A summary of a message presented at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, May 4, 2014:
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
Believers in Jesus Christ are reminded by Scripture to be confident in their faith, but often, this is easier said than done. Perhaps you have experienced difficulties or setbacks in your faith because of life’s circumstances. These are completely normal and understandable. You can be a believer in Jesus Christ and experience different degrees of hardship. In these experiences, there is a lack of confidence in your circumstances.
Where does this lack of confidence come from?
- First, it begins with a loss of focus on Jesus Christ
- Next, it continues with doubt–something is not right, and now you’re not sure about the outcome of the situation
- Finally, the loss of focus and the doubt is stirred up with a potion of fear.
A loss of focus is a huge distraction in your walk of faith.
Doubt is the opposite of faith.
Fear creeps in when faith is absent.
In order to get back to a place where faith can be placed at the forefront, you need to overcome the greatest obstacle that perpetuates doubt, and that is fear.
Fear comes from the available information, or a lack of information, which leads to a perception or anticipation of a negative outcome.
There are many different ways that fear become manifest in the life of a believer. Here is a top ten list that encapsulates how fear can overshadow a person’s life:
10. Losing your freedom
09. The unknown
Fear is a real emotion, but it is debilitating to your faith.
The result of fear, in your doubt and lack of focus, is a believer who is outside of the place where God wants you to be. It’s a place that is unsettling at best, and dreadful at worst.
Fear is not a switch that one can turn on and turn off. In our flesh, there is no such thing as an absence of fear. Fear is like a wound that needs ointment and a bandage in order to promote healing.
In order to overcome fear, which allows us to combat doubt and regain focus on Jesus Christ, there is a remedy. Fear must be suppressed with a reliance on God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fear must be met with courage.
Courage is the essence of a believer that drives the necessary change to promote growth of your IMAGE in Jesus Christ and the ability, in spite of any life difficulty or circumstance, to proclaim the good news for the Great Commission.
God reminds you of the importance of being courageous. It takes your mind off of the things that you are fearful of. He gives us many reminders and words of encouragement throughout Scripture.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Fear is anxiety and can be driven by impatience. God wants you to be patient.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.
God wants you to experience rest and comfort as you rely upon the Spirit to overcome fear.
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Fear is the absence of trust. God reminds us to trust in Him. Leave the results of your anxiety at His feet.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
There’s no need to go it alone. There’s strength and courage in numbers. Stay in a fellowship.
27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.
Trusting God in your fear leads to confidence that there will be a good result…but even more than this…that God will be glorified.
15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
What amazing courage! But make no mistake about it…your courage is far from your own strength. God provides the ability for you to overcome fear and be strong in Him.
11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
25 Don’t fear sudden danger
or the ruin of the wicked when it comes,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from a snare.
8 But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
descendant of Abraham, My friend—
9 I brought you from the ends of the earth
and called you from its farthest corners.
I said to you: You are My servant;
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
10 Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
God offers Himself to you for comfort, healing, preservation and love, which overcomes all fear. He is your confidence. He is our confidence that we will succeed in any difficult situation or circumstance.
His love overcomes fear.
1 John 4:17-19
17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines