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How to Handle Your Fear | Part 1

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2021 7:00 am

How to Handle Your Fear | Part 1

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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December 17, 2021 7:00 am

In this message, Adrian Rogers reveals how to replace a destructive “spirit of fear” with a productive “spirit of faith.”

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Do you have a spirit of fear? Do you have a spirit of fear? Do you have a spirit of fear? Do you have a spirit of fear?

May not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. Now as we get into this message, let me talk to you a little bit about this bondage of fear. But before I really get into that even, let me tell you that you have to be careful to analyze fear because not all fear is bad. Some fear is good and some fear is productive and some fear is of God Himself. Now about 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said these immortal words, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Now those are beautiful words but I don't agree with them. There's a lot to fear besides fear. I would never teach my children there's nothing to fear but fear itself as long as they're rattlesnakes and drunken drivers and rapists and muggers and I would never teach them that there's nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is a productive, protective mechanism that God has put into all of us and that kind of fear, there's nothing wrong with it, it's very vital, it's very good.

It is an instinct that God has put into us to help protect us and preserve us. So when I'm talking about fear, I'm not talking about that kind of fear. And then there are other kinds of fear that you know the Bible tells us Jesus literally told us to fear on one occasion. He said, fear not him which is able to destroy the body but is not able to destroy the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Now if you're not saved you've got something to be afraid of and I'm not trying to talk you out of it.

I wish I could reinforce it today that I could show you dear friend that if you're facing a future without God you've got a lot to be afraid of. Jesus said you ought to be afraid. And somebody says, well I just don't believe in frightening people into religion.

Well I'd rather frighten you into heaven than to lull you into hell. Jesus said, fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. And then also the Bible speaks of the fear of the Lord, that's a good fear. The Bible says in the book of Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That is you don't have a modicum of sense unless you fear the Lord. Now to fear the Lord doesn't mean that you cringe before God.

Well that's not the idea. The Bible word for fear there means reverence. You reverence the Lord, you have a holy respect for God. Now an electrician, he has a fear of electricity if he's going to have a lot of longevity on the job, right? That doesn't mean he trembles every time he goes to work.

But it does mean that he knows what's in those wires and so he has a respect for that power. Now that's the idea of the fear of the Lord. There's no competition between fearing God and loving God.

As a matter of fact, the man who fears God the most loves Him the best. Let me give you a definition of the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is love on its knees.

That's what it is, just love on its knees. The Bible says the fear of the Lord is clean. It's not a filthy fear. It's a good fear.

It's a very productive fear. So we're not talking about that kind of fear. We're talking about something that the Bible calls here a spirit of fear.

Look in verse 7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear. This is a negative kind of fear that we would call a spirit of fear. Today I guess we would call it a phobia, a phobia.

We were psychologists or psychiatrists. We'd call it a phobia. The dictionary lists about 700 different kinds of phobias, beginning with A and ending with Z. Just phobias, fears of all kinds of things. Acrophobia, a fear of high places.

Some people, you just can't get them up in a high place. I mean, no matter if there's a guard rail or anything else, they just have almost an inordinate fear of high places. And claustrophobia, fear of closed places. Some people, if you get them in a room that's too small with no windows or doors, look, friend, they get very, very nervous and after a while just almost have to get out.

Other people have just the opposite. They have a fear called agoraphobia, which is a fear of open places. If they're out in an open field and there are no walls or anything to close them in, they get frightened and they get nervous. The people who have an inordinate fear of getting sick have what are called pathophobia. They have a fear of disease. Some of these people are constantly washing their hands.

Now we all wash our hands, but you know not all the time. And these people, they have this fear of sickness. I know a fear that a lot of people have called ergophobia, fear of work. And I guess the worst fear of all is phobophobia, fear of fear. Some people are afraid they're going to be afraid and so they constantly stay afraid because they're afraid they're going to be afraid.

It's a terrible thing because it's a catch-22 type of thing and they can't get out of this fear of fear. Well now, these are senseless fears. These are fears that are not productive fears. They're negative fears. They're what we would call a spirit of fear.

