Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. It is fear that keeps you from experiencing what God wants you to experience. So in light of that, do you know what the most often given command in the Bible is? Fear not. Fear it 366 times in the Bible. It says that command, fear not.
That's one for every day of the year and leap year. Welcome back to Summit Life with J.D. Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. If you were asked to list some of the common sins that most people struggle with, you'd probably mention things like lying, lust, maybe inappropriate anger. But what about fear? In this special edition of Summit Life, Pastor J.D.
Greer invites his wife, Veronica, to join him as they address one of the most common and damaging struggles we all face. Worry and fear doesn't just harm you emotionally and physically. It actually destroys your ability to experience God's blessing.
But the good news is that we don't have to be slaves to it any longer. Right now, let's join Pastor J.D. Grab your Bible and let's get started. We're going to be in the book of 1st John this weekend so you can begin to find that. The whole idea of homewreckers is we're looking at some of the things that corrode our relationships and destroy our homes as outlined by the Bible. And the first two weeks, we did an unusual thing and that is we looked at what God's Word had to say about the workplace and how we ought to think about the workplace because a lot of the stress we bring into our homes comes from the workplace. But now we're going to turn our attention to focus on what I believe might be, this week, we're going to discuss what maybe the top homewrecker in American homes is. It might be a little surprising for you because you probably wouldn't pick this one out, but I've read enough recently that convinces me of this.
You ready? Fear. Fear is the homewrecker that we are going to discuss this weekend. Throughout the Bible, fear is often what keeps people from being able to enter into some state of blessing that God intends for them. Numbers chapter 13, for example, God puts the promised land out there before the children of Israel.
And it says that the reason they won't go into it is because they are afraid that the spies come back and say, oh, you don't believe this. I mean, the people there are like giants and in their eyes were like grasshoppers and that never works out well for the grasshopper. You know, we get crushed, we get stepped on, grasshoppers get used as bait. Anybody do that when they were a kid? You know, you get the grasshopper, anybody?
Come on now. You get the grasshopper and you put a hook on them and that's your bait. It just doesn't work out well for the grasshopper. And they were afraid. And because they were afraid, they missed out.
That generation missed out on that promised land blessing that God had for them. Matthew chapter 14, Peter won't walk on the water because he looks around the storm and he is afraid. He's afraid. It's not like God doesn't have the power to hold him up, but he doesn't experience that in its fullness because he's afraid looking at the storm. In many ways, the original sin of Adam and Eve grew out of fear.
Satan played on this idea in their hearts that they were missing out on what really was good and he made them afraid that they were missing out on the best and that's how he tempted them. You just go through and you think about it. You'll find example after example in the Bible. It is fear that keeps you from experiencing what God wants you to experience. So in light of that, do you know what the most often given command in the Bible is? I mean, you probably should.
If you don't get it now from that introduction, then I don't know what help I could give you. But if I asked you that question, what's the most often repeated command in the Bible and I hadn't given you that introduction, you probably will come up with a different answer, right? You say, oh, most often given command, like be holy or don't have sex or give money to the church or read God's Word.
And those are all in their place. You're going to find different commands, but the most often repeated command is fear not. Fear not 366 times in the Bible, it says that command, fear not. That's one for every day of the year and leap year.
God knew we would admit leap year at some point, so he went and threw that one in there too. Every day of the year, you got a new fear not command that you can apply. So in light of all that, it probably shouldn't have surprised me that Christian counselors identify fear as one of the top home wreckers in our relationships.
It shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. What keeps you out of God's promised land, whatever that promised land is that we're talking about, is usually fear. Fear keeps you out of the promised land of a good marriage.
If you're single, then fear keeps you out of the land of contented singleness. Fear not is the command that's given to you to be able to add stability to your life. Now, fear not is not a command that you can, right? That's not the kind of thing you can just command. If you're terrified and I just come up to you and I'm like, don't be afraid, I'm going to show you why you shouldn't be afraid, right?
You just can't command that. It's got to come with some kind of assurance. Well, when God tells us not to fear, when he says fear not, it's because he is giving that with an implicit promise in it. And that promise is made explicit in 1 John chapter 4, verse 18. 1 John 4, 18.
Listen. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment.
Whoever fears has not been perfected in love. God's perfect love and only God's perfect love can drive out fear. And I'm going to try to show you this weekend why God's love is perfect and why that alone drives out fear.
Why it's the only thing that can drive out fear. There's two things that are going to make this talk tonight or this weekend unusual. The first is that I'm going to teach you a few truths from this verse and then I'm going to spend the majority of our time applying it specifically to marriage and singleness.
The second reason this is a very unusual time this weekend is because I'm going to have my wife help me do this. When I was sharing with her what was going on in this series and I told her about this subject of fear that I really felt led of God to talk about, she said, oh, you got to make sure that you say this and this and this and this and this to women, she said, because women deal with these kind of fears like all their lives. And finally, after hearing her talk long enough, I was like, why don't you say those things to the women? And she said, no.
And I said, why not? And she said, because I'm afraid to get up and talk in front of people. So then I went over all the different verses that I was going to share about fear, but that totally didn't convince her. So then I had to whip out Ephesians 5 about me being the authority in the hole and her need to submit.
