Anxiety (merimna) - Word Study
Other Thoughts, Quotes, etc on…
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
The fear of God is the greatest antidote against the fear of man. - Anon.
Jealousy is the emotional response to the fear of losing something or someone we love.
Fear is the sand in the machinery of life. -- E. Stanley Jones
The Devil's "… modus operandi is to manipulate you with the mysterious, to taunt you with the unknown. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, fear of tomorrow—his arsenal is vast. His goal? To create cowardly, joyless souls. He doesn’t want you to make the journey to the mountain. He figures if he can rattle you enough, you will take your eyes off the peaks and settle for a dull existence in the flatlands." --Max L. Lucado
God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that he is in the midst … will be quiet in the midst of alarm. -- F. B. Meyer
We fear men so much because we fear God so little. -William Gurnall
Only he who can say, “The Lord is the strength of my life,” can say, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” -- Alexander Maclaren
Fear enfeebles. - Thomas Watson
We are so afraid of being offensive that we are not effective. -Vance Havner
Fear is generated by unbelief, and unbelief strengthened by fear. Nothing can cure us of fear till God cures us of unbelief. - Francis Burkitt
Righteousness flows from only one principle—the fear of God. - John Calvin
Just as obedience to the Lord is an indication of our love for him, so is it also a proof of our fear of God. - Jerry Bridges
The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else. -- Oswald Chambers
I know not the way He leads me, but well do I know my Guide. What have I to fear? - Martin Luther
Whatever you fear (or supremely respect) the most you will serve. -- Rebecca Manley Pippert
I am sure that our Lord is looking for heavenly-minded Christians. His Word encourages us to trust Him with such a singleness of purpose that He is able to deliver us from the fear of death and the uncertainties of tomorrow. --A W Tozer
What a man is, is more important than what he does. What he does is only a symptom showing what he is. That which a man does out of desire is what the man really is. That which a man does out of fear will reveal what he is. Whatever a man does out of hate will show you what he is within. What does he do—because of jealousy or appetite or weakness? That will show you what he is. -- A W Tozer
Not death but sin should be our great fear. --A W Tozer
Fear is the beginning of defeat. -Anon.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke
Worry and fear are sort of Siamese twins. “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear, trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” -- Arthur Somers Roche
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Many people have faced frightening experiences, and sometimes nations have passed through times of terror. One such nightmare of human history was the frequent bombing of London and other English cities by Germany during World War H. Many Christians testified that those nighttime attacks were times of great peace because the Lord was with them. In this vein,
During WWII in the midst of frightening nighttime air raids one London church posted the following sign
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FEAR OF MAN BRINGS A SNARE:
We fear man's criticism, rejection, being left alone.
What is the "snare" or the result of being ensnared by the "fear of man"? We become men pleasers and we try to do whatever it takes to make men like me. We cannot be a bondservant of God and a slave of man. If you want to walk without the fear of man, then you must walk as a "God-pleaser". You must live with the abandon that whatever pleases your Father, you are willing to do NO MATTER WHAT MAN THINKS OF ME! And you can be secure in this truth (Pr 29:25b) for God will never forsake you (Heb 13:5) but man will.
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1 Samuel 18:28-19:12
John Matuszak was a 6'8", 280-pound football player for the Oakland Raiders. His public image was that of a havoc-wreaking, heavy-drinking, hard-hitting player who was as much of a threat off the field as on. But friends knew "Tooz," as they called him, as a 280-pound puppy dog just begging to be loved.
According to Los Angeles Times writer Mark Heisler, John Matuszak was "beset by fears he couldn't acknowledge." As a young boy, he was ridiculed for his gawky, beanpole appearance. And he had two brothers who died of cystic fibrosis. The tough-guy image that Tooz had created was a fortress for him to hide in. But he got trapped there. After years of alcohol and drug abuse, John died of a massive heart attack at age 38.
The story of King Saul bears some striking similarities. He too was a monster of a man, a fighter. He was also driven by fears (1Sa 18:29). Because he tried to cope with them in his own strength instead of turning to the Lord for help, his life came to an untimely end (1Sa 31:4).
Father, no matter how big we may appear on the outside, sometimes we feel very small on the inside. Forgive us for putting up a false front and pretending we're strong enough to handle life on our own. Help us to trust You more. — Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Our weakness and fears can often be hid
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Fear in the Book of Judges - Gideon's Army
In Judges we read…
Fear can have disastrous effects on an army and especially if over 2/3's of the army is fearful as in this case! So 22,000 people returned.
Put yourself for a moment in Gideon's sandals… imagine his heart sink as he watched his numbers dwindle by 2/3's in keeping with the instruction in [Dt 20:8]. They were keenly aware that up to 135,000 Midianites (Jdg 8:10-note) were camped just 3-4 miles north at the foot of the Hill of Moreh. What was the result? Many had greater fear of man than faith (trust) in God and so they departed from what appeared to be a humanly impossible situation. How could 32,000 untrained and unqualified Israelis hope to defeat a heavily armed force of 135,000? One mighty God would be the soon coming answer. God wanted the victory in battle to teach Israel to trust Him and give Him the glory. In the Christian life if our victories make us self-reliant, they ultimately work against us and they dishonor the God we serve. What do you fear because you have failed to trust God?
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Ada Habershon wrote
"When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He can hold me fast."
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
On June 6, 1944, five thousand ships departed England for the Normandy coast and the greatest invasion of World War II. From this military event comes the story of the skipper who lectured his crew on fear, and said, "Fear is a very healthy thing." A third-class yeoman yelled in reply, "Captain, you're looking at the healthiest sailor in the United States Navy."
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Loan shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25).
The fear of God can deliver us from the fear of men.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
The Fear of Man or Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
Alas. Are we so formidable? Robert Bly, in his best-selling IRON JOHN, declares that men are petrified of female anger. Then there's a TIME correspondent named Sam Allis who says
Me seemeth the fear of woman bringeth a worse one. These comments have set me thinking (again) about fear in general. If men and women were surer of their God there would be more genuine manliness, womanliness, and godliness in the world, and a whole lot less fear of each other.
Jesus told us not to fear those who can kill only the body, but rather to fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell--in other words, fear God and fear nothing else. Moses, by faith,
When Daniel learned of King Darius's decree forbidding prayer to any god or man except the king himself, he proceeded with his regular manner of worship, on his knees, windows open,
He feared God; therefore, he feared neither the king nor the lions. His three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, faced with the choice between two evils, worshipping a golden image or burning to a crisp in a furnace, made an instant decision (Daniel 3). Fear of God made worship of an idol unthinkable. Fear of the fire was, by comparison, thinkable. That's manliness.
Uzziah, who became king of Judah when he was sixteen, was taught by Zechariah to fear God. A child who is not taught to fear wrongdoing when he is small will have great difficulty learning to fear God when he is a man. "Freedom from fear" is what Russell Kirk calls "a silly piece of demagogic sophistry," for we all have "a natural yearning for the challenge of the dreadful."
