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The Landmine of Fear - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2023 12:00 am

The Landmine of Fear - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 21, 2023 12:00 am

Identify any potential fear that could be holding you back from accomplishing God's will.

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In Touch
Charles Stanley

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, February twenty-first. Do not fear and be not afraid appear more than any other commands in the Bible. And in today's podcast, you'll be encouraged to lean on the Scriptures to trust God and not worry about the future. Fear has plagued humanity from the very beginning. If you'll think for a moment that the first conversation that God had with Adam that's recorded is the conversation in which Adam ended up by saying, I was afraid.

From that moment on, mankind has suffered fears for all different kinds of reasons. And it's interesting that in the Scripture when God began to call some of His servants, how they responded. For example, when God called Moses, he was afraid and God and He said, Please, please, please, no, Lord.

I don't think I can do that. And God had to deal with him. And then, of course, when He spoke to Joshua, it doesn't say that Joshua was afraid, but it's interesting that three times in that first chapter, the sixth chapter, the sixth verse, seventh verse, and the ninth verse, He says the same thing, be strong and of a good courage.

Why would God say that three times in a row? With the simple reason that He knew that Joshua was about to step into the shoes of Moses that lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land and it was an awesome task. He lived with them. He lived through his life.

He lived through his death. And so, he knew how rebellious the people of Israel were. And so, therefore, there was some fear, no doubt, in him. And so, God's servants down through the years have been afraid. They've experienced that kind of fear. In fact, there are six basic fears primarily.

And you could take all of the fears and you'll find them somewhere in this list. And one of them is poverty, afraid that I won't have enough, afraid I'm not going to have enough money. One of them is death.

What's going to happen? Don't know what's going to happen beyond a death. And one of them is this whole idea of loss of love.

If I lose my loved one, whoever that may be, then where will that leave me? There's the whole issue of ill health, for example. If I get sick, suppose I get cancer, suppose I have a heart attack, suppose this, suppose that, suppose the other. All those things that happen in a person's life.

Then there's the whole issue of old age. What's going to happen out there somewhere when I get to a certain age? Will my kids throw me away? Will they toss me?

Will they say, well, you know, after all, and this is exactly what happens. And then, of course, there's the whole issue of criticism, feeling rejected by the people. You can take most all other fears and place them somewhere and they'll fit in the category of those six basic fears. Well, let's think about that and if I should ask you, what are you afraid of? Well, some of you would say, man, I'm not afraid of anything. But you know, if you and I got to talking a little bit, it may be that you'd be surprised that there is something in your life that a level or degree or a bit of fear that does influence your decision-making process, influences the way you think about yourself, influences what you do, what you don't do, because all fear isn't glaring at you like a red light.

It's there. So when we look at the sources of fear, we can begin to understand why it can be there without us thinking about it. For example, there are some fears that develop in a person's life that comes as a result of what they've been taught as a child.

For example, let's say here's a person who is scared to death of deep water because their mother said very early in life because they lived close to this creek that was deep and sometimes strong, don't get close to the water, you could drown. So what happens? This recorder, we've all got recorders, they're in our brain. And so some things that we hear, they get on our recorder, we'd say CDs or whatever you want to call them.

And so it just goes on and on and on and on and on. And unless we pull that tape out and destroy it, which we can, what happens is it just keeps replaying. Well, what makes it replay? Here's what makes it replay. When somebody says something that alludes to that, tape goes off, or when, for example, as a young lady, you would see a man do something that was not the wisest thing to do.

Your recorder's going off, see? Mother said, you can still hear it, mother said, can't trust men, can't trust men, can't trust men. Now the same thing could happen with a father who says you can't trust women.

I'm just giving you a little example. And so what happens is we get programmed very early in life. So some of that is as a result of our childhood and something that somebody has said, and you can probably think of something maybe your father said. For example, when a father says, you'll never amount to anything, I'm telling you, I know you're kind, you can't.

So what happens? The child goes through life fearing failure because the father who is the image in that young child's life, young man's life, that recorder goes on and on and on. It's amazing how people can program all kinds of fears in the life of their children and we've all probably experienced some of that. Then of course there is the imagination. That's a source of some of our fear. We just imagine things, it's what I call shatter fears, they're not real.

They don't have any real basis to them. When you imagine things about yourself that are not true, it's a shatter fear. Listen, it's a shadow, but it has the same effect as if it were true. And you see, a person with a good imagination, if a person has a purified imagination, for example, it's amazing what you can accomplish in life. But if your imagination, if you let it get impure, for example, a man or a woman can look at somebody else and if you begin to imagine, then it'll have an effect upon you if it is a wrong kind. So sometimes those fears are the result of an imagination and that imagination can lead you in the wrong direction.

Sometimes it's just pure ignorance. For example, I think about people who honestly believe they've committed the unpardonable sin. You can't commit the unpardonable sin. For the simple reason, Jesus died on the cross and atoned for all sin so that no matter what happens out there, God is forgiving of all sin. And besides, that incident in which Jesus referred to in Matthew there, could not happen again.