Now we laugh at some of these things and some of the things that I mentioned are relatively harmless. But dear friend, there are other fears, a spirit of fear that is not just relatively harmless but deeply damaging and destructive and debilitating. The Bible speaks of the bondage of fear. And I want you to see the destructive power of the spirit of fear.

And then I want you to see the delivering power of the spirit of faith. I want you to see how God will set us free and how faith can face fear and overcome, all right? Now think about the destructive power of fear, the destructive power of the spirit of fear. I want you to notice three basic things that fear will do to anybody here. I'm talking about a spirit of fear, not productive fear, but I'm talking about destructive fear.

For example, notice what I'm going to call fear and forgetfulness. Notice in verse 6, the apostle Paul says to Timothy, Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. Now Timothy was a very gifted man, unusually equipped and anointed to do the work of God. He had a remarkable gift of God, but he failed to use it.

And why did he fail to use the gift that he had? He had forgotten it. So the apostle Paul says, I put thee in remembrance. You've forgotten who you are. You have forgotten your ability. You have forgotten what God has done for you and what God wants to do through you. Timothy, you're a very gifted man, but you've forgotten it. Now what caused him to forget it was this, his fear. You see, look, if you will, and see how verses 6 and 7 are connected.

He says, Now wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands, four. Now that little word four connects those two verses. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear. Now the idea is that fear had caused him to forget. When you focus on fear, then that takes all of the blue out of your sky and you don't see, you don't understand who you are or what you can do. And that fear just causes you to forget all the blessings of God. Some of you are immensely gifted, tremendously blessed, but there's something you're afraid of and it has caused you to forget all of the blessings and the giftings of God in your life.

Because you have focused on your fear rather than trusting in the Lord and focusing on the Lord. Now Timothy at this time didn't have much to be afraid of. If anybody had anything to be afraid of, it was Paul who wrote this. You know where Paul was when he wrote this? Paul was in prison.

Now look in verse 8. He says, Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner. Now Paul was a prisoner of the Lord in the metaphorical sense in that he was a bond slave to the Lord Jesus, but he was also a prisoner in the literal sense in that he was in prison. Paul was in prison when he wrote this, perhaps waiting to be executed, but Paul is not quaking.

Notice in verse 12, Paul says, For the which cause I also suffer these things. Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Paul said, I know whose I am. I know what I have committed to the Lord. I am in prison.

Yes, I am in prison. But look, it is all right. It is all right. Paul had not forgotten who God was and how great God was. Now dear friend, Paul had his eyes focused on the Lord, and even though Paul is writing in prison, you can just feel the breath of heaven blowing through that prison. And if you are afraid today, if you are afraid today, I want to tell you, dear friend, that your fear, your fear is because you have forgotten who God is and what God has done for you.

Okay? Now let me move on and talk to you not only about fear and forgetfulness, verse 6, but also fear and failure, verse 8. Notice in verse 8, Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Now what had happened to Timothy was that Timothy had failed to share Christ and he had failed to stand up for the apostle Paul.

Why? Paul was in prison and Timothy was afraid of what might happen to him. And fear had shut his mouth. And fear had paralyzed him. Did you know, dear friend, that when we ought to succeed, many of us fail for one reason.

Because we have listened to that sinister minister of fear, the devil, rather than listening to God, and that fear has paralyzed us, no matter how gifted we are. I heard of a man whose farm was failing, whose wife needed an operation, the mortgage on the farm was due, payment on the tractor was due, the tuition was due, the banks wouldn't loan him any money, he was an ordinary farmer, but he decided the only thing left for him to do was to rob a bank. And so he tried to get up his courage. So he was walking around the block trying to get up his courage, trying to get up his courage, he had it all figured out in his mind how he would do it. He had a bag for the teller to put the money in, he had a gun to frighten the teller with, and he had a little speech memorized. And so he walked into the bank and he got all confused because he was frightened to death. And rather than giving the teller that bag to put the money in, he shoved the gun through the teller. And then he took that loose bag and he pointed it at her.

