Overcoming Fear

Overcomer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:42
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Overcoming Fear

Most of us battle with fear at some point. When you were a kid, maybe you were afraid of storms, the dark, or bathtub drains. Yes, I was afraid of all of those things at one point. I remember one day it was storming pretty bad and there were even reports of tornados. I couldn’t help but panic as I looked out the window to see trees pointing sideways because of the strong winds. The whole time, my dad was sitting in his recliner watching TV. Not even the news, just some show! “Stop being so scared,” he’d say.
When I had to go somewhere that was dark, I would run as hard as I could. Maybe you have similar stories of tornado sirens blaring, hail beating on the roof, or the concussions of thunder booming. Maybe you were worried about someone you love, or your parents marriage. Now that you are older, you might worry about losing a job. Maybe you worry about failing or even what other people think about you.
On the way out the door to church, Mrs. Smith accidentally dropped the beautiful cake she had made for the bake sale. With no time to make a new one, she ingeniously set a roll of toilet tissue in the center of the cake to give it support and then slathered icing around it. To conceal her embarrassment, Mrs. Smith planned to buy her own cake at the sale, which commenced immediately following services.
Though she hurried down to the church basement after worship, Mrs. Smith was horrified to find that her cake was already sold!
Her shock was compounded the next day at the monthly book club at the home of a friend. There on the kitchen counter was the very cake she made for the bake sale.
“What a beautiful cake,” Mrs. Smith said, not knowing what else to say.
“Thank you,” the friend said, smiling. “I made it myself.”
Today, we are going to wrap up this series by talking about overcoming fear. Some of lif’e most common fears are the fear of…
Do any of these sound like things you fear? Do you fear losing something? What if something happens to someone you care about, like your spouse or your kids? What if something happens to derail your marriage. What is going to happen if you lose your health or your job? Maybe your afraid of losing control.
Are you afraid of failure? Afraid you won’t measure up to someone’s expectations or some standard you have created for yourself? That you won’t be able to keep up financially? You really want to do good, help people, and make God proud, but you feel like a spiritual failure.
When you were a kid, you were always picked last for the team. Now you fear rejection. You don’t want to be left out again. Maybe you are afraid your spouse would rather hang out with someone else, or even leave because they just aren’t happy with you.
In life there are too many unknowns, maybe that makes you nervous. You do everything you can to stay healthy, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter. What if I end up with some crazy illness anyway? What if everything crashes and I can’t provide for my family?
In life, we will never have a shortage of things to fear. Fear is the motivator that the world uses to pursuade you to do something. “Don’t miss this sale! You don’t want to look ugly, buy this product! People are spying on you, subscribe to this VPN! This group of people want to ruin your life, vote for this guy!
The great news for us is that we serve a God who does not opperate that way. Fear is not from God. God does not want us to be afraid. In fact, He gives us what we need to be able to overcome fear…
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Some say that fear is the opposite of faith, but today I want to challenge us to look at fear from a different perspective. We should acknowledge that fear is actually faith, but it’s faith in the wrong things. Fear is faith in the wrong things.
Fear is debilitating. Fear causes weakness in areas of your life that God wants to make you strong. Being afraid of something causes you to make bad decisions because suddenly the bad decisions seem like better ones because they are easier or safer.
Normally, we watch TV while we eat supper. The other day the internet wasn’t working, so we watched a DVD of the show Scrubs. The episode we watched was actually about fear. All of the characters were struggling with their own fears. One was afraid to stand up to a certain person, one was afraid of things that could go wrong in her relationships, and the main character was afraid of getting sick.
At one point he was reflecting on some patients that he had traded with other doctors and he said, “I am a doctor who is afraid of sick people!” Fear made him believe that it was better to not do his job. Better to avoid helping people and avoid spending time with his patients.
Before we talk about overcoming fear, let’s give fear a definition. If God is going to empower us to overcome fear, it would be a good idea for us to define it. You may already be familiar with the fear in your life, but that isn’t always the case for everyone. The main character in Scrubs didn’t even realize he was making decisions based on fear for a long time. If fear is placing faith in the wrong things, we could say that…