Jesus is not living here in the human flesh. And there are people who have blasted God, blamed God, criticized God, I mean you name it, they've done everything to the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God and all the rest, get saved, life absolutely changed, God called them to preach the gospel. There's no such thing as a sin that God will not forgive. If there were, then the cross and God's atoning sacrifice was not complete. It was almost complete, but if it left out a single sin, it wouldn't be complete.

So you can't commit it. So if a person is ignorant of the truth, they say, I've committed the unpardonable sin. You know what most people mention when they mention unpardonable sin?

One of two things or both. It's either adultery or suicide. Will God forgive both of them?

Yes, He will. But if you're ignorant of the truth of the word, for example, somebody says, well, I don't believe in eternal security. I believe you're saved today, but you could be lost tomorrow, then you'll always live in fear.

You'll always live in fear. Suppose I did that. Suppose God didn't forgive. Suppose I forgot some sin.

There's no such thing as a sin that God will not forgive. So oftentimes ignorance, especially of spiritual things, causes us to be afraid of God. Then of course, doubt, if I doubt the promises of God, then I have a reason to be afraid. For example, He says, He will supply all of our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. But if I doubt that, then I could fear being in need.

And so you think about all the promises, and there are many of them. If I doubt the promises that I need, for example, in my life, to live a godly life, then I'd have a reason, for example, to be fearful or to be afraid. To be fearful, well, suppose God doesn't meet that need. Suppose God doesn't answer my prayer. Suppose God is not with me.

And on and on you could go with those promises. When a person has a poor self-image, usually there's a fear in their life. Somewhere along the way they've been programmed to think you can't do that. And when a parent or kids, for example, criticize another child, well, you're ugly, well, what's wrong with you?

In other words, they can be brutal. If that child accepts that and they see themselves that way, they see themselves as ugly or they see themselves as not wanted and they hear this and their criticism goes on, what happens? Gets on their recorder and when somebody says, well, what's wrong with you?

Recorder starts. They begin to think of all the reasons they're rejected and all the reasons they won't fit and all the reasons they can't be accepted, all the reasons she won't like Him and all the reasons He wouldn't accept her. They're fears that go on that oftentimes we don't even realize what's motivating our conduct, what's motivating our feelings.

And so, the source of these can come, as we say, from lots of different directions. And sometimes it's because people set standards for themselves that are impossible. Well, you know, if I said to you, I want to learn to play the violin in three weeks.

Well, you can just imagine, you don't even have to imagine that, that'd be just about impossible to take more than a miracle from God to teach me how to play a violin in three weeks. But people set standards for their life, goals for their life that are impossible. And then what happens?

They set them up there, then they announce what they're going to accomplish, and then what happens? The first time something comes along that looks like it's not going to happen, they begin to fear, fear criticism, fear embarrassment, fear failure, and all the rest. So you set standards in your life that are godly, not something that's absolutely impossible. So, think about this. When you live out your life daily, it's easy to be governed, guided, and controlled by those fears that lie deep within us that we never even thought about. We don't think about it being a fear. We say, well, that's just the way I think, that's just the way I am.

Well, it may be the way you think and the way you are, but the question is why. And so, while there's a protective fear, these are all those fears that can be damaging. And when they're there, you'll never be the person God wants you to be.

Never achieve and accomplish the things in life that God wants you to accomplish as long as fear dominates your thinking. And listen, even though it's just beneath the surface, it's still there. And even though you don't see it as a fear, you say, well, everybody is normal. Well, nobody knows what normal is, what's normal. We're all different.

God made us all different. The issue here is this. The issue is, is there some fear in your life that's controlling your thinking, controlling your emotions, your relationships, because the consequences, which we'll discuss in a second here, the consequences can be devastating. Fear will cheat you and fear will deprive you. Fear can devastate you. And so, you don't want fear in your life that keeps you from enjoying the things in life that God wants you to enjoy, having the things in life that God wants you to have, achieving and being whatever God has chosen to make of you.

You don't want to allow fear to cripple you. Fear is a crippler. It cripples many people. It cripples children. It cripples adults.

And people can live their entire life. And think about this, living your entire life and thinking, oh Lord, why didn't somebody tell me that before now? As I look back in my life, I realize how fearful I've been.

If I should ask you this morning, what do you think in all of my years, and I've been a pastor a long time, and been a Christian since I was twelve. And what do you think the fear in my life that I've had to deal with most? Naturally, you're not going to say it for fear of embarrassing me. Oh, maybe you wouldn't.

It doesn't make any difference. It's something that you wouldn't think about. Did you know of all the things that I've ever feared all these years, and took me years to get over it, I feared not having my sermon ready and prepared to preach on Sunday. I mean, even when I was, and study hours and hours and hours, why would I be afraid of not being ready?

It had no basis whatsoever, and I didn't even know it for a long time. I'd dream about it. For example, I'd dream I'd come to church, nobody was there, because they thought I wouldn't be prepared.