And he said to her, don't stick with me, this is a mess up. Now folks, fear will do that to you. There are a lot of people who have abilities that are unused, and gifts that are buried, and gifts that are forgotten.

And I'll tell you why. Because you are afraid. You stand up to sing and the icy fingers of fear grip your throat. There may be some Bible teachers out there, there may be some preachers out there, there may be some gifted people out there, but your gift will never be used. Not because you cannot, but because you have been intimidated by fear.

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus gave the parable of the talents, and how he gave to everyone different talents. And then there was one man who said, I took your talent, Lord, and I hid it in the ground because I was afraid. Because I was afraid. Do you know the major thing that keeps people from witnessing?

It is not that they don't want to see people saved, it is not that they don't want to be used of God. Be honest. The major thing that shuts the mouths of most of us is fear. Fear of failure. So many people are afraid they're going to fail that they do fail.

Have you ever gotten behind a person when you're driving who's afraid every light's going to turn red? By the time they get there it has. They project their failures. They are just ready to fail, and therefore they do fail, and like Job, the thing that I feared has come upon me. And it is a built-in fear that just comes upon us, and we just project it on ourselves. Now, you don't have to be a weak person to be a fearful person. Strong people sometimes are very much afraid, and I was reading about Julius Caesar, who the shouts of the enemy were music to his ear. Julius Caesar was afraid of thunder, and if it would thunder he would want to get underground in a cave.

It just would quake. Peter the Great, the great Czar of Russia, a great political and military leader was afraid to cross a bridge, and if he put one foot on a bridge he began to tremble. You see, ordinary people in some areas of their lives can be possessed by an extraordinary fear that will keep them from being what they ought to be. I wonder if you've been neutralized by fear. I wonder if there are not some of you businessmen who will never succeed in business because of fear.

I wonder if there are not people here who have been shackled by the devil. The Bible speaks of those all their lifetime who are in bondage because of fear, because of fear. Now, let me talk to you not only about fear and forgetfulness, where we just tend to forget who we are and the giftedness of God, and fear and failure that makes us ashamed and afraid to do what we could do and ought to do, but also fear and frailty. Did you know that fear can literally sicken us, weaken our bodies? Now, you're in 2 Timothy.

Turn to 1 Timothy 5 and look in verse 23. Paul says to Timothy, drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities. Here was a man who was sickly. Now, was he afraid because he was sickly?

Perhaps so. But I think it's more reasonable to say that he was sickly because he was afraid. I think he had a fearful disposition, and I believe that fearful disposition literally made him sick. Let me tell you what a well-known American internist, a doctor, said at a roundtable discussion on psychosomatic medicine. He said this, in spite of what they say, 90% of the chronic patients who see today's physicians have one common problem.

Their trouble did not start with a call for chest pain or hyper acidity. In 90% of the cases, the first symptom was fear. Fear. Some doctors tell us that an arthritic condition may be exacerbated, greatly inflamed, because of worry and fear.

You can worry yourself stiff. Fear is a terrible thing. Jesus, speaking of the last days, said one of the marks of the last days would be this, that men's hearts would be failing them for fear.

Congestive heart failure, because of fear. People who are carrying a load of fear actually have heart failure, physical problems, because of fear. Fear in your life is like sand in machinery. Faith in your life is like oil.

It lubricates life. Fear will do the same thing to you that sand will do the machinery. So look, I've talked to you about fear and the destructive power of the spirit of fear. Now let me talk to you a little bit about the delivering power of the spirit of faith. Now thank God that Paul doesn't just tell us the problem, but he gives us the answer, and he's giving Timothy the answer.

But when he's giving Timothy the answer, he's also giving you the answer. For he says in verse 7, for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Now here are the three elements that if you take them and put them in your life, these three things, power, love, a sound mind, you can have a future free from the bondage of fear. Now when I say the bondage of fear, I'm not saying a future free from fear. I wouldn't want a future free from fear. I'm talking about productive fear.