One of the nicest things any of the listeners to my broadcast, has written to me came from a little girl: "You make me brave." Sometimes I wonder what has happened to words like courage and endurance. What reason is there in our feel-comfortable society ever to be brave? Very little, and, when you think about it, we miss it, don't we? To be really brave is to lay oneself open to charges of hypocrisy, of being "in denial," or out of touch with one's feelings. Moses charged Joshua to be strong and very courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to do the thing we fear. Go straight into the furnace or the lion's den. Were those men out of touch with their feelings or with reality? No. Nor was the psalmist who said,
There's a big difference between feeling and willing.
In George MacDonald's SIR GIBBIE the boy (Gibbie) is up in the mountains in a storm. He hears the sound of the river in flood and realizes it is headed straight for the cottage. He shoots after it.
Do you feel, in spite of all the promises of God, as helpless as a worm today? There's a special word for you too:
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes … fear to whom fear (Ro 13:7-note).
One night I heard a radio preacher say that we should fear only God. But I don't agree. Peter exhorted servants to be subject to their masters "with all fear" (1Pe 2:18-note) , and Paul said that wrongdoers should be afraid of civil authorities (Ro 13:4-note) . A hierarchy of fear is an integral part of living on our sin-cursed planet. Our moral responsibility is to put the things we fear in their proper place.
A boy whose friends urged him to experiment with illicit drugs told me he was afraid they would think of him as a coward, but he resisted because he was more frightened of the consequences. A young man who volunteered for dangerous military duty admitted he was scared of being wounded or killed, but he had a greater concern about what would happen if the enemy won the war. Both of these young men did what was right because they recognized the priority of certain fears.
The Bible teaches that our greatest fear should be of displeasing God. A believer who is told that he must either commit evil or face the firing squad should be more concerned about disobeying the Lord than being shot. That's what Jesus meant when He said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
Fear is part and parcel of life here on earth. But this strong emotion can serve us well if we let our fear of God be supreme. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Shame arises from the fear of men,
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
"Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and… who will be made like grass?" (Isaiah 51:12).
Faith can break the stranglehold of fear.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
So will I… bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered (Isaiah 66:4).
Fear God and you will have nothing else to fear.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
FAITH OR FEAR — WHICH?
I walked life's path with "Worry,"
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Vance Havner wrote:
Puritan William Gurnall wrote that…
To use oaths ordinarily and indifferently without being constrained by any cogent necessity, or called to it by any lawful authority, is such a sin as wears off all reverence and dread of the great God; and we have very great cause to suspect that where His name is so much upon the tongue there His fear is but little in the heart. --EZEKIEL HOPKINS
By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil, by the fear of man they run themselves into evil. -- JOHN FLAVEL
Our help is in the name of the Lord, but our fears are in the name of man. -- WILLIAM GREENHILL
The wicked is a very coward, and is afraid of everything; of God, because He is his enemy; of Satan, because he is his tormentor; of God’s creatures, because they, joining with their Maker, fight against him; of himself, because he bears about with him his own accuser and executioner. The godly man contrarily is afraid of nothing, not of God, because he knows Him his best friend and will not hurt him, not of Satan, because he cannot hurt him, not of afflictions, because he knows they come from a loving God, and end in his good; not of the creatures, since “the very stones in the field are in league with Him”; not of himself, since his conscience is at peace. -- JOSEPH HALL
How can you affright him? Bring him word his estate is ruined; “Yet my inheritance is safe,” says he. Your wife, or child, or dear friend is dead; “Yet my Father lives.” You yourself must die; “Well, then, I go home to my Father, and to my inheritance.” --ROBERT LEIGHTON
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
COURAGE IN LIFE'S STORMS
SAID A boy to his mother, "What is fear like? I have never seen him."
Paul might have said as much, because his life was hid with Christ in God. He had learned to detect the voice of Christ. Some cannot do so, for it needs the practised ear and the obedient will. But all through his Christian career the Apostle seems to have derived comfort and strength from special revelations. Through the murky darkness of the storm, Christ's ministering angel sped to his hammock, and standing beside him, bade him be of good cheer. And there is no storm that beats on our life which does not bring God's angels also to our help, though we may not see their forms or hear their voice. The one condition of Angel-help is that we belong to their Master. We must be able to say: "Whose I am, and Whom I serve."
The Prayer of Faith. In Acts 27:24 the R.V. rendering is "granted." It signifies that Paul had asked and God had granted his prayer, and given him his request. What a promise this is! It is said of Miss Havergal that she went to stay with a family not one of whom was definitely for Christ. On the first night of her stay she wrote her well-known hymn, "Take my life, and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee." And during her short sojourn under that roof she won for her Lord the entire household. So we may claim that all who sail with us in the ship of our life shall become God's children.
The Courage of Faith is consistent with Commonsense. Even though Paul had God's assurance, he felt that he must do what he could, as though all depended on his sagacity. Faith ought not to make us act presumptuously or foolishly. Holy calm and stillness rule in the heart of him whose mind is stayed on God.
We are likely to encounter many storms in our life before we anchor in the Fair Haven of Eternity, but in the heart of every cyclone there is a point of rest; and in the fiercest storm that sweeps our world, we may hide in the secret place of the Most High, and sing Ps 46:1-11.
PRAYER - By day and by night, in life and in death, may I ever be true to Thee, O Lover of my Soul, my ceaseless Friend, my unchangeable Saviour. Into Thy hands I commit my spirit! AMEN.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Genesis 46:3 Fear not to go down into Egypt.
Probably the old man, remembering the experiences of Abraham, was very fearful to adventure himself into Egypt. Besides, was it not as though, in going thither, he renounced the Land of Promise? Therefore this special bidding and assurance were the more necessary.
When our heart misgives us, let us look out for one of God’s fear-nots. — His eye is ever upon the righteous, and his ear open to their cry. One upward glance or tremulous prayer will make Him ride on a cherub to our side, and whisper, “Be not afraid; fear not, I am with thee.”
God’s promises are fulfilled in most unexpected ways. — He had always foretold that the seed of Abraham should outnumber stars and sands; but who would have supposed that the promise would be realized amid the pressure and persecution of Egypt? Yet so it happened. “I will there make of thee a great nation.” We must not judge after the sight of our eyes, nor act on what is known as our common sense; faith is led by very uncommon paths. Trust and obey!
God’s presence in Egypt acted as an antidote to its evil, and delivered from its tyrant’s grasp. — Ah, my soul, thou mightest descend without fear into hell itself if God said, “I will go down with thee, and will surely bring thee up again.” The Divine Presence is strength to the fearful — security and consolation in life, peace in death. It was probably thus that the Father spake to the Son by the lips of the Angel in Gethsemane: “Fear not to go down into the grave: I will surely bring thee up again.” Thus He speaks to us. He is with us, and will deliver.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Leviticus 26:6 None shall make you afraid.
But we are afraid, often very greatly so. How can we be secured from the dread of men and things which so easily besets us?
We must be absolutely right with God. — To walk in God’s statutes, and keep his commandments, was the first condition of Israel’s immunity from fear. When we know that there is no cause of controversy between us and God, we feel able to count confidently on his protection and deliverance. “Perfect love casteth out fear.”