God says this, but… WHAT IF?...Fear is placing faith in the “What If’s?” That is exactly what Moses did when God called him and asked him to go stand up to Pharaoh and lead His people out of Egypt on His behalf…
Exodus 4:1 NLT
But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?”
Instead of placing faith in GOD’s PROMISE, Moses put faith in the WHAT IF? What if they don’t listen to me? What if they don’t believe me? I shouldn’t go into that patient’s room, what if I get sick? What if the bottom falls out of the economy? What if I lose my job? What if something happens to my kids? What if I leave for work and get in a car wreck? What if? What if? What if?…
Fear is placing faith in the “what if’s?” So, what if I am afraid? Why does it even matter? It only shows how much I care. I just want to be ready for the worst. Okay, sure, but if you are taking notes, here is why the “what if’s” matter. First…


If you are afraid of losing your marriage, what do you value? Marriage. If you are worried something may happen to your child, it shows you love and value your child. If you are afraid you won’t be able to pay the bills or you might lose your job, it shows that you value financial security.
What you fear the most reveals what you value the most. Second…


Think about that for a minute. Really let it sink in and put those two statements together. What you fear the most reveals what you hold most valuable AND where you give God the least amount of trust. So if you are afraid of losing your marraige, sure you value marraige, but do you really trust God with your marriage? If you fear something happening to a child, do you trust God with your children? If you are afraid of not having enough, are you trusting God to be your provider?
What is your “What if?” I want to encourage you to be honest for a moment and truthfully acknowledge where your fear is stronger than your faith in God. Where your faith in the “What If?” is stronger than your faith in God. If you are taking notes, I would even encourage you to give it a name and write it down…
I’M NOT TRUSTING GOD WITH:________________
My children, our future, my health, someone I love, my parents, my job, my friends. What is your “What if?”
It may seem silly, but if you can’t define it, you can’t defeat it. Your fear may be the fear of facing your fears. God has not given you a Spirit of Fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. Remind yourself of that truth as you face your fears and prepare to overcome them.
Now let’s talk about overcoming these fears. How will God empower us to overcome our fears? Name the fear, “I’m not trusting God with this.” What do I do now? Let’s get practical and talk about overcoming our deepest fears…
The first thing I need to do is acknowledge the fear and make the decision to trust God anyway. What good does it do to pretend the fear doesn’t even exist? In other words, we aren’t going to close our eyes, put our fingers in our ears, and repeat, “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening...
This is a horrible movie to quote, but this makes me think of Ace Ventura. Ace loves animals, but he has an irrational fear of bats. At one point his investigation takes him into a cave where bats live and he really doesn’t want to go. To face his fear, he decides to pretend it doesn’t exist. As he enters the cave he repeats, “I am not afraid. I am not afraid. I like it here.
The problem is, everytime the fear takes over, he sacrifices something that was important to him by throwing it at the noise. One of the things he throws is his torch, leaving him without light. Finally, he gets so spooked that he runs through the pitch black darkness to leave the cave.
We don’t want to do that. Instead of ignoring the fear until it takes over and causes us to run through total darkness in terror, why not acknowledge the fear so that we can make the choice to trust God anyway.
A more practical example would be about someone I knew once that said he didn’t have any fears. Not even of heights. One of my fears is heights. I know exactly what happens when you are afraid of heights. If you fear heights, there is absolutely no reason to pretend otherwise. I’ll never forget being just a few feet off the ground with this guy and he was virtually incapacitated.
Instead of pretending I’m not afraid of heights, wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge my fear and choose to trust God anyway.
Tell the truth. I am nervous about this. This is heavy on my heart. I am worried about this. You don’t have to accept that and move on. Acknowledge it, and then CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD.
I know how difficult this can be. Over the last few years I have HAD to learn this truth. They say public speaking is one of the top fears, and I would easily agree. Every single time I sit down to prepare for church, the fear starts trying to find a way to make me call in sick. When the fear starts to rear it’s head, I have to realize that the fear isn’t from God. I have to acknowledge the fear, then choose to trust God anyway by knowing that through His power He will give me what I need to prepare.
Fortunately, the fears I face are nothing like what many people in the OT faced. Before David became the king, king Saul was jealous of all of the attention that David was getting and tried to kill him. David was understandibly terrified, but he made the dicision to tust God. Even though he was afraid, David chose to put his faith in God. David said…
Psalm 56:2–4 NLT
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
Well, what could mortals do to David? In the 56th Psalm, David says they are hounding him, attacking him, slandering him, trying to harm him, spying on him, eager to kill him. They could have killed him, and David’s like, “Ah, what can these mere mortals do to me?” Something changed in his perspective. He still acknowledged the fear, but he was choosing to trust God.
He shifted from an earthly perspective to an eternal one. Sure, they can do something to me NOW, but eternally speaking, GOD IS ON MY SIDE! MY GOD IS ON THE THRONE! HIS WILL SHALL BE DONE! I PRAISE MY GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS PROMISED.
What can mere mortals do to me? David’s words really make me stop and think. When you think about fear like David did you really start to realize that fear is really being hyper focused on our earthly perspective instead of focusing on God’s eternal perspective.
To overcome our deepest fears, first we need to acknowledge our fear and choose to trust God anyway. Then we need to SEEK GOD. Again, and again, and again, and again. Until He takes away your fears. Then, if you are still afraid, or if the fear comes back, seek God.
This is exactly what David did. David had plenty of things to fear. He prayed and grew close to God, and God removed his fears. In Psalm 34, David praises God for His greatness and His mercy. He tells people that if you look to God, He will bring joy and refuge. In verse 4 he says this…
Psalm 34:4 NLT
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
He freed me from all my fears!
One of my favorite stories in the OT is about Elijah. When you read about the things that Elijah experienced, his story goes from one story of fear after another. He proclaims God’s message of drought, then has to hide in a rivine. Then he moves to a village where a widow fed him. Even though she was out of flour and oil, God always made sure they could eat.
When her son died, Elijah cried out to God and he healed him. Then he faced the king and the over 800 prophets of Baal & Asherah in a contest to prove who was the true God. Even after the rain finally returns, Elijah runs in fear because Jezebel threatened to kill him.
After all that Elijah had been through and all of the fears that he had to face, surely at this point in his life he would have known better than to let fear paralyze him. Instead, he was so afraid that he went out into the wilderness alone, sat under a broom tree, and prayed that he might die.
He didn’t pull out his bible and find the perfect verse. He didn’t listen to just the right message from his favorite preacher. He didn’t even pull out his journal and have a powerful quiet time with God. He simply found a place he could be alone with God and then he prayed. While I don’t recommend praying to die like he did, all he needed to do was seek God.
Here is how God responded to Elijah’s prayer. While he was asleep under the tree, an angel woke him up and told him to eat. Then he went back to sleep. The angel woke him up to eat again. So Elijah rested and gained enough energy to continue to seek God. Elijah traveled to Mount Sinai and rested some more.
This is all a picture of finding rest in God, gaining strength in God, and spending time with God. At Mount Sinai Elijah has a one on one conversation with God. He pours out his heart and his fears with God. God even has Elijah stand in His presence on the mountain.
Clearly, after all of this, Elijah is better, right? No more fear. No more worries. Actually, the next time God asks him what’s going on, how he’s doing, Elijah just repeats the same thing. “I’ve done my best, but people have turned from you, killed all of your prophets and now they are trying to kill me.
I wonder if God ever feels like my dad did when I kept staring out the window at the storm, “Stop being so scared!
God essentially tells Elijah to go back where he came from, keep doing what he was called to do, and he is not alone. Elijah was given an opportunity to acknowledge his fear then continue to seek God until He took away the fears. We don’t know how long it was before some of Elijah’s fears were taken away from him. We don’t even know IF they were taken, but we do know that God didn’t want Elijah to give up. He didn’t want Elijah to stop seeking Him.
Our God has not given us a spirit of fear. He wants to deliver you from your greatest fear. Don’t let temporary fears paralyze you and keep you from focusing on an eternal perspective. What can mere mortals do to you! I hope you believe that it is possible for our eternal God to empower you to overcome your greatest fears.
What is fear? Fear is placing your faith in the “what if’s.” What you fear the most reveals what you value the most. What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least.
Acknowledge the fear and choose to trust God anyway, then seek Him. Seek the Lord, grow close to Him, Know Him, and watch Him deliver you from your greatest fear! What would it look like to start trusting God with your greatest fears, as you live a life of an overcomer?
No longer held down by fear! No longer held down by labels! No longer held down by apathy! No longer held down by comparison! No! Despite all these things, OVERWHELMING VICTORY is ours through Christ!
Romans 8:37 NLT
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
You are an overcomer! Know it, believe it, live it!
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