Productive fear is good. Several years ago, our phone rang in the middle of the night. I answered the phone, and it was one of my son's roommates in college down in Texas, in Waco, Texas. He said, Mr. Rogers, isn't David supposed to be coming back to school today? And I said, well, yes, he left early this morning. He should have had plenty of time to be there. I would have thought he'd be there by eight or nine o'clock. It was after midnight. He said, well, Mr. Rogers, I just thought I'd let you know he's not here. I got to thinking about that old Rattletrap car he was driving. It was a dark, stormy night.

You know all those things that go through a daddy's mind? I thought, well, maybe he's had a blowout. Maybe he's in a ditch. Maybe he's been robbed. Maybe he's been in a wreck. Maybe he's out of gas.

Maybe the car—what could have happened? He said, Mr. Rogers, do you have any idea where he is? I said, no, son, I don't. I said, please call me in an hour and let me know if he's in. Early morning, he called back. I said, Mr. Rogers, he's not here. Hours before then, he should have been there.

How are you going to find someone in hundreds of miles of road? What are you going to do? And I thought to myself as I felt that spirit of fear coming to me, Adrian, you've preached to people. You've told them not to be afraid. You've told them that God's not given us a spirit of fear, and you're afraid. Why didn't your sermon work? So I said, well, I'll preach it to me again.

It still didn't work. All that fear was there. I said, am I a hypocrite?

Or have I been preaching something that is not true? Why? Why am I afraid right now? And I realized that the fear, as I analyzed it, was a legitimate fear, that God gave me a legitimate fear that says, all right, do something. Just don't go back to sleep.

If there is anything you can do, do it. Well, in that case, there was nothing I could do or knew to do. I had to commit it to the Lord. You know what happened?

The numbskull had gone to Dallas, and in Dallas he met somebody who was looking for directions, and he's driving all over Dallas trying to help this man out. Now there's a difference also between fear and worry. I realized also I'd begun to worry, and I said, Lord, I can't do that. I just put that in your hands, and I did, and committed it to the Lord. And we'll end today's part of the lesson right there and continue this message coming up on Monday. Now in the meantime, maybe you have a prayer request that you'd like to share. We would love to come alongside you. If you can, go to our website homepage at lwf.org slash radio and scroll down to find our prayer wall. You'll find the option there to either submit a prayer request or pray for others. This resource is one of our favorite ways to keep the ministry and the community continually praying for one another's needs.

Let us hear from you today. Again, go to lwf.org slash radio and scroll down to our prayer wall. Now if you'd like to order a copy of today's message, call us at 1-877-LOVEGOD and mention the title, How to Handle Your Fear.

You'll receive the entire lesson, which we haven't had time for today. This message is also part of the insightful series, Getting a Handle on Your Emotions. For the complete collection, all eight powerful messages, call 877-LOVEGOD or order online at lwf.org slash radio, or you can write us at Love Worth Finding, Box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. We're so glad you took time to study in God's word with us today. If you'd like to start receiving daily devotions and links to our program, sign up for our daily heartbeat emails at lwf.org slash radio. And join us next time for more from Adrian Rogers right here on Love Worth Finding. Adrian Rogers said, if you woke up this morning and you're still here, God still has a plan for your life.

And I love that. He was so dedicated to disciple and equip believers for their Christian walk. And at Love Worth Finding, we are also passionate about creating and sharing resources to help you cultivate and nurture your relationship with Jesus. And we want to share our new three pack of writing journals.

You can take sermon notes, write out prayers, maybe jot down the profound thoughts from your quiet time in these practical and useful journals. We also have a beautiful new leather cover that holds the journal in our online store. To purchase yours and support Love Worth Finding, go to lwf.org slash radio and find our online store. Again, go to lwf.org slash radio. Once again, thank you for your generous support of Love Worth Finding.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 09:55:10 / 2023-07-08 10:04:19 / 9

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