We must count on God’s faithfulness. — He has put us where we are, and we dare not think He will withdraw from us, as Joab did from Uriah. We are his partners, summoned to co-operate with Him: will He allow us to incur responsibilities in his name, and then leave the burden on our unassisted resources? Fear will yield before a clear sense of God’s might; but it is still more likely to yield before a deep sense of God’s perfect faithfulness.
We must rely on the environment of angel keepers. — When David, during his flight before Absalom, slept in the open, he believed that the Angel of the Lord encamped around him. More are they which are for us than those that be against us. The mountain is full of horses and chariots of fire. Lord, open our eyes that we may see!
We must believe that our enemies are less formidable than they seem. — They surround us with their bluster and threatenings, they come against us in embattled array; but if we dare to go forward and do the right thing in the sight of God, they will vanish like a puff of smoke. “For, lo, the kings assembled themselves… They were arrayed, they were dismayed, they hasted away.”
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
If we were not saved for our goodness, we shall not be lost for the lack of it. — When we have been betrayed into sin, in the keenness of our remorse, the fear is suggested lest God should put us utterly away. And there would be ground for the fear if we had been chosen because of our righteousness.
But since our original acceptance with God did not depend on works of righteousness which we had done, but on his mercy in Jesus Christ, it will not be undone by our failures. This thought does not lead to carelessness and indifference, but to a holy fear of sinning.
Trust Him, O suffering saints, doing his will in the teeth of opposition and hate! Fear not the faces of men; be not dismayed before their threats — He is with you to deliver you. They may fight against you, but they shall not prevail; their proudest threats shall fail of their fulfillment.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Psalm 49:5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil?
Have I not God? At sundry times and in divers manners, He spake to, and succoured his saints. Will He not come to me, and cast around me the soft mantle of his protecting love? And if I love Him, do I need any beside?
“Who that one moment has the least descried Him, Dimly and faintly, hidden and afar, Doth not despise all excellence beside Him, Pleasures and powers that are not, and that are?”
Did He not walk with Enoch, and then take him home, before the deluge came? Did He not shut Noah in, with his own hand, that there should be no jeopardy from the overflowing flood? Did He not assure Abram that He was his shield and exceeding great reward, quieting his fears against any possible combination of foes? Did He not preserve his servant Moses from the fury of Pharaoh and the murmurings of Israel? Was not Elijah hidden in the secret of his pavilion from the wrath of Ahab? Did He not send his angel to shut the lions’ mouths that they might not hurt Daniel? Were not the coals of the burning fiery furnace as sweet and soft as forest glades to the feet of the three young confessors? Has God ever forsaken those that trusted Him? Has He ever given them over to the will of their enemies?
Wherefore, then, should I fear in the day of evil? I may be standing on the deck, whilst the ship is beset by icebergs and jagged splintered rocks; the fog drapes everything, as the way slowly opens through this archipelago of peril: but God is at the helm — why should I fear? Days of evil to others cannot be so to me, for the presence of God transmutes the evil to good.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Psalm 124:1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side.
Here is an If which cannot be an if. It is never a matter of uncertainty whether the Lord will be on our side or not. For the Lord Jesus in his incarnation and death has taken his place beside us for evermore. He is always on our side, so long as we keep his paths and walk in his ways.
“Though unperceived by mortal sense, Faith sees Him always near, A Guide, a Guardian, a Defence; Then what have you to fear?”
There are in all human lives hours of overpowering anxiety, when we feel as though it were impossible to live another moment — exposed to danger, separated from dear ones, not knowing what an hour may bring forth. Then, as you look up, you find that the Lord is beside you, sharing your anxieties, and affording you his inviolable protection. You cannot descry Him by the eye of sense, but you know Him to be there, and neither man nor devil can prevail against you.
When we look back on life, as the psalmist does here, we become aware of the myriad instances of Divine protection. We were not so vividly conscious at the time; we might even have had fits of depression and counted ourselves bereft. But if we narrowly consider the perils from which we have been rescued, when we were about to be swallowed up quick, we become convinced that He was there. In life and death and judgment, Jesus, your Advocate, will ever stand at your side and “silence all who would condemn. So that with good courage you may say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: what shall man or devil do unto me!”
“Cast all your care on God! That anchor holds!”
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Psalm 130:4 - There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
Yes, thank God, there is forgiveness, because at his right hand He liveth for evermore who put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Forgiveness at any moment for the sins of a life; repeated forgiveness for the sins of every hour; forgiveness instantaneously upon confession. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent and unfeignedly believe in Him of whom the Gospel speaks. And when God once speaks forgiveness, it can never be unspoken. Fear and doubt and misgiving may question, but cannot revoke it. Based on the Blood of the Covenant, on promises ratified by the most solemn assurances, there is irrevocable forgiveness with God. Weary, sinning, ashamed soul, the fountain of God’s forgiveness springs perennially from his heart; as clear and full as when that fountain was first opened for sin and uncleanness. Take it and go your way. Even if there be no rush of emotion, or sense of pardon, yet dare to believe that your cries and tears and confessions have been heard and answered.
Just because God is so ready to forgive, there is wrought within our hearts an ever-deepening dread of giving Him pain. There is forgiveness with Him, that He may be feared. There is a greater fear in the heart of the true child of God of grieving his Father than there is in the unregenerate of the penalty of transgression. The element of fear comes back into our nature, refined and purified through the fires of love. There is no fear in love; and yet love fears with a perpetual dread of giving needless pain. Because God is a consuming fire of tender love, let us serve Him with godly fear.
“What is thy fear, O soul? The fear of that dark place,
Or fear to lose the joy of thy Creator’s face?”
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Isaiah 8:12,13 The Lord of Hosts, let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
The land was panic-stricken for fear of the coalition of Samaria and Damascus. The politicians were seeking the alliance of Assyria, whilst the superstitious had recourse to familiar spirits and wizards. Amid the panic the voice of Isaiah is heard bidding the people fear with only one kind of fear. Not their fear, but the fear of God; not their dread, but his. The apostle Peter quotes these words, when he says, “If ye should suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed are ye; and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord” (1Peter 3:15-note, r.v.).
On the prairies men often fight fire with fire. Against the career of the wall of flame there is but one resource; before it reaches the terrified fugitives they must light a fire to sweep the ground bare, that when the advancing horror reaches the spot there will be no fuel left for it to feed on. So with the heart of man, the only true preservation from fear of our fellows is an overmastering fear of our God. Sanctify Him in your hearts. Let Him be your fear and dread.
It is remarkable that Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac. And this appears to have quieted his heart in the presence of Laban. When the fear of God is strong, the thought of grieving Him, or incurring his just wrath and indignation, is most cogent in warning us from sin! This delivers us from all other fear. One of the greatest sentences a man can utter when tempted to sin or threatened with suffering for the uprightness of his life or the correctness of his creed, is to say simply, quietly, and strongly: “I fear God, and have no other fear.” Fear Him: so shall ye be established; so shall ye prosper.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Daniel 10:19 O man greatly beloved, fear not; peace be unto thee, be strong, yea be strong.
Why should we fear? We are loved, greatly beloved; loved to God’s uttermost; loved to the gift of his Only-begotten; loved to tears; loved to blood-shedding and death. It is said that Jesus, having loved his own, which were in the world, loved them unto the end; not to the end of his human ministry, but to the uttermost of what love can be (John 13:1, r.v., marg.).
Why should we fear? Has God done so much, and will He not do all? Has He brought us out of Egypt to let us perish in the wilderness? Is He so careful of the soul, and so careless of all beside? There are mysteries—mysteries of life and death, of sin and sorrow, of this world and the next; but fear not: God is ours, and we are his by immutable and indissoluble ties.
Let us possess ourselves in peace. We cannot understand, but we can trust. We may not know the way we are going, but we can lean back on the heart of our Guide; standing in the cleft of the Rock we can look out in peace on dreaded evils as they pass away together, dismayed and amazed. If only we are acquainted with God, we shall be at peace, and thereby good will come to us. They fear who look at circumstances, and not into God’s face.
And we shall be strong—strong to endure; strong to achieve; strong to wait; strong to carry the battle to the gate; strong to set our face like a flint, when the hour strikes for us to go to the cross; strong to be glad when the crowds ebb away from us to follow the dear Master, Christ:—“Be strong to hope, O heart! Though day is bright, The stare can only shine in the dark night. Be strong, O heart of mine and look towards the light”
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Matthew 28:5 The angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye!
The emphasis is on the pronoun ye. The angel meant, As for these sentinels that are quaking in dread and becoming as dead men, it is meet and natural that they should do so. They are strangers to Him whom ye seek, and are set here to do the work of his foes. But there is no need for those that seek Jesus to fear.
Are you seeking the forgiveness of your sins through his blood? Fear net be! Do not fear that they are too many to be forgiven. Do not fear that you have not the right faith. Do not fear that you will find his door shut. Do not fear that He will always be remanding you of what you have cost Him. Do not fear that He will let you drift from Him again. Ye seek the Lord who was crucified. Fear not!
Are you seeking a closer identification with his death? Fear not! There is no possibility of realizing the life which is life indeed, except through identification with the death and grave of Jesus. We must sink deep down into reunion with Him who lay there as our representative. But as God takes us at our word, and begins to strip us of all we had taken pride in; as the fear of what may be involved crosses our hearts with its chill dread — again we may be assured as we hear the angel say, “Fear not, ye who seek Jesus that was crucified.”
And when at last you are seeking to follow Him through the valley of shadow — Fear not! You will never see Him as He is, till this mortal is surrendered, and the house not made with hands entered. But it the heart faints, and the flesh fails, fear not ye, who through that mysterious change seek Jesus that was crucified, but now liveth for evermore at the right hand of God.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
1 Peter 3:14-note Fear not their fear, neither be troubled. (r.v.)
It was a time of very real and fiery trial when Peter wrote these words. Persecution was already beginning with the House of God. The first mutterings of the awful storm which was to break in Nero’s terrible atrocities were making themselves heard throughout the Roman world. The intention of this Epistle, therefore, was to encourage these scattered saints, that they might not be overwhelmed. Some who read these words may need similar comfort.
Remember, beloved fellow-believers, that Jesus has suffered; your Lord and Master has trodden these thorns before you. See, they are flecked with his blood. Would you not desire to be fellow-partaker with Him in his sorrow, that you may share his glory? It is only in suffering that we can properly identify ourselves with the great anguish of the world, or learn to comfort or pray for others. And, probably, none know the innermost tenderness and companionship of Jesus like those who daily fill up that which is behind of his sufferings. Besides, their fear is much worse in anticipation than in actual experience. Probably God entirely delivers his martyrs from those physical tortures which to onlookers might seem unbearable.
This has been the perpetual testimony of the Armenian refugees. Miss Codrington’s story of her experiences in China, and Dr. Baedeker’s statement of what he has learnt in his wide experience amid the refugees and imprisoned saints in all parts of Europe support and confirm the same conclusion. Sanctify Jesus Christ in your heart as Lord and King. Maintain a good conscience; do not be turned aside for fear of man; and when you come to suffer, yea will find the fire has lost its sting.
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!--Psalm 34:9
Perfect love casts out fear.--1John 4:18
I felt fear when I thought of going home. Because of my carelessness, our lovely console TV had fallen out of the trunk of my car and was badly marred. No, I wasn't afraid that my wife would yell at me or hit me. What I feared was the look of disappointment I would see in her face. Yet home was the place I wanted to be.
My fear was the kind of fear we should feel in relation to God. This is the mature fear advocated in Psalm 34:9 and many other Scripture passages. It is the fear of disappointing the Lord because we love Him so much, and because we so much appreciate His love for us.
The fear of punishment is an immature fear. This is the fear that is cast out by the "perfect love" mentioned in 1 John 4:18. This kind of fear isn't entirely bad, though. It's often a factor in causing a person to believe in Christ, and it may also keep a Christian from serious sin. But as we grow in our faith, we will obey God because we love Him so much that we don't want to disappoint Him. Pleasing Him will be our supreme desire.
Lord, deliver us from an immature fear of punishment by developing in us a deep awareness of Your love and a profound desire to please You. - H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
O may our love grow more and more
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
"Fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body" (Matthew 10:28).
We need not fear the darkness of this world,
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” - Isaiah 48:10
Comfort thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power? Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and he has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that he has “chosen” me. If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, he makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee. Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that he may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of his hands. Dost thou not hear his voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death he says, “Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, his presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom he has chosen for his own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is his sure word of promise to his chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say—
“Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
A BOLD DECLARATION
"Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
“The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30).
Spurgeon comments that this verse literally means what it says. God’s wisdom and knowledge are so great that He even knows the number of hairs on your head. His providence descends to the minute dust particles in a summer storm. He numbers the gnats in the sunshine and the fish in the sea. He controls the massive planets that shine in the heavens, and He deals with the teardrops that trickle from your eyes. He who supports the dignity of His throne in the splendor of heaven maintains it in the depths of the dark sea. There is nothing above, under, or around you that is not determined by His counsel and will.
I am not a fatalist, but I strictly hold to the doctrine that God has decreed all things that come to pass and that He rules over all things for His glory and good. What have we to fear? The unbeliever looks at the lightning and is apprehensive, but the Christian believes that it follows a predestined path, and he contemplates it with confidence. At sea, when the waves dash against a ship and toss it to and fro, some panic because they think that this is all chance. But believers see order in the waves. They hear music in the wind and are at peace because the tempest is in God’s hand. Why then should we fear?
In all this world’s convulsions, in all temporary distress and danger, we can remain calm, collected, and boldly say with confidence, “I know God is here and all this is working for my good.”
“Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Ps. 46:2).
Think on these things.
|How to "Neutralize" Your Fear
The secret to neutralizing fear is to embrace the threatened disaster and count it as not too high a price to pay for obedience to Christ. This attitude of faith may not totally eliminate the uneasiness and apprehension. It will, however, allow you to go ahead and act in obedience to Christ. The problem of fear is not the fear itself, but the fact that we allow it to immobilize us. Being afraid is no sin. Shrinking back fearfully from obedience is sin. Fear can stop you in your tracks as a Christian .but it does not have to. You can trust God (and) move ahead in obedience because you understand fear and know how to deal with it. (Wayne McDill, Making Friends for Christ, p. 103)
|When you fear that the worst will happen, your own thoughts may help to bring it about. “Fear,” a writer once said, “Is the wrong use of imagination. It is anticipating the worst, not the best that can happen.|
|Paralyzed by Fear
Black Bart 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 of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because a hood hid his face, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims. His sinister presence was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard. (Today in the Word, August 8, 1992)
|Fear of Ridicule
Anytime we are engaged in a work for God, we are likely to encounter the poison-tipped arrows of ridicule. A barrage of truth mingled with lies, innuendo, malicious gossip and implied threats is the normal experience of leaders. Malice arises from fear. And fear is a common response to someone else’s success. So expect to have your faults thrown in your face, your folly mocked and your real progress belittled. When this happens, by all means allow yourself to be cut down to size, but do not let yourself be dismayed or intimidated. Remember that the chorus of contempt has a diabolical conductor whose aim is to make your knees buckle. He likes tongue-tied, ineffective Christians and plays on your secret fears and inferiorities to make you one of them.
I am full of fears and chasms of inferiority. Whenever I have listened to the enemy pointing them out I have stopped working for the kingdom. Yet in those moments when I have refused to listen to him and have feebly walked in obedience, I have been astonished at what God has done with my feeble performance. - John White
A man who hid for 32 years fearing punishment of pro-Nazi wartime activity says he used to cry when he heard happy voices outside, but dared not show himself even at his mother’s funeral. Janez Rus was a young shoemaker when he went into hiding at his sister’s farmhouse in June, 1945. He was found years later after she bought a large supply of bread in the nearby village of Zalna. “If I had not been discovered, I would have remained in hiding. So I am happy that this happened,” Rus told a reporter. Throughout those years he did nothing. He never left the house, and could only look down at the village in the valley. (Today in the Word, October 17, 1993)
|Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child.
Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.
Fear is generated by unbelief, and unbelief strengthened by fear. Nothing can cure us of fear till God cures us of unbelief. - Francis Burkitt
Only he who can say, 'The Lord is the strength of my life' can say, 'Of whom shall I be afraid?' - Alexander Maclaren
The presence of God does so stay the soul and quiet the heart that fear, which hath torment, is driven away. - Spurgeon
If you are enabled to rise above fear in times of alarm then will those who see you say, "This is a man of God and this is God's work upon his soul. - Spurgeon
Live so that you need not change your mode of living, even if your sudden departure were immediately predicted to you. When you so live you will look upon death without fear. - Spurgeon
Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration. - Spurgeon
Fear is the sand in the machinery of life. - E. Stanley Jones
We are so afraid of being offensive that we are not effective. - Vance Havner
Those who would be fearless must keep themselves guiltless. - Matthew Henry
His (ED: Our Adversary) modus operandi is to manipulate you with the mysterious, to taunt you with the unknown. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, fear of tomorrow—his arsenal is vast. His goal? To create cowardly, joyless souls. He doesn’t want you to make the journey to the mountain. He figures if he can rattle you enough, you will take your eyes off the peaks and settle for a dull existence in the flatlands. - Max L. Lucado
Needy miners and settlers in British Columbia, engaged in stripping abandoned Fort Alcan of lumber, electrical appliances, and plumbing, made an amazing discovery. While dismantling the jail they found that the mighty locks were attached to the heavy doors, and two-inch steel bars covered the windows, but the walls of the prison were only patented wallboard of clay and paper, painted to resemble iron. A good old heave against the walls by a man not as strong as a football tackle would have burst the wall out. Nobody ever tried it because nobody thought it possible. Many Christians are prisoners of fears that are nothing when pushed against. Satan cannot do anything against a child of God, but he loves to put barriers of papier-mache in the path of a believer to make him think that there is no progress in the direction of the will of the Lord. When by faith we push against it we will be free. —Eternity
James McConkey recounts an illustration of the futility of fear - Somewhere we have read a story like this. A traveler upon a lonely road was set upon by bandits who robbed him of his all. They then led him into the depths of the forest. There, in the darkness, they tied a rope to the limb of a great tree, and bade him catch hold of the end of it. Swinging him out into the blackness of surrounding space, they told him he was hanging over the brink of a giddy precipice. The moment he let go he would be dashed to pieces on the rocks below. And then they left him. His soul was filled with horror at the awful doom impending. He clutched despairingly the. end of the swaying rope. But each dreadful moment only made his fate more sure. His strength steadily failed. At last he could hold on no longer. The end had come. His clenched fingers relaxed their convulsive grip. He fell—six inches, to the solid earth at his feet! It was only a ruse of the robbers to gain time in escaping. And when he let go it was not to death, but to the safety which had been waiting him through all his time of terror.
5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK—Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?” (Victory in the Valleys, Charles Allen)
|Personal Check List
Leighton Ford writes…
When I am conscious of the fear of failure holding me back, I go through a kind of personal checklist:
1. Does this fear come basically from pride, a fear that I will not live up to my own expectations or to those of others?
2. Do I remember that God has called me first to faithfulness, then to efficiency?
3. Do I trust that the Holy Spirit is working before me, with me, and through me?
4. Do I remember that I am called to be neither more nor less successful than Jesus Christ was?
5. Do I remember that God does his greatest work when I seem to be weakest? Isn’t that, after all, the mystery of the cross?
What Makes People Hesitate to Share Their Faith?
What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the fears that have been mentioned to me:
1. “I am afraid I might do more harm than good.”
2. “I don’t know what to say.”
3. “I may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions.”
4. “I may seem bigoted.”
5. “I may invade someone’s privacy.”
6. “I am afraid I might fail.”
7. “I am afraid I might be a hypocrite.”
Overcome by sin Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected. A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit. One question asked, “What is your greatest hindrance in witnessing?”
1. 9% said they were too busy to remember to do it.
2. 28% felt the lack of real information to share. None said they didn't really care.
3. 12% said their own lives were not speaking as they should.
4. But by far the largest group were the 51% whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react!
(Leighton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, p. 15, 65)
|The Fear of Man Bringeth a Snare
The pioneer evangelist Peter Cartwright spent 70 years in the work of the Lord and always preached the Word of God without fear or favor. One Sunday he was asked to speak at a Methodist church in the southern part of the United States. During the song just before the message, the pastor whispered to him that Andrew Jackson had just entered the sanctuary. He cautioned Cartwright to be very careful of what he said lest he offend their famous guest. The evangelist, however, knowing that “the fear of man bringeth a snare” (Pr 29:25), was determined not to compromise the truth. He also knew that great leaders need the Lord as much as anyone, so he boldly proclaimed the gospel. In fact, halfway though his sermon he said, “I understand that Andrew Jackson is present in the congregation today. If he does not repent of his sins and accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he will be just as lost as anyone else who has never asked God for His forgiveness.”
