Should We Be Afraid?

Should We Be Afraid?

Between 1875 and 1883 there was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger on the frontier. He robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, he did it all without firing a shot. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can immobilize us with terror and keep us from succeeding in life. Fear can cause panic, irrational decisions and foolish actions. Fear will steal our peace and joy, destroy our marriages, and ruin relationships with suspicions and insecurity. We may have a fear of death, of the unknown, of failure, of rejection, of sickness, of being attacked, or a host of other fears. Our fears may be irrational, still we suffer from it, sometimes for a long time.

King David, who wrote Psalm 27, probably knew more about fear than any of us. He was in danger most of his life, fighting wild animals, Goliath, Israel’s enemies, and hiding from King Saul, who wanted him dead. Later on, his life was threatened by his own son, Absalom. And yet through it all, he learned to overcome his fears by placing his trust in God.

David declared in Psalm 27:1, The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?

The obvious answer is no one! Notice the way David expressed it. He did not say God will give me light, nor God will save me, nor He will give me strength. Instead, he said God is my light, He is my salvation, He is the stronghold of my life. His focus was not on what David could do, nor on WHAT God will do, but on WHO God is! That’s why he fully trusted Him, which explains why David said in verse 4, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”

There is just one thing David longs for – to spend time with God – to dwell in His house and fellowship with Him. This is the most important thing – to know God and focus on Him!

Sometimes in the world, people say success depends on WHO you know, not what you know. Well, David KNOWS God – He communes with Him daily and therefore he is able to confidently say, "Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 27:5 "For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock."

Notice the repeated reference to God’s dwelling place. These are expressions of being in the place of contact with the Lord. And because of this close fellowship, David experienced God’s deliverance from fear.

Do we spend time with God daily? Do we know Him? That is the key to not being afraid.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The closer we are to God, the less we fear.

Psalm 27:2-3 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army [disease] besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me [though I catch the disease], even then will I be confident.

These attacks were not imaginary. Still, David said, “my heart will not fear”. Can you say that!

David’s confidence was not in his own strength but in God. God was his only foundation, the Rock upon which he stood. Danger was imminent. Pressure was mounting. Severe trials were ahead. David had every reason to be shaking in fear with thoughts of “what if this happens” or “what if that happens” or “I don’t want to get hurt again”. But David was standing confidently and fearlessly by trusting God and praising Him!

Today, the stock market is unstable. The economy is reeling. The Moslems are attacking us. Corona virus has broken out. We’ve lost control of our borders and people from all over the world are coming in illegally, some with the intent of destroying us. There are riots in the streets and threats of civil war. Difficult days are here. To whom do we turn? In whom do we trust? The Government? (Now, that is a fearful thought.)

The unbelieving world does not have an answer to these issues. They are in a constant state of panic (toilet paper!). I suggest you turn off the TV rather than listen to their fear.

As Christians, we know God, who sits on the throne, who has the answers, and is trustworthy. We should listen to Him.

Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China, wrote, "It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer to His heart.”

Psalm 27:6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Instead of focusing on what we fear, we should be singing and praising with joy because of this confidence with have in God – not just within a church building, but more so in the midst of the people. Living in fellowship with God should result in praising Him throughout the day. Let us share our faith so that others will come to know Him, too!

We should seek God’s face continually – not because God does not know our needs, but because He wants us to turn to Him in earnest prayers. Prayer is spiritual warfare, not to inform God of something He does not know. May the Lord help us to pray with fervency, to pray with faith without doubting, to pray with urgency, and to pray with confidence in God instead of focusing on what we fear.

No matter what tempts us to fear, the Lord does not forget His children. The Lord wants us to know that we are greatly loved by Him! We have nothing to fear!

Psalm 91:1-16 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Yes, we are experiencing frightening times, but Jesus told us this would happen. Fear has gripped many and it brings torment to those who don’t know the Lord. Where there is fear, there is no faith, there is no peace, there is no joy, and there is no happiness. When we fear, we put more faith in the world’s system and the devil than in God and His Word.

2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

We need to ask ourselves where our faith is placed. Fear never helped anyone become victorious. It never helped anyone get through the circumstances of life. It is always the beginning of defeat. It always leads down the road of failure.

Every day, we are in a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Satan wants to control your life and mine. Every human that has ever lived has taken part in this spiritual battle. Satan is a thief, destroyer, a liar, and he creates fear. God has full authority, but He allows man to have a free will. Satan has no authority, but he wants total control. We give Satan control when we succumb to fear and walk by the flesh and not by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

With Jesus Christ as our Savior, we only fear God and no longer fear man, the devil, nor death.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is good news to anyone who is in Christ, for we, too, can say, “if God is for me who can be against me.” Now is not the time for the children of God to be afraid, but to demonstrate and tell people about the peace of God in our heart through faith in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding, and in all our ways acknowledge Him, and let Him direct our path. (After all, His Word tells us to wash our hands!)

Let’s acknowledge and praise Jesus as our Savior, our Lord, our Redeemer, our Sanctification, our Healer, and the Supplier of all our needs! Fear will vanish when we start meditating on God’s love for us and praise Him in the midst of our need.

If you have fear, you must realize, it is not from God. Rebuke fear, in the Name of Jesus, and acknowledge what God’s Word says about you, that He has given you a spirit of power, and of love, and a sound mind. That acknowledgment will unmask fear for what it really is—a lie of Satan—and bring you peace and victory. When you start to acknowledge what God’s Word has to say about a situation, then, you have set your mind on the Truth instead of lies of Satan that create fear.

Now, in case you are wondering what happened to Black Bart, it turns out he wasn’t anything to be afraid of either. When they unmasked him, they didn’t find a blood thirsty bandit from Death Valley; they found a mild mannered pharmacist from Decatur, Illinois, Charles E. Boles. He never fired a shot, because he was afraid to carry a loaded gun.

Do you have any fears? Let God open your eyes so you can see the true nature of your fear. Like Black Bart, the source of our fear is usually a trembling little demon, who is afraid of us taking off his mask and overcoming him by our faith and the Word of God.

Fear may seem overwhelming, but it is easily overcome by praising God, giving thanks, rejoicing, praying, and focusing on Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world and all its tribulations.

For that reason, Jesus said John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

However, if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you still have much to fear. You have the terrible expectation of spending eternity in Hell, a place of separation from God and all that is good, a place of continual torment, a place reserved for the devil and all those who reject Jesus as Lord.

You can get rid of all your fears by making Jesus Lord of your life. Believe in His atonement for your sin. Confess that He is the Son of the Living God. Repent of all your rebellion against God and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sin and a rebirth by the Holy Spirit. Your fears will disappear and you will have confidence in the Lord, your protector and deliverer.