Black Holes are a scientific anomaly that is invisible to the eye but is identified by the strong gravitational pull that absorbs everything near it. “Spiritual” black holes are attitudes, behaviors, and actions that we may feel justified in engaging but will cause pain and destruction.
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”
1 Corinthians 10:23
Not everything we have the freedom to do in life has a positive or constructive impact on us or others. Faith in God gives us the way to avoiding and overcoming these problematic behaviors or thoughts.
Today we will look at the pervasive influence of fear. Let’s first acknowledge that fear can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
There are healthy fears like getting too close to a cliff that causes us to advance cautiously or even retreat. But, unfortunately, some people ignore this fear and have paid with their lives for it.
Another healthy fear some people have is snakes (my fear) or clowns standing on the side of the road on a very dark night (another one of my fears). Both invoke a dramatic response that should not be ignored.
But in all seriousness, healthy fear is meant to protect you and heighten your awareness of a situation that could pose a danger. Yet, it’s the unhealthy fears that we want to address this morning that can cause us to act irrationally or shrink back from where God is leading us.
Did you know that the command, “Do not be afraid,” is given 70 times in the Bible?
In fact, many of the Bible’s most courageous characters were instructed not to be afraid multiple times, including Abraham and Moses.
This tells us that fear affects even the most faith-filled person, and it does not disqualify us for service to God or as His follower.
Fear is an automated biological response to an actual or perceived event. Fear can be induced because the present feels overwhelming, the past is haunting, and the future too daunting.
We can’t control the feeling of fear, but we can choose how we respond to it. Every decision made under the influence or with the counsel of fear is always the wrong decision.
Fear is a tactic used to detour us from the will of God by getting us to ignore the Word of God.
Having faith doesn’t mean fear won’t appear. Sometimes, living by faith means we have to do it afraid.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Having a spirit of power, love, and self-disciple means that we have a different way of responding to fear.
- How many opportunities has God sent our way, but we declined because of fear?
- How many chances have we not taken because of fear?
So how do we avoid being sucked into fear?
Unhealthy fear is all about our perception. In Isaiah 41:1-10, God gives a formula for responding to fear.
#1 God is sovereign and in control.
In verses 2-4, God boldly affirms that He is the one who raises kings and kingdoms. They do His bidding, carry out His purposes. God is sovereign and completely in control of every detail and does so without compromising mankind’s free will.
#2 The Israelites need to be reminded that their enemies are powerless against God.
Isaiah explains how people who live apart from God are dependent on their own strength, might, and ability. Even when they join forces with others, they are still unable to thwart the purposes of God.
#3 God chose you!
When God chooses you, your value isn’t based on what you have, who you are, or the abilities or achievements attached to your name, but it is God who defines your worth. And we secure our valuables, right?
When we buy a new car, we clear out the garage of stuff we forgot about and park our car in the garage. Or we place valuables in a safe or safety deposit box. You are not a commodity to be traded by God but a treasure to be secured.
Psalm 17:8 says that God will hide you in the shadow of His wings.So for your enemies to get to you, they have to go through God!
When fear attempts to convince you that your end is near, remember that God is faithful even when we are faithless! God is sovereign and in control. Your enemies are no match for God, and you are valuable because God has chosen you!