Instead of becoming angry, Jackson admired the preacher for his courage. He listened with keen interest to the message and felt such deep conviction that after the service Cartwright was able to lead him to the Lord. From that moment on, the two became the best of friends.
The fear of man should never keep us from speaking out for Christ. The gospel is a powerful message, and the indwelling Holy Spirit will impart power to our words (2Ti 1:7-note). Holy boldness is needed, and if we trust Christ, holy boldness will be given. - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In our increasingly dangerous world, think of what we have to fear: Ominous terrorist threats, frightening crime rates, increasing natural disasters, sobering energy crises, … God.
Yes, God. Ironic, isn’t it, that in a world full of fearful things, the single source of our refuge and safety is also the One we are instructed to fear?
Consider Solomon’s words: “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge” (Pr 14:26). Then look at the next verse: “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.”
We try to avoid life’s fearful things because they interrupt our peace. Yet we are told to move toward fear—the fear of God. For those who “fear the Lord, … He is their help and their shield” (Ps. 115:11).
Our faith in God can deliver us from the fears of the world (Ps 23:4)—but only because our faith relies on a fear that is different from worldly fear. Pr 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
To fear God is to sense His awesomeness. When we acknowledge that greatness and trust in Him, we no longer want to sin against Him. He becomes our refuge from the fears of this world. In Him we find peace. —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
Have nothing else to fear;
Make you His service your delight;
Your wants shall be His care. —Tate & Brady
Those who fear God need not fear the world
The following resources deal more with care, anxiety or worry all of which are very closely related to fear…
Octavius Winslow writes the following devotional entitled
THE LORD MY CARE-TAKER…
F B Meyer (from his book Tried by Fire) has the following chapter based on 1 Peter 5:7…
Octavius Winslow in his book Help Heavenward (Online Index) has a chapter based on the truth in 1 Peter 5:7…
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
"In temporal circumstances, God has not made for his people a smooth path to heaven. Before they are crowned they must fight; before they can enter the celestial city they must fulfill a weary pilgrimage. Religion helps us in trouble, but it does not suffer us to escape from it. It is through much tribulation that we inherit the kingdom. Now the Christian when he is full of faith passes through affliction with a song in his mouth; he would enter the fiery furnace itself, fearless of the devouring flame, or with Jonah he would descend into the great deeps, unalarmed at the hungry sea. As long as faith maintains its hold, fear is a stranger; but at times, during sundry great and sore troubles, the Christian begins to fear that surely at last he shall be overcome, and shall be left to himself to die and perish in despair… Why did Simon Peter doubt? He doubted for two reasons.
First, because he looked too much to second causes and secondly, because be looked too little at the first cause. The answer will suit you also, my trembling brother. This is the reason why you doubt, because you are looking too much to the things that are seen, and too little to your unseen Friend who is behind your troubles and who shall come forth for your deliverance. See poor Peter in the ship—his Master bids him come; in a moment he casts himself into the sea, and to his own surprise he finds himself walking the billows. He looks down, and actually it is the fact; his foot is upon a crested wave, and yet he stands erect; he treads again, and yet his footing is secure. "Oh!" thinks Peter, "this is marvellous." He begins to wonder within his spirit what manner of man he must be who has enabled him thus to tread the treacherous deep; but just then, there comes howling across the sea a terrible blast of wind; it whistles in the ear of Peter, and he says within himself, "Ah! here comes an enormous billow driven forward by the blast now, surely, I must, I shall be overwhelmed." No sooner does the thought enter his heart than down he goes; and the waves begin to enclose him. So long as he shut his eye to the billow, and to the blast, and kept it only open to the Lord who stood there before him, he did not sink; but the moment he shut his eye on Christ, and looked at the stormy wind and treacherous deep, down he went. He might have traversed the leagues of the Atlantic, he might have crossed the broad Pacific, if he could but have kept his eye on Christ, and ne'er a billow would have yielded to his tread, but he might have been drowned in a very brook if he began to look at second causes, and to forget the Great Head and Master of the Universe who had bidden him walk the sea. I say, the very reason of Peter's doubt was, that he looked at second causes and not at the first cause. Now, that is the reason why you doubt. Let me just probe you now for a while. You are in despondency about temporal affairs: what is the reason why you are in trouble? "Because," say you, "I never was in such a condition before in my life. Wave upon wave of trouble comes upon me. I have lost one friend and then another. It seems as if business had altogether run away from me. Once I had a flood-tide, and now it is an ebb, and my poor ship grates upon the gravel, and I find she has not water enough to float her—what will become of me? And, oh! sir, my enemies have conspired against me in every way to cut me up and destroy me; opposition upon opposition threatens me. My shop must be closed; bankruptcy stares me in the face, and I know not what is to become of me." Or else your troubles take another shape, and you feel that you are called to some eminently arduous service for your Lord, and your strength is utterly insignificant compared with the labor before you. If you had great faith it would be as much as you could do to accomplish it; but with your poor little faith you are completely beaten. You cannot see how you can accomplish the matter at all. Now, what is all this but simply looking at second causes? You are looking at your trouble, not at the God who sent your trouble; you are looking at yourselves, not at the God who dwells within you, and who has promised to sustain you. O soul! it were enough to make the mightiest heart doubt, if it should look only at things that are seen. He that is nearest to the kingdom of heaven would have cause to droop and die if he had nothing to look at but that which eye can see and ear can ear. What wonder then if thou art disconsolate, when thou hast begun to look at the things which always must be enemies to faith?
But I would remind you that you have forgotten to look to Christ since you have been in this trouble. Let me ask you, have you not thought less of Christ than you ever did? I will not suppose that you have neglected prayer, or have left your Bible unread; but still, have you had any of those sweet thoughts of Christ which once you had? Have you been able to take all your troubles to him and say—"Lord, thou knowest all things; I trust all in thy hands?" Let me ask you, have you considered that Christ is omnipotent, and therefore able to deliver you; that he is faithful, and must deliver you, because he has promised to do so? Have you not kept your eye on his rod, and not on his hand? Have you not looked rather to the crook that smote you, than to the heart that moved that crook? Oh, recollect, that you can never find joy and peace while you are looking at the things that are seen, the second causes of your trouble; your only hope, your only refuge and joy must be to look to Him who dwells within the veil. Peter sunk when he looked to outward providences, so must you. He would never have ceased to walk the wave, never would he have begun to sink, if he had looked alone to Christ, nor will you if you will look alone to him.
