“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV)
Years ago I heard a preacher quote this verse and say, “Fear never comes from God!” I believe that statement is true, but I have also found that many people who genuinely love God struggle with fear and anxiety. If we are honest, all of us struggle with it to some degree. Some of us struggle mightily.
There are frightening things going on in our world. The stock market has recently lost a chunk of its value, and there are new economic uncertainties. The Fall of 2015 saw a great deal of tragedy take place with mass shootings, terrorist attacks, etc. In this age of smart phones and social media, when events like this happen we are now bombarded by the images in real time. We don’t have to wait for the evening news or tomorrow’s paper. It’s right there for us to see, and that magnifies our fear and anxiety.
Furthermore, some personal fears are common to many. For instance, some people live with a constant fear of rejection. Others fear failure above all else. When these personal fears are combined with the fears the news brings us, it can get overwhelming.
Can we find hope when we are afraid? All of us want to be wise and realistic, but how do we keep that from paralyzing us? How can we enjoy life when we control so little of it?
As I prayed about a new message series to begin 2016, I was drawn to three chapters in the Gospel of John – specifically John 14-16. If you begin reading the Gospel of John at chapter 1 you see a beautiful presentation of Christ the Savior. For twelve chapters, Christ is revealed as Savior and Lord. There are famous miracles and the seven “I AM” statements. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Then Jesus begins to instruct and equip His disciples for what they were facing. In a matter of hours, they would see the one they had left all to follow crucified and buried. They would be filled with doubt, anxiety, and fear until they were at a breaking point. Jesus knew this. So Jesus spoke some of the most comforting, yet powerful words in all of the Bible…
“Do not let your heart be troubled…”
Even though those words are quoted by a popular television host, they have nothing to do with Fox News and everything to do with Jesus. If you are reading this blog post, you either have recently come through a time of fear & trouble, are in the middle of a time of fear & trouble, or you soon will face such a time. When your heart is troubled…turn your heart to Jesus.
Join me as we begin walking verse by verse through John 14-16 this Sunday at Lakeside. FACING FEAR is the theme of this important message series. I preach the same message at both 8:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. service. Bring a friend and I will see you Sunday!