Then I'd dream that I'd come and the place was jam-packed, and I didn't have anything to say. Then I've learned to realize about dreams, whatever the dream is, the opposite's usually true. She doesn't love me, probably loves you to death.

He doesn't love me, probably loves you to death. So I put no credit in dreams except sometimes they reveal things. And I began to realize I was afraid of not being ready. And I think, how can I not be ready?

And here's the outline, and here's how I've studied and prayed and sought the Lord. Where did that come from? It finally dawned on me, it came from the devil.

It certainly didn't come from God, because He said, I'm not giving you the spirit of fear, and especially when I've given you the message and you're ready and you're prayed up and the Spirit of God's working, what are you afraid of? Isn't that ridiculous? I bet you've got some of those. I bet you have one or two of those that maybe you wouldn't be willing to admit. Listen, and sometimes I admit things to get you to do the same thing, not to me, but just be open.

And you know what? You're not perfect. You're not perfect, you're not perfect. And so, what I want to show you is, you can get rid of them. You can get rid of them. And we get rid of them as we begin to see. What I want to show you is, you can deal with them.

If you can identify them and you're willing, you can deal with them. When you look at the consequences, you're going to want to deal with them. So, let's think about some of those consequences and how they work in a person's life. We talk about these things that don't fit who we are, and so one of the very evident things, consequences of fear is it stifles your creativity. Why, suppose I can't do that. Suppose I make a mistake.

Suppose this, suppose that. It devastates creativity in a person's life. And what happens is, they have abilities and talents and skills they never ever even began to function with and began to enjoy and began to live out in their lives. Listen, anything that keeps you from being the person God wants you to be doesn't fit who you are.

And it doesn't long in your life. And so, if it's a matter of because I doubt God, that is certainly doesn't fit who we are and it's a sin to doubt Him. And so, there is that part. But what I want you to see is this, I don't want you to feel like, well, oh, now He's telling me that I'm sinning against God because I never even thought about this before. That's not the issue.

The issue is how do we get rid of it? So I want us to discuss the consequences and one of them is it stifles your creativity. You won't think about the things that God has made it possible for you to do. And then I think also, naturally, if you are afraid, you're going to procrastinate. Now procrastinating, you know why people procrastinate? They are so afraid of doing something the wrong way or not living up to their expectation, they don't do anything. And so they become very indecisive. They can't make a decision. They can't make a decision because they're afraid I may make the wrong decision.

So here's what happens. They are willing to suffer the guilt of not doing it and procrastinating. They'd rather suffer that than to do what? Than to try and fail. So indecision, procrastination is the result of fear. Making the wrong decision, making the wrong choices.

Suppose I failed, suppose they don't like it, suppose they criticize me, suppose I get fired, suppose, suppose, suppose. You see, God doesn't want this in our life because all of these things are indeed crippling us in some fashion or the other. Well, I think about the whole idea of our achievements in life. You won't achieve much if you live afraid. You see, one of the things that makes it possible for us to achieve in life is we have courage.

We are willing to step out when it's not popular to step out, willing to step out when we're not sure, willing to step out and do what God has called us to do because He called us to do it and because we're going to trust Him. And so somebody says, Well, I failed. Does that mean you're a failure? No. Somebody says, I failed, I failed, I failed. Does that mean you're a failure?

No. Ask Thomas Edison when we get to heaven, I hope he's there. Well, what happened when you failed the hundredth time? He kept trying. And I think a thousand times or whatever it was, it took him a lot of failures before he got to the light bulb.

But aren't we glad he did? And so when you failed, it doesn't mean you're a failure. Now Satan will say you're a failure or your recorder goes off and see you failed again. And again, you must be a failure.

You're just a failure. So your self-image gets damaged and then you become fearful of trying anymore. If our self-image gets damaged, if somebody convinces us that we can't, that we don't look very good, that we're ugly, that we're unacceptable, that they don't like us, they don't want us. If we, if we accept all that, what happens? Our self-image goes down and then we fear what?

One of the consequences. We fear relationships. We fear being rejected. We fear being isolated. We fear being alone because of something somebody said, something somebody did, and we respond to that.

And I simply want to say to you, you don't have to respond to all that. God knows exactly who you are, what you're gifted and talented and skilled to do. And it's interesting how people later in life began to make tremendous advances and accomplish and achieve and invent and all the rest. After they have lived through years of fear and somewhere along the way something happened, their thinking changed.

They ripped out that old tape. And they don't believe that anymore and that they can do and they can achieve and they can be. They don't have to live in fear of failure and defeat and all the rest. God doesn't want us living with that. He says, I've not given you the spirit of fear. If He didn't give us the spirit of fear, it doesn't belong in who we are. We are followers of Jesus Christ. That means that we live on a whole different level than the world lives on. And so therefore, because we're who we are, we do not have to live with fear no matter what.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 07:08:04 / 2023-02-21 07:17:41 / 10

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