And here let me now begin to argue with such of you as are the people of God, who are in sore trouble lest Christ should leave you to sink. Let me forbid your fears by a few words of consolation. You are now in Peter's condition; you are like Peter; you are Christ's servant. Christ is a good master. You have never heard that he suffered one of his servants to be drowned when going on his errands. Will he not take care of his own? Shall it be said at last that one of Christ's disciples perished while he was in obedience to Christ. I say he were a bad master if he should send you on an errand that would involve your destruction. Peter, when he was in the water, was where his master had called him to be, and you in your trouble now, are not only Christ's servant, but you are where Christ has chosen to+ put you. Your afflictions, remember, come neither from the east nor from the west, neither doth your trouble grow out of the ground. All your suffering is sent upon you by your God. The medicine which you now drink is compounded in heaven. Every grain of this bitterness which now fills your mouth was measured by the heavenly physician. There is not an ounce more trouble in your cup, than God chose to put there. Your burden was weighed by God before you were called to bear it. The Lord who gave you the mercy has taken it away; the same God who has blessed you with joy is he that hath now ploughed you with grief. You are where God put you. Ask yourself this question then:—Can it be possible that Christ would put his own servant into a perilous condition and then leave him there? I have heard of fiends, in fables, tempting men into the sea to drown them; but is Christ a syren (a "Tempter")? Will he entice his people on to the rocks? Will he tempt them into a place where he shall destroy them? God forbid. If Christ calls thee into the fire, he will bring thee out of it; and if he bids thee walk the sea, he will enable thee to tread it in safety. Doubt not, soul; if thou hadst come there of thyself, then thou mightest fear, but since Christ put thee there, he will bring thee out again. Let this be the pillar of thy confidence—thou art his servant, he wilt not leave thee; thou art where he put thee, he cannot suffer thee to perish. Look away, then, from the trouble that surrounds thee, to thy Master, and to his hand that hath planned all these things.
Remember too, who it is that hath thee where thou art. It is no harsh tyrant who has led thee into trouble. It is no austere unloving heart who hath bidden thee pass through this difficulty to gratify a capricious whim. Ah, no, he who troubles thee is Christ. Remember his bleeding hand; and canst thou think that the hand which dropped with gore can ever hang down when it should be stretched for thy deliverance? Think of the eye that wept over thee on the cross; and can the eye that wept for thee be blind when thou art in grief? Think of the heart that was opened for thee; and shall the heart that did bleed its life away to rescue thee from death, be hard and stolid when thou art overwhelmed in sorrow? It is Christ, that stands on yonder billow in the midst of the tempest with thee. He is suffering as well as thou art. Peter is not the only one walking on the sea; his master is there with him too. And so is Jesus with thee to-day, with thee in thy troubles, suffering with thee as he suffered for thee. Shall he leave thee, he that bought thee, he who is married to thee, he that hath led thee thus far, hath succoured thee hitherto he who loves thee better than he loves himself, shall he forsake thee? O turn thine eyes from the rough billow, listen no longer to the howling tempest, turn thine eyes to him thy loving Lord, thy faithful friend, and fix thy trust on him, who even now in the midst of the tempest, cries, "It is I, be not afraid."
One other reflection will I offer to such of you as are now in sore trouble on account of temporal matters, and it is this—Christ has helped you hitherto. Should not this console you? Ah, Peter, why couldest thou fear that thou shouldest sink? It was miracle enough that thou didst not sink at first. What power is it that hath held thee up till now? Certainly not thine own. Thou hadst fallen at once to the bottom of the sea, O man, if God had not been thy helper; if Jesus had not made thee buoyant, Peter, thou wouldest soon have been a floating carcase. He who helped thee then to walk so long as thou couldest walk, surely he is able to help thee all the way until he shall grasp thy hand in Paradise to glorify thee with himself. Let any Christian look back to his past life, and he will be astonished that he is what he is and where he is. The whole Christian life is a series of miracles, wonders linked into wonders, in one perpetual chain. Marvel, believer, that thou hast been upheld till now; and cannot he that hath kept thee to this day preserve thee to the end? What is yon roaring wave that threatens to overwhelm thee—what is it? why thou hast endured greater waves than these in the past. What is yon howling blast? Why, he has saved thee when the wind was howling worse than that. He that helped thee in six troubles will not forsake thee in this. He who hath delivered thee out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will not, he cannot forsake thee now.
In all this, I have labored to turn your eyes from what you are seeing to that which you cannot see, but in which you must believe. Oh! if I might but be successful, though feeble my words, yet mighty should be the consolation which should flow therefrom.
A minister of Christ, who was always in the habit of visiting those whom he knew to be eminent for piety, in order that he might learn from them, called upon an aged Christian who had been distinguished for his holiness. To his great surprise, however, when he sat down by his bedside, the erred man said, "Ah! I have lost my way. I did think at one time that I was a child of God, now I find that I have been a stumbling-block to others; for these forty years I have deceived the church and deceived myself, and now I discover that I am a lost soul." The minister very wisely said to him, "Ah! then I suppose you like the song of the drunkard and you are very fond of the amusements of the world and delight in profanity and sin?" "Ah! no," said he, "I cannot bear them, I could not endure to sin against God." "O then," said the minister, "then it is not at all likely that God will lock you up in hell with men that you cannot bear here. If now you hate sin, depend on it God will not shut you up for ever with sinners. But, my brother," said the minister "tell me what has brought you into such a distressed state of mind?" "O sir, "said he, "it was looking away from the God of providence, to myself I had managed to save about one hundred pounds, and I have been lying here ill now this last six months, and I was thinking that my one hundred pounds would soon be spent, and then what should I do. I think I shall have to go to the workhouse, I have no friend to take care of me, and I have been thinking about that one hundred pounds of mine. I knew it would soon be gone, and then, then, how could the Lord provide for me. I never had either doubt or fear till I began to think about temporal matters. The time was when I could leave all that with God. If I had not had one hundred pounds, I should have felt quite sure he would provide for me; but I begin to think now that I cannot provide for myself. The moment I think of that, my heart is darkened." The minister then led him away from all trust in an arm of flesh, and told him his dependence for bread and water was not on his one hundred pounds, but on the God who is the possessor of heaven and earth—that as for his bread being given him and his water being sure God would take care of that, for in so doing he would only be fulfilling his promise. The poor man was enabled in the matter of providence to cast himself entirely upon God, and then his doubts and fears subsided, and once more he began to walk the sea of trouble, and did not sink. O believer, if thou takest thy business into thine own hands, thou wilt soon be in trouble. The old Puritan said, "He that carves for himself will soon cut his fingers," and I believe it. There never was a man who began to take his own matters out of God's hand that was not glad enough to take them back again. He that runs before the cloud runs a fool's errand. If we leave all our matters, temporal as well as spiritual, in the hand of God, we shall lack no good thing, and what is better still, we shall have no care, no trouble, no thought; we shall cast all our burden upon him for he careth for us. There is no need for two to care, for God to care and the creature too. If the Creator cares for us, then the creature may sing all day long with joy and gladness" (Click here to read entire sermon)
WE have here a double proverb: each half is true by itself; and, put together, the whole is forcible and full of teaching. He who fears man is in great danger from that very fact; he who trusts in the Lord is in no danger of any sort; trusting in the Lord is the great antidote against the fear of man.
I. HERE IS A VERY COMMON EVIL. "The fear of man bringeth a snare:"
1. It is thought by some to be a good; but it is in the best instance doubtful. Even virtue followed through dread of a fellow creature loses half its beauty, if not more.
