Why are we here? Why do we read our Bible? We don’t come to the Bible to learn principles so that we can do better and try hard. We come to the Bible to get closer to Jesus.
What do we know about Jesus?
This is God in the flesh. Everything we experienced, He experienced… and more than likely He experienced more… how many of you have ever died?
Jesus was and is our example… when He speaks He speaks for our benefit.
Jesus knows fear.
Jesus went to the cross to atone for the sins of the world and to carry the wrath of the Father. He literally sweat blood in the garden thinking about what He was going to have to endure.
He knew what it was to suffer physically. He knew what it was like to die. He knew first hand what it was to have people malign His reputation. He experienced family thinking He was crazy to the point of being kicked out of His hometown. When He needed His best friends the most, they were asleep under a tree. He certainly knew what it was to have friends He couldn’t depend on. Someone He loved sabotaged Him, stole from Him and ultimately killed himself. One of His closest abandoned and denied Him in His hour of need. He was single, alone, broke and homeless heading toward the cross.
So, when Jesus teaches us about fear… He probably knows a thing or two.
Do Not Worry
22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
I have three questions based on Jesus’ teachings.
1) What does your mind fear?
Who, what are you afraid of.
Everyone fears. Do you fear death? Death by drowning? Public speaking. Do you fear marriage, divorce? Success? Failure?
Jesus says 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
FEAR NOT is the most frequently uttered command in the entire Bible
The first five books have 613 commands. The totality of the 66 books written by over 40 authors, the most frequent command is FEAR NOT.
This must be important. One thing is consistent
PEOPLE ARE GOVERNED BY THEIR FEARS.
What do you fear?
You can tell a lot by someone’s fears. We either fear losing the things we love or we fear gaining the things we hate.
If you fear losing children, family, money, cars, jobs, houses – I can tell from you that you love your family and you enjoy being comfortable. Fear is indicative of our desires.
When Jesus tells us not to fear we can hear it in two very different ways.
You can either hear DO NOT FEAR! Which can sound really insensitive, religious and almost completely unhelpful.
Or you can hear FEAR NOT. You can receive it as an invitation. It’s more like a loving father saying to their child, “Don’t worry, everything’s fine. Daddy’s here, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Fear is the ability to see future events without the benefit of optimism.
Fear is our response to danger that is real or perceived. Danger doesn’t have to be real in order to be real scary. Horror movies and halloween are examples of perceived danger… scary stuff that’s not actually threatening.
Fear seems reasonable to us even when they are irrational. to prove my point, here are just a few out of the hundreds of diagnosed phobias.
Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing.
Achluophobia- Fear of darkness.
Cacophobia- Fear of ugliness.
Cibophobia- Fear of food.
Coprophobia- Fear of feces.
Francophobia- Fear of French People.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666.
Ranidaphobia – Fear of frogs.
Can you pin-point any of your fears? I fear being out of control. I can’t stand the thought of losing touch with the things going on in my day to day life. For example, when I was recently on vacation, I brought my computer and continued blogging and working. The thought of getting out of the blogging habit for both me as the writer and you as the reader scared me. I wanted to make sure that I continued faithfully.
So, what’s yours? Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of expectations? Demands?
2) When does fear in the mind manifest into anxiety in the body?
Medicine tells us that fear in the mind leads to anxiety in the body.
The brain signals the release of pituitary and adrenal hormones. Your hyper thymus kicks on. Your body becomes alert and your systems start to fire. Like a key in the ignition of a car.
The adrenalin and cortasol start pumping and these become your source of energy when you are stressed or anxious. Eventually you run out and your adrenal gland taps out and gives up.
Then you try to find things to replace the adrenalin. These things include:
Anxiety manifests itself in many ways:
Nervous habits, twitches
Disassociation or checking out
Picking at things on your body
Biting your fingernails
Panic Attacks or even heart attacks
Suicidal dreams and fantasies
Wreckless, aggressive driving
Irritable bowel syndrome
Headaches and migraines
We try to satisfy our stress, depression and anxiety by:
Over eating (comfort food)
3) What is God’s answer to combat fear?
Get to know and understand God and follow His example of giving.
Jesus equates getting rid of stress with getting rid of stuff. It’s an amazing concept. He is essentially telling us that because we are trying to maintain a lifestyle that we can’t afford, or don’t need, we are stressing ourselves out. If we get rid of things in our lives that we truly don’t need we will alleviate stress and anxiety. Sometimes this is something as small as a cell phone plan, or as large as downsizing a house or changing jobs.
It’s up to you to determine what you have in your life that is causing you stress – and get rid of it!
The best way to get rid of something? Find someone who needs it. God is our perfect example and He gave His best. He gave Jesus. Many people hear giving to the poor and think of all the junk that they have that they can give away. Don’t give Junk. Give something that you love. What good does giving someone junk do? You don’t want it, what makes you think they do?
We recently had a food drive where canned goods that were clearly expired were donated. Furthermore, the donator marketed out the expiration date as if no one would notice. I don’t know what the thought process here was, but giving something that is expired and could, in essence, make someone sick is irresponsible and only caused more work to those sifting through all the donated food. This is just an example. Don’t give broken items or ripped up clothing. Find something you love and give it away! Find something that pains you to watch go and then watch how excited the person receiving it is!
I had an opportunity to bless someone with something I absolutely loved. I was on vacation and one of my best friends asked me for my hat – we have that kind of relationship. He said, “Dude, I want your hat!”. I thought – dang, I love this hat! But, then I thought – but I love my friend more. I gave him the hat and I was overjoyed when I saw his excitement over the hat. That was worth far more to me than any silly hat every could be worth.
I know this was a long blog entry – so, I’ll end now. For more on this subject, I’ll be posting the video from Axis within the next few days. Have an awesome Sunday!