The last couple of days I’ve written about confronting fears. First, we acknowledge the baggage we all carry and how we’ve been formed by that baggage. Second, we recognize the fears we carry around as a result of our formative experiences. Whether it be a fear of failure, loneliness, sickness, death or the unknown, we all have fears.
Our response to those fears is to turn them over to God. Just digging deeper within ourselves doesn’t work long term. Paul told Timothy God had poured out a spirit of “power, love and self-discipline.” Likewise, God pours out His spirit on us with the strength to combat our fears. He doesn’t promise to remove the source of our fears, or smooth the road for us, but He helps us in our weakness.
Before we move on to the last part, freedom, you might be interested in viewing the actual sermons:
July 9th – Confronting Fears – Identity
July 16th – Confronting Fears
July 23rd – Confronting Fears – Freedom
If we confront our fears through God’s strength, we are set free. Paul wrote about freedom to the Galatians when he explained they were no longer bound by the religious laws that required, among other things, circumcision. It’s always tempting to bring back legalism or religious rules, because it gives us something to measure.
Instead, we’ve been set free. What does that freedom look like? It’s a freedom to serve, love and live.
If we’re no longer bound by religious obligation, we are set free to serve for the right reasons. Too many people feel compelled to serve in order to get “saved” or please some religious authority in their lives.
What if we served for the sake of serving others? That’s what freedom in Christ does. We get to bless others simply because it’s part of our nature.
We’re also freed to truly love others. If our relationship with other people is unshackled from fears about what they think of us, or what they can do for us, we’re free to love unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what they think or do back, we can simply love.
[Note: that isn’t relationship advice above. You are not called to be abused or treated poorly by others; please don’t misunderstand what I’m writing. I’m talking more broadly about loving and caring for the people around us and NOT telling people to stay in abusive or unhealthy situations.]
We’re also set free to live. A life lived in fear is a life cut short. It’s a life cut short for two reasons:
First, if you live in fear, you’re probably not living out God’s call on your life. He often asks us to step into difficult and scary situations. A life lived running from that call cuts short what God intended for you.
Second, if you live in fear, you’re probably bottling up that fear and eventually it manifests itself in physical and psychological symptoms. You will deal with fear one way or another. The unhealthy way will literally shorten your lifespan.
Putting it together
Put it all together and what you have is this: God desires to set you free from fear so you can serve, love and live.