Alternatives to Fear
II Tim. 1:7
Intro: The context of this verse in the letter to Timothy where he is reminding this young pastor of his responsibilities. Many times the challenges of ministry can be frightful. Paul was simply trying to motivate Timothy to embrace the call of God in his life. He reminded him of his ordination in verse 6, his calling in verse 9, his training in verse 11-13.
Timothy was entering new territory. Paul was assuring him of God’s presence.
QUOTE: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic. – Unknown
1.The Source of Fear – For God hath not given us…
What was intended by God as a defense mechanism, has been utilized by Satan to control millions of people.
If you live in fear, that is not God’s plan, that is not God’s will, and it did not come from God!
2.The Spirit of Fear – it is more than just fear; it has a spirit attached to it; spiritual warfare
SPIRIT: the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one
QUOTE: To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.
Here are literally hundreds of fears – or phobias – that cover an unbelievable array of topics
JOKE: I was talking to a man one day. He said to me, “Clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kind of scary.” I said, “Really? Why is that?” He said, “I’m not sure. I’ve wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my daddy.”
People are scared of everything. I can’t even pronounce most of them. They all end in –phobia, but I can’t pronounce the first part of the word.
There are phobias of everything from spiders, snakes, the dark, closed in places to the fear of hair, bellybuttons and doctors.
JOKE: They say people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of snakes. It doesn’t seem to make sense. I mean, imagine walking through the desert, suddenly shouting to your friend, “Watch out! A podium!”
Many Christians are living with worse fears than these isolated, silly phobias.
They have allowed Satan to build strongholds in their life.
Their vain imaginations have produces such realistic events that they live with a spirit of fear.
Someone described FEAR with the acronym – False Evidence Appearing Real
3.The Separation of Fear – First Mention Principle – Gen. 3:10
The first time we discover the emotion of fear, it was the first time that the emotion of fear was experienced.
Notice the result of fear – it caused God’s creation to separate themselves from the presence of God.
There is no way a person can enjoy the right kind of relationship with the Lord if they allow fear to govern them.
Some people have lived their entire life with the spirit of fear.
There are alternatives to fear.
For the child of God, He has provided us with some amazing, life-changing alternatives.
- Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
QUOTE: Fear is a habit, so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves,” I can! and I will!” – Unknown
It is not “Mind over matter” or “the power of positive thinking” to say I CAN AND I WILL.
It is Biblical; it is Scriptural to take confidence in the promises of God. Promises such as:
- Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
- Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
- 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
- Hebrews 13:5 …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
- Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
ILLUSTRATION: During World War II, a military governor met with General George Patton in Sicily. When he praised Patton highly for his courage and bravery, the general replied, “Sir, I am not a brave man … The truth is, I am an utter craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands.” Years later, when Patton’s autobiography was published, it contained this significant statement by the general: “I learned very early in my life never to take counsel of my fears.”
The Apostle Paul realized that when fear is present, when weakness and trembling is how you would describe yourself, that God can provide an alternative to fear – a Divine power to overrule and override any fear you may have.
- I Cor. 2:3-5 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
When we think of Paul, we think of the greatest missionary, an Apostle born out of due season that accomplished more in the last 30 years of his life than a hundred preachers could accomplish.
But on several occasions, he begged God’s people to pray for him to have boldness! – Eph. 6:18-20
God’s work done God’s way yields God’s blessings.
We can do the work of God – we can live in power!
It is a great alternative to living in fear.
- Passion – …of love…
JOKE: One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, “Mommy, will you stay with me all night?” Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, “The big sissy!”
It is impossible to love the way God wants you to love if you are being controlled by a spirit of fear.
- You can’t love your spouse.
- You can’t love your children.
- You can’t love your church.
- You can’t love other Christians.
- You can’t love sinners. (share story of being assaulted while passing out tracts in South Africa)
Remember: – False Evidence Appearing Real
Notice what John the Beloved said: TURN TO I JOHN 4
- I John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
III. Perception – …and of a sound mind…
- SOUND MIND: an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control
- II Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
JOKE: Five-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK; Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?”
There is an alternative to fear – it is the ability to control your thoughts.
This “sound mind” that Paul is speaking of is the ability to control and moderate your mind.
- Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.