2. It leads men into great sins at times-, snaring them, and holding them like birds taken by a fowler. Aaron yielded to popular clamor and made the calf. Saul cared more to be honored among the people than to please the Lord. Pilate feared that a charge would reach Caesar, and so he violated his conscience. Peter denied his Master for fear of a silly maid.
3. It keeps many from conversion: their companions would ridicule, their friends would be annoyed, they might be persecuted, and so they are numbered with the "fearful, and unbelieving."
4. It prevents others avowing their faith. They try to go to heaven through a back door. Remember, "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation'' (Rom. 10:10).
5. It lowers the dignity of good men. David was a poor creature before Achish, and even Father Abraham made but a poor figure when he denied his wife.
6. It holds some believers in equivocal positions. Illustrations are far too abundant. Men fail to carry out their principles for fear of men.
7. It hampers the usefulness of very many: they dare not speak, or lead the way, though their efforts are greatly needed.
8. It hinders many in duties which require courage. Jonah will not go to Nineveh because he may be thought a false prophet if God forgives that city. Galatian preachers went aside to false doctrine to be considered wise, etc.
9. It is the cause of weakness in the Church. It is cowardly, shameful, dishonorable to Jesus, idolatrous, selfish, foolish. It should not be allowed by any man in his own case.
II. HERE IS A VERY PRECIOUS SAFEGUARD. "Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."
Not slavish fear of man, but childlike trust in the Lord will be the protection of the believer.
1. The truster is safe from fear of man.
2. The truster is safe from the result of men's anger.
III. HERE IS A VERY GLORIOUS DOCTRINE. We may take in the widest sense the doctrine of the second sentence,— "Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe"—
Will you fear a worm, or trust your God?
Break the snare in which fear has entangled you.
Enter the palace of safety by the door of trust.
The soul that cannot entirely trust God, whether man be pleased or displeased, can never long be true to him; for while you are eyeing man you are losing God, and stabbing religion at the very heart. — Manton
- HOW TO HANDLE FEAR -
Excerpt from Spurgeon's Sermon "Fear Not"
"Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel;
And now comes the last point, upon which I shall be brief. We must, then, LABOR TO GET RID, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, OF FEAR. The prophet says, "Fear not;" thou art a worm, but do not fear; God will help thee; why shouldst thou fear? Let us labor to get rid of fear, when we are not certain we are serving our Master. And let these be our reasons:
Get rid of fear, because fear is painful.
How it torments the spirit! When the Christian trusts, he is happy; when he doubts, he is miserable. When the believer looks to his Master and relies upon him, he can sing; when he doubts his Master, he can only groan. What miserable wretches the most faithful Christians are when they once begin doubting and fearing! It is a trade I never like to meddle with, because it never pays the expenses, and never brings in any profit —the trade of doubting. Why, the soul is broken in pieces, lanced, pricked with knives, dissolved, racked, pained. It knoweth not how to exist when it gives way to fear. Up, Christian! thou art of a sorrowful countenance; up, and chase thy fears. Why wouldst thou be for ever groaning in thy dungeon? Why should the Giant Despair for ever beat thee with his crabtree cudgel? Up! drive him away! touch the key of the promises; be of good cheer! Fear never helped thee yet, and it never will.
Fear, too, is weakening.
Make a man afraid—he will run at his own shadow; make a man brave, and he will stand before an army and overcome them. He will never do much good in the world who is afraid of men. The fear of God bringeth blessings, but the fear of men bringeth a snare, and such a snare that many feet have been tripped by it. No man shall be faithful to God, if he is fearful of man; no man shall find his arm sufficient for him, and his might equal to his emergencies unless he can confidently believe, and quietly wait. We must not fear; for fear is weakening.
Again; we must not fear; for fear dishonors God.
Doubt the Eternal, distrust the Omnipotent? O, traitorous fear! thickest thou that the arm which piled the heavens, and sustains the pillars of the earth shall ever be palsied? Shall the brow which eternal ages have rolled over without scathing it, at last be furrowed by old age? What! shall the Eternal fail thee? Shall the faithful Promiser break his oath? Thou dishonorest God, O unbelief! Get thee hence! God is too wise to err, too good to be unkind; leave off doubting him, and begin to trust him, for in so doing, thou wilt put a crown on his head, but in doubting him thou dost trample his crown beneath thy feet.
And lastly, doubt not the Lord, O Christian; for in so doing thou dost lower thyself.
The more thou believest, the greater thou art; but the more thou doubtest, the less thou becomest. It was said of the worlds conqueror, that when he was sick, he puled like a child. "Give me some drink," cried one, like a sick girl, it was said to his dishonor. And is it not to the dishonor of a Christian, who lives in secret on his God, and professes to trust alone in him, that he can not trust him; that a little child will overcome his faith? O, poor cockle-shell boat, that is upset by a rain-drop! O poor puny Christian that is overcome by every straw, that stumbles at every stone! Then, Christian men, behave like men! It is childish to doubt; it is manhood glory to trust. Plant your foot upon the immoveable Rock of Ages; lift your eye to heaven; scorn the world; never play craven; bend your fist in the world's face, and bid defiance to it and hell, and you are a man, and noble. But crouch, and cringe, and dread, and doubt, and you have lost your Christian dignity and are no longer what you should be. You do not honor God. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob; I will help thee, saith the Lord." Then why shouldst thou fear?
I feel that my voice fails me, and with it my very powers of thought too, and therefore I can only turn to my comrades in arms, in the good war of Christ, and I say to them, brethren, you and I can do nothing of ourselves; we are poor puny things; but let us attempt great things, for God is with us; let us dare great things, for God will not leave us. Remember what he has done aforetime; and remember what he has done of old he will do again. Remember David the shepherd-boy. Think ye well of Shamgar, with his ox-goad. Forget ye not the jawbone of the ass, and the stone from the sling. If these worked wonders, why should not we? If little things have done great things, let us try to do great things also. You know not, ye atoms, but that your destiny is sublime. Try and make it so by faith; and the least of you may be mighty through the strength of God. O for grace to trust God, and there is no telling what ye can do. Worms, ye are nothing, but ye have eaten princes; worms ye are nothing, but ye have devoured the roots of cedars, and laid them level with the earth; worms, ye are nothing, but ye have piled rocks in the deep, deep sea, and wrecked mighty navies; worms, ye have eaten through the keel of the proudest ship that ever sailed the ocean. If ye have done this yourselves, what can not we do? your strength lies in your mouths; our strength lies in ours too. We will use our mouths in prayer, and in constant adoration, and we shall conquer yet, for God is with us, and victory is sure.
Ye trembling souls! dismiss your fears;
Be mercy all your theme:
Mercy, which, like a river, flows
In one continued stream.
Fear not the powers of earth and hell;
God will these powers restrain;
His mighty arm their rage repel,
And make their efforts vain.
Fear not the want of outward good;
He will for his provide,
Grant them supplies of daily food,
And all they need beside.
Fear not that he will e'er forsake,
Or leave his work undone;
He's faithful to his promises—
And faithful to his Son.
Fear not the terrors of the grave,
Or death's tremendous sting;
He will from endless wrath preserve—
To endless glory bring.