What is your greatest fear for the approaching days?
Do you fear failure, defeat, sickness or loss? Depending on the person, the current days bring with them the propensity for fear and caution.
Fear is regular with most of us. We wrestled with fear when we were children. Then it was fear of darkness and monsters like the Boogie Mann. When we were teens, we were no longer afraid of the Boogie Man but we were afraid of being rejected by our friends or being the object of jokes. We also feared any kind of humiliation and we were plagued by the question, “What if I mess up?” When we reached adulthood, our fears grew up too. Our Boogie Man has become the fear of disease, death, financial problems and other storms. Last year we wrestled with many of our fears. Some are bringing old fears into a new year. What does it mean to have “No fear?” It means the elimination of general anxiousness and specific apprehensions.
What is your greatest fear
In Hebrew the word for fear used in Psalm 27:1 is “Ary” which means to stand in awe of something. In The New Testament the word for fear is “Phobia” which is the fear of a specific thing. The person who stands in awe of another force is defeated before they began. That’s why boxers stare down their opponents at the center of the ring to make them stand in awe of them.
A person who is generally fearless can suddenly become fearful in a Phobic situation. There are over 700 kinds of phobias: Acrophobia, the fear of high places; Claustrophobia, the fear of tight close places; Agoraphobia, the fear of open places, Ergophobia, the fear of work; Phobophobia, the fear of fear itself. These are the kinds of fears that can reveal a woman strong enough to fight off a male attacker, but will run and stand on top of a table at the sight of a mouse. It’s the fear that makes a man laugh at the face of danger but whimper when he sees a spider because he has a fear of spiders.
For much of our lives many of us stood in awe of the mass of problems that surrounded us. Were also haunted by specific fears about certain things that troubled us. As this year unfolds, we are tempted to bring our old fears along with us. As Christians, we should sing the words of David with great joy, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”
We must resist the devil
To succeed spiritually we must resist the devil. The devil pushes us to promote ourselves in many ways. He promotes us to do things so that we can receive personal pleasure, credit, praise or power. We are told that if we want to spiritually succeed we must resist these motivations. We should ask the question, “Why am I doing what I am doing? What is my motivation? When it is over do I expect praise, credit or power?” If so, we are encouraged to resist devilish impulses.
The weapons we use to resist the devil are: faith and prayer.
A man or woman who operates on faith and prayer is able to resist the devil. God will help us recognize that a certain act is not according to his will, when we pray before we act. He will also help us to stand when the devil attacks.
To resist the devil we cannot afford to abandon our prayer lives. If we went through this week without taking time to read our bible or share in a moment of personal prayer, our resistance will be low. Satan will find plenty of room to impose himself on our thoughts and actions. He can’t get a word in if we are constantly focused on the Lord and his kingdom.
Faith stands firm even in face of the fires of life
Those who choose to live the Christian life-style and adhere to its moral code can expect to face the fire. In the days of this text, religious persecution was a common occurrence. Today it is not politically correct to persecute individuals because of their respective religious beliefs, but it happens daily.
Millions of believers have lost opportunities for promotion because they chose to stand for truth rather than fall in the trap of ungodliness. While some have missed promotions and other advancement opportunities, some have actually been threatened with the fire! The company “whistle blower” is the person who risks everything to do the right thing.
Those who have a strong and abiding faith in God are not intimidated by the fire. Nebuchadnezzar pointed to the kilns as a reminder to anyone who chose to breach his order or defy his commands in any way. Our society has a way of pointing to its fires to intimidate the faithful.
Faith stands firm even though your peers may blackball you! Faith stands firm though your career may be jeopardized! Faith stands firm though your financial future may be threatened!
No matter how hot the fire, believers are not intimidated by the heat. The word of God rings in their ears, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
“Jesus is watching You”
What is your greatest fear?
Consider the man who worked hard all of his life to earn a living. Despite his best efforts he was never able to accumulate anything more than enough to pay the rent and keep his head above water. At the rate he worked it would take him 20 years to save enough money to get the things he wanted. So, when his neighbor left for a vacation he decided he would take a short cut; he’d steal a few of the appliances and things from their home and sell them for extra money he would use to get ahead.
Inside the home he saw jewelry, and clothing items that would be valuable. As he began to bag a few items he heard a voice that said, “Jesus is watching you.” He was horrified. Someone saw him. Then the voice yelled again, “Jesus is watching you!”
In a panic he turned on the light only to see a talking parrot. He was relieved. “Was that you talking?” The man said, “Sure was!” Answered the parrot. “What’s your name?” Asked the man? “Charlie.” Came the answer. “That’s a dumb name to give a parrot. What kind of idiot would name a parrot Charlie?” The parrot answered, “The same kind of idiot that would leave all this jewelry and money at home and name that killer pit bull behind you, Jesus!”
The man took a short cut that didn’t pay off.
What is your greatest fear?
We thank God for his mercy on the journey
We should also celebrate our journey and give thanks to God for his mercy.
The Israelites celebrated their journey by the giving of special offerings and renewing their pledges of faithfulness to God.
They celebrated their journey by giving thanks.
Should we do less?
Every believer’s celebration is filled with thanks
We give God thanks for the seen and the unseen.
We thank him for our meals, but we also thank him for being able to sleep soundly at night.
We thank him for our families and friends, but we also thank him for dressing our souls with his grace.
We thank him for our spiritual journey : Joy, love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
We thank him for cars, houses and color T.V. but we should also thank him for coloring our lives with faith and hope because they help us to see the world in a different light.
In essence, we should keep the admonition in mind, “In everything, give thanks.”When we consider our journey we can’t help but give thanks for the help the Lord has given us.
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