Overcoming Fear

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Rom 10:11-13)

And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
(Act 15:8-9)

The people of the New Testament churches had a very difficult time grasping the concept that Jesus was Lord of all. He was the Lord of the Jews but He was the same Lord to the Gentiles. They all were saved the same way, by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There is no distinction. Jesus cleansed my heart through faith and He cleansed your heart through faith.

I want to take this and apply it to how I see my kids. Is there a distinction between my kids and me when it comes to salvation? No. We are saved the same way. Because I believed in Jesus and obeyed the gospel, I am a Christian. The same is true for my kids.

This also implies that we are all in need of salvation. Our kids will need the saving grace of Jesus Christ. They will sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), because that is the direction of all mankind. I don’t mean to say that we take all hands off as parents because we know they are going to fail anyway. But you can’t keep them from sinning. You are not strong enough nor smart enough. What our kids need from us is the wisdom to give them instruction, the freedom to make their own choices, and the grace to accept and receive them during those times when they fall.

My Lord is their Lord. Jesus loves me and works in my life, and He loves them and He works in their life, too! He has begun a good work in them and He will keep working on them until the final day (Philippians 1:6). What Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for our kids far exceeds anything we could ever do for them. Jesus’ love for our kids is beyond our comprehension. He is no less committed to their salvation as He is committed to mine.

Pray for Jesus to give us as parents the power of faith to overcome our fears. May we always remember the presence and power of Jesus in their lives. We still teach, correct and even at times rebuke, but our faith is not in our power as parents. Nor should our comfort lie in how perfectly our kids turn out. Grace is amazing, because we all are wretched sinners who need the blood of a risen Savior.

A Spirit of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

How much of our parenting is done through fear? I don’t mean causing our children to fear, but I mean our own fears as parents? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I don’t have a lot of advice on the matter, but I know that this is a problem for a lot of parents, this one included.

We are afraid that our kids are going to make the same mistakes we did, so we go overboard on trying to KEEP them from repeating those mistakes. Our fear of where something may lead influences us to such a level that we make such strict guidelines and boundaries that are are not only unscriptural, they are smothering. We’re so afraid of the wrong, that they are not allowed to do what is clearly right. This can happen in our approach to sex, to dating, to technology, to finances, etc.

I’ve seen this as a preacher for a long time. Folks are so afraid of being too excited and outwardly emotional because they don’t want to appear like those “other churches,” but the result is stiff and stoic people that don’t express the joy of the Lord. We can be so determined to keep ourselves from making a wrong Biblical decision that we don’t make the right ones. Just as in parenting, this approach to religion is unscriptural and smothering.

Being afraid of doing wrong, by itself, will not guide you into wise decisions and godly living. Mere fear of our kids going down the wrong pathway will not give us the wisdom to help them navigate the pathways of life.

Being afraid of doing wrong, by itself, is not the spirit God gave us. Yes, we are to be warned of dangers and we are to warn others, especially our children. The Proverbs are full of such warnings. But we must remember the words of 2 Timothy 1:7 that God did not give us a spirit of fear that overwhelms us and immobilizes us. He gave us power, love and “self-control.” If He is working in us to produce self-control, is He not also working in our kids to do the same?

Hopefully this helps a little. There will probably be more on this later.

Can you be courageous and afraid at the same time?

Today, please read this section from Judges 6. God called Gideon to deliver the oppressed Israelites from the mighty and powerful Midianites. Gideon was a man of great faith, but he also needed to have reassurance from God on multiple occasions. He also showed great courage, but at the same time he was very afraid. Is that possible – to be afraid and courageous at the same time?

Gideon showed us by his example that he had fear, but his courage and faith carried him past that fear. God called Gideon to destroy his father’s idols…think about that. You are going after a man’s religion, and not just any man, you are directly confronting the idols of your father. This was necessary for Gideon to do if he was going to lead the people of Israel against the Midianites.

Read the following excerpt from Judges 6:

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.
(Judges 6:24-32)

Men, please meditate upon this today. We have all kinds of fears, but that does not mean we lack faith or courage. It is what we do in the face of our fears that shows our faith and courage. Take a page today out of the life of Gideon. Face the fears; confront them in faith. Remember God is with you supporting you just like He was with Gideon.

His Knees Knocked Against Each Other

Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other (Daniel 5:6).

My daughter, Jess, scared me to death the other night. I haven’t been scared like that in awhile. One of my kids always tries to scare me, but it never works. This time, Jess was crouching in the hallway, and just at the right time when I turned the corner she pounced at me. I really think I lost five years of my life. She really got me good. Of course, like a good father, I am plotting my revenge (bwah ha ha ha).

His Knees Knocked Against Each Other

For some reason, I thought of the above passage in Daniel where King Belshazzar sees a vision of a hand writing a message on the wall. It scared him to death. The Bible says he was so scared that his joints loosened and his knees knocked together. That’s pretty scared!

Being afraid or scared can be a good thing. It can be a useful motivation to lead us to God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), and the “beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).

Fear can also be absolutely pointless. For King Belshazzar, this fear did him no good, because he did not have a humble heart toward God (Daniel 5:22). Someone can sit and hear a sermon about the Judgment Day and be scared, but then go home and go right back to his ways without change. Its like a doctor telling us that if we don’t change our dietary habits we will have a heart attack, and we get scared. We then proceed to the nearest burger joint and pig out. What good did the fear do for us?

So, what describes us? What do we do with that fear? When we realize our life is fleeting, how do we respond? As we consider the holiness and awesome nature of Almighty God, and our position before Him, what do we do with that awe and reverence?

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).

The Shots You Don’t Take

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

Take some time today to meditate upon this quote from the legendary Hall of Fame hockey player. It is profound and very true.

Maybe you feel stuck in a rut. Maybe you feel trapped in your career. Are you yearning to do something else, and wonder what’s out there? But then the fears, doubts and “what if’s” come into play and you quickly douse out the flame.

Look at the Henry Ford’s and Thomas Edison’s of the world. They repeatedly tried and failed. They kept trying, recalculating and pushing. Look at what happened.

Meditate upon the following passage from the wisest man to ever walk the earth, King Solomon.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4-6

  • If you are waiting for perfect conditions, Solomon said, you will never be a successful farmer. The same applies to every endeavor of life. Perfect conditions exist only in heaven.
  • If you are waiting for confirmation that what you are setting out to do is going to be 100% successful, then you will never get started. Solomon said, you “do not know.” But this “not knowing” can be paralyzing to many of us. Paralyzing.

I’m not encouraging you to step out without seeking God’s counsel and the advice of wise counselors. What I am encouraging you today to do is to remember that God in Scripture encourages us to do the very thing Wayne Gretzky advised.

Take a shot!