Last week we talked about how fear paralyzes us, while faith mobilizes us. And in order to make it through the valley of the shadow of whatever we are dealing with, we need to turn our backs on those shadows, and face the light of God who will help us through those valleys.
So let’s think about fear from another angle. In I John 1:18 we are told that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” So what does that mean? What is perfect love, and how do you learn to live in God’s love so that you can live free of fear?
Well, we have been learning that love isn’t a feeling or emotion, but rather, a person, and that person is God. The point of this verse is that because of God’s love for His children, we no longer have to fear anything as a child of God! But that is the qualifier…are you a child of God?
Those who are children of God will enjoy God’s protection and blessing in their lives! And because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present…nothing happens outside of His control, allowing His children to rest in that confidence, fearing nothing!
So the key to living a fear-less life, is to make sure you are right with God…that you are one of His children and living life His way. But this way of living is not a one-time spiritual decision that is made at some evangelistic event…no, this is now your life…abiding in Christ. And to live in such a way, you have to surrender your heart to God every day.
When you wake up every morning, before your feet hit the floor, you have to say, “God, thank you for another day to live for You! I surrender my emotions, my feelings, and my heart to you today. I want you to control my mind and thoughts, and I want you to fill me with your love!”
Consider Job 11:13-18, “Surrender your heart to God, turn to Him in prayer, and give up your sins – even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry” (CEV).
Notice that there are 3 commands attached to 8 promises in these verses. God says, “If you will do this, then I will respond in this way.” The 3 commands are simple: Surrender your heart to God every day. Turn to Him in prayer, and confess any sins to Him.
Notice the benefits: You won’t be ashamed; you’ll be confident and fearless; your troubles will be like water under the bridge; your darkness will brighten more than the moon; you can sleep will because you are safe and secure; and you will be filled with hope and not worry!
Follow these commands each day, and your life will be filled with love and not fear!
In Sunday’s message we talked about how we are typically filled with either faith or fear in our lives. When we are filled with fear we become frozen and paralyzed…afraid to move because we don’t know what to do, or we are afraid we are just going to make things worse. But when we are filled with faith, we are motivated to take action.
Fear paralyzes while faith mobilizes! And Jesus understood this truth and our tendency as humans to be filled with fear. That’s why He told us 365 times in Scripture, not to fear!
What makes us afraid in life? It’s the shadows…it’s the potentially bad things that might happen, that we find ourselves worrying about…fearing. We fear the shadows because they are so immense and intimidating.
David says in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”(ESV). David was walking through the valley of the shadow of death…Saul and others were out to kill him, but David knew that God had the tools to protect him, and he trusted God even in the darkest of valleys.
Everyone is going through some sort of valley of the shadow right now…maybe it is the valley of the shadow of death, or maybe the valley of the shadow of conflict, or the valley of the shadow of debt, or depression, or discouragement. And shadows are scary…we haven’t like them since we were a child hiding under our covers because of them at night.
But here is the truth about shadows: First, shadows can’t hurt you. Second, shadows are always bigger than their source. And – here’s the good news about shadows – wherever there’s a shadow, there has to be a light. You can’t have a shadow without light.
So how do you get through the valley of whatever shadow you are dealing with right now? Choose to turn your back on that shadow and face the light! Because as long as you keep your eyes on the light – Jesus, the light of the world – the One who has promised to never leave you – the shadow will cease to scare you because you are no longer focused on it.
God has a mission for you, but it will require faith for you to accept it! God doesn’t want us paralyzed by fear, but rather mobilized by faith. That’s why He tells us in Heb. 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” What is God asking you to do? Put your faith in Him and go and do it today!