncovered an inner saboteur powerful enough to hijack our best intentions.  We want to love God and we want to love others, but our deeds don’t always match up to our desires and sometimes we utterly fail (Romans 7:15-20).  The inner enemy is egoism (Galatians 5:17).  Again God offers a grace gift to break the power of egoism to makes a mockery of your intent.  Egoism will be with you, tempting you to selfishness, but now you will have the power within to choose to be a lover of God and lover of others (Ezekiel 36:26-28).  Three words to know: Contrition, Confession, Consecration.  If you seek to know God will show, and lead you into freedom

 God’s one-two punch knocking down the enemy, putting the enemy on the mat is Saving Grace, Sanctifying Grace.  Deliverance and Transformation gifts are given to those who seek not the gifts, but the One who bestows such gifts.

Jeremiah 29:13 (MSG)

When you come looking for me, you'll find me.

If you decide you are going to go looking, let me know, I might be able to guide you in the right direction.

In session 3  Pastor Dan taught us about the freedom that is ours from the lesser voices.  The voice of God builds up, other voices tear down.  We overcome the lesser voices by remembering the goodness of God, connecting with a healthy fellowship, cast out our idols, and cultivate closeness to God. 

Psalm 16:8

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 In this final session, we are going to delve into how fear keeps us from living life to the full.  A sense of fear beats you down, it is relentless in its attacks upon your righteousness, your peace, and your joy.  The Apostle Paul was addressing religious rules when he wrote:

 Romans 14:17-18 (MSG)

God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.

The New International Translation reads:  “For the kingdom of God is … a matter …  of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 14:17 (NIV).

 Righteousness is all about the quality of the relationships you share with God, Others, and with your Self (2 Corinthians 5:18).  Peace is that inner contentment that no matter what happens God will see you through (Philippians 4:7).  Joy is the sure knowledge that you are a child of God, that you are glory bound, raised to be a servant of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (John 10:28 & Revelation 19:16). A sense of fear attacks your righteousness, peace, and joy and prevents you from living your life to the full. 

 Life to the full is the privilege made available to every follower of Jesus. 

John 10:10 (NIV)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

 Life to the full is how we thrive.  It involves being loved unconditionally.  Unconditionally love is what the Father lavishes upon all His children. When you realize this, experience this, grow comfortable in such love, that unconditional love helps us to love others.  We know that love for God is demonstrated in our obedience to His commands, and we know that our love for others is on display by doing what is necessary to meet another’s need.  As you live a life of love you discover acceptance within the community of like-minded disciples, you know that you have a new home in which you belong.  You become a member of a community in which each one encourages and supports the other in mutually beneficial interdependent relationships.  As you learn to use your spiritual gifts, you start making a difference in the lives of others, you acquire a sense of purpose for your life as it takes on new meaning reflected in the eyes of those you are impacting.  That creates a sense of living a significant life.

 Righteousness, peace, and joy are the foundation for you to live your life to the full.  Righteousness, peace, and joy create the security of relationship between you and God that we need to live our lives to the full.  Fear attacks the foundation. 

 Fear grabs us when we sense that someone or something is dangerous; that we are likely to encounter something that we might not be able to overcome.  Fear creates pessimism.  Apprehension and its cousin worry is fear of what might happen.  Fear kicks in our fight or flight behaviors, it takes over the thinking logical part of our brain and we react to a situation.  Fear in the right times is a good thing, but when fear invades your spiritual life, fear is crippling.

 The spiritual life is about the quality of the relationships you share with God and others.  When it comes to your relationships trust is essential for building them healthy, strong, and vital.  Because his trust was so great the Apostle Paul told Timothy “I know, therefore I am Convinced, that God will guard” (2 Timothy 1:12).  He wrote this in conjunction with what he was communicating about his sufferings.  I trust all outcomes to God.  “I know.”

 Paul trusted the revelation of the scripture:

Psalms 103:2-10 (MSG)

O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing. He forgives your sins—every one.  He heals your diseases—every one.  He redeems you from hell—saves your life!  He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.  He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.  God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.  He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel.  God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love. He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

 Paul trusted in his experience with God

Philippians 4:12-13 (MSG)

I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

 Trust overcomes the fear that someone you are counting on is going to desert you.  Trust overcomes the fear that a situation is too much for you to deal with.  Trust overcomes the fear that bad things will destroy you or your loved ones.  Trust overcomes the fear that there is no hope, no help coming, no deliverance is in store. Trust overcomes the fear of death, Jesus said: “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:12). 

 Trust also keeps you keeping on.  I’m still waiting for Grant to be healed, I watched his mother die despite prayer after prayer.  I was angry at God, I felt that He hadn’t delivered on His promises, not only promises in scripture but personal ones that He would take care of those I entrusted to Him.  God hadn’t met my expectations, God didn’t do what I wanted.  Trust overcomes the fear that what you believed isn’t how things are.  In the toughest of times the surest source of help is God, there is no other place to go.

 Fear attacks trust.  That’s why multiple times in scripture we read “Do not fear,” “Do not be afraid.”   Instead of fear, we are urged to be “strong and courageous.”

God never let's go.

Have you been thoroughly convinced that God loves you?  Do you trust in God’s love?  I know it’s hard when your back is against the wall when you are at the end of the rope when your life is now nothing but ashes around your feet.  Do you know God still loves you?  It’s that sure knowledge that God loves you that overcomes fear.

1 John 4:18 (NIV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 “Well-formed love banishes fear” (1 John 4:18 MSG).  To become well-formed is not a one-and-done event.  It takes the practice of the 7th habit of a disciple, contemplation.  There are things to be considered deep in your heart, at the core of your being:  the sacrifice of Christ is a great starting point, for God so loved the world, greater love has no one than this that they lay their life down; consider how God has lavished His love upon you, remember how he has gotten you through time and time again, count how many times you know He has blessed you.  In your heart to heart with God ask the Holy Spirit to help you know that you are loved.  As you contemplate God’s unconditional love you will grow in the truth and be able to say with full confidence, quoting Hebrews 13:6—

“God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me? (Hebrews 13:6 (MSG).

 Chris Tomlin sings:  “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side. And nothing formed against me shall stand.”

When you trust in who God is and ‘His love you become free from fear.  No fear.   

No fear means you have confidence that whatever comes your way, there will be empowerment to deal with it effectively.  No fear means when God calls you to some task, you are confident that He will provide you with everything you need to succeed in it.  No fear means timidity is replaced with boldness, fortitude, determination, and with “can do.” 

 2 Tim 1:7 (NIV)

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

 You can be fearless. Trust God.


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