Overcoming a Season of Fear
By Phillip Greene
With everything that is going on around us and the “spirit” of the season we are in, something we all need to be aware of is fear. What should we be afraid of? What are we doing with our fear? What is causing our fear?
So many questions we could ask ourselves during these times, but one thing that has continued to bless me, and I hope will bless you, is the reminder that Christ gives to His followers in Luke 12. Jesus gives warning of religious hypocrisy to the disciples. A crowd has gathered and in such numbers that they are beginning to trample one another…and Jesus speaks to His followers and tells them to be aware and on guard against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
He then continues to remind them that anything covered will be uncovered, everything hidden will be made known, and whatever is done in the dark will be brought to light. Essentially He is saying to them, live out what you say publicly. Then, maybe the most important statement made at this time, Jesus says to them, “And I say to you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear; Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath the power to cast into hell, yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.” (Luke 12:4-5)
First, Jesus calls them friends; implying that He cares for them and is giving them information that will be useful as they go about their lives. What, or Whom, should we be afraid of? According to Jesus, we should fear God and only God. He reminds them that though death is possible at the hands of those who disagree, they can do no more than taking a life; but God…God has the power to kill the body and cast the soul into hell. That is what we should fear.
But, nonetheless, we are afraid. What is causing us to fear? There are likely many causes, but I believe it comes down to one…Selfishness. We are afraid of what might happen to us. We are using that fear to drive our emotions and actions. We are afraid something might be uncomfortable and difficult, so we adjust to “protect” ourselves. We seek to find ways to back down to save our lives on earth…what does Jesus say? “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:38-39)
The answer: Nothing. If you want to save your life, you will lose it for the sake of the Gospel (Mark 8:35).
The first thing Jesus tells us to do is deny ourselves (Mark 8:34). If we want to follow Him we must deny ourselves. Certainly a difference in opinion from the trend of the day, which is to take care of self first, then, if there’s anything left you to help others. Jesus said if you want to follow Him you must deny self, take up the cross, and follow; it starts with self-denial – denying ourselves of the selfish, fleshly desires that are hindering our growth with God. We must deny the flesh…or we will never follow as we are intended.
What are we afraid of? We are afraid of losing control. We are afraid of what others might be able to do to us. We are afraid of being less than we have built ourselves up to be. We are afraid of not being important or known. We are afraid of everything but the Creator, who has the power to send us to hell…and He is who Jesus told us to fear.
So things might be a little uncomfortable. Things might take you out of the area where you feel safe and secure, but Jesus said we would have troubles. He warned that He was hated and we will be also. He said it won’t be comfortable or easy, but to have no fear (John 16). Ultimately, Jesus also proved this with His actions, going to the cross…no matter how uncomfortable it may have been.
So, let us today look to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:2-4)
How do we overcome? We don’t, because He has. So, set your mind on Him today; because, some 2,000 years ago, He set His mind on you.
Phillip Greene has been Pastor at Newland Christian Church since 2016. He has been Station Manager at Glory1130 in Newland since 2012 and is active in the local community as a Coach and Public Address Announcer for Avery Athletics. You can access Newland’s sermons online at www.newlandchristianchurch.com/sermons or an archive of his articles at phillipgreene.wordpress.com