And so for whatever it took, she's going to be doing that this weekend. And so she'll be coming up here in just a little bit to help me get through this because she said that from the time that a girl's in high school, she starts asking a lot of these troubling questions. Girls start asking me and say, what if I never get married? Now, of course, guys ask that too, but we usually ask it differently. And for whatever reason, whether it's just a myth or not, guys usually don't feel as powerless as most girls do about that question.
That maybe just be something we make up, but we feel like I can actually change the outcome there and a lot of girls don't feel like that. What if I don't get married and I can't find a real job? That's a question, a fear that a lot of them have. Some girls, she said, fear that if they do get married, they'll lose their identity. I get married and then all of a sudden I just become a housewife.
All my skills get swallowed up and all I do is change diapers all day. Married women fear their husband losing their job, not being able to provide for the family. What if he doesn't take care of us? What if he's not a good worker?
What if he's not a spiritual leader? What if he leaves me? She said they ask questions like, what if I get unattractive as I get older? What if I gain weight? What if I have wrinkles? Many women fear, what if I don't have kids? What if I do have kids?
What if I have to drive a minivan? What if I can't find friends after I get married? What if my kids don't have friends?
What if my kids turn out to be socially inept or socially awkward? What if I lose a child either literally or figuratively? But believe it or not, 1 John 4.18 was for you. 1 John 4.18, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.
Whoever fears has not been perfected in love. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to try to help you define fear for a few minutes. That's what we'll do. And then I'm going to show you two ways that we fear in marriage, and on the second of those ways is when my wife is going to help me out.
Here you go. If you take notes, here's a good thing to write down. We fear something when we think it can really damage us. And so what you try to do is you try to control your environment so that you avoid these things. Which leads me to the second thing I was going to point out here, and that is that fear is usually a type of worship. Fear is usually a type of worship. Remember I've explained here that worship comes from a Hebrew word that literally means weight? You worship something whenever you give something weight. Well, see, when you worship something, you give it such weight that you couldn't imagine life without that thing. And you're thinking, like, I've got to have this for happiness.
I've got to have this for security. And so you fear the loss of that thing. That's why, by the way, the Bible so repeatedly tells you to fear God, because God really is the one, the only one, Scripture says, that holds the key to our, our joy, our security, and our well-being. You go to Proverbs 14, chapter 26.
Don't go there. Just listen and I'll, I'll read it to you. Proverbs 14, 26. In the fear of the Lord, one has strong confidence. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life that one may turn away from the snares of death. You see, there's a kind of fear that actually gives you life. It's when you realize that God alone is all you really need to depend on for life and happiness. And see, if that's what you believe, that God alone is what you need to depend on for life and happiness, and you are assured in the Gospel that he has nothing but perfect love for you, that gives you a sense of confidence to face the rest of life.
It becomes a fountain of life in your marriage, in your job, because it gives you confidence. You are confident in his perfect love and his everlasting strength, and that drives out all the other fears. That's why the fear of God, you can either fear God or fear everything else, but if you fear God, you don't have to fear anything else, because what happens is you are assured of his love for you, and you know how important and how controlling and how weighty that is.
You know that it's perfect, which we're going to get to again. So let me be clear though. The goal of this sermon is not that you don't fear at all. The goal of the sermon is that you fear God, because when God is in the right place, you won't be dominated by other fears.
You'll find they just disappear. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. You can find lots of free resources when you visit our website, jdgreer.com. This teaching series we're currently in is actually a great series to share with other people. You see, this month on Summit Life, our aim is to set you up for success with shareable teaching, along with a resource to help you reach out to others. So we've packaged together a set of inspirational greeting cards with Bible verses on the front and space to write inside for you to use around Thanksgiving and really any time throughout the year to encourage others with a handwritten note. Let's really take the time to send a meaningful, thoughtful message to someone that we care about this season. For your gift of $35 this month, we'll send you this box set of cards.
Give us a call today at 866-335-5220 or go online to jdgreer.com. Now let's return to our teaching on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D.
Greer. Third thing I want to point out about fear from this verse here, and that is that fear comes from a sense of punishment. Fear comes from a sense of punishment. You see, fear is a very natural emotion. Fear is when you feel like something can damage you, that you're in danger, you feel exposed. And that comes from a sense of punishment, get this, that you and I have carried since the Garden of Eden. The very first parents, our very first parents, Adam and Eve, had fear after they had sinned because they felt naked.
And when they felt naked, they felt exposed because that's how normal people feel when they are naked publicly. That's why it's a very frightening thing if you have that recurring dream. Anybody had this where you show up somewhere naked?
Anybody? Admit it, put your hands up everywhere, testify. Okay, I have the dream.
I show up at UNC Chapel Hill to speak to like 20,000 students and I have on my tighty-whities. I kid you not, that is a recurring dream. I don't know why, but it's not a pleasant dream. I don't wake up and be like, oh, you believe the dream I had last night?
It was awesome. No, it's like, oh, it's just a terror because that's fear, right? That's what they felt is they felt fear. They felt exposed. When you are afraid, you know you want to run from something.
But see, the issue now is we don't really know what to run to. We are under the punishment of God. You see, before Adam and Eve sinned, they were naked, but it didn't bother them. I've explained this to you because they were clothed in the love and the acceptance of God.
And because they were clothed in the love and the acceptance of God, they had no fear about their nakedness, but having been stripped of the love and the presence of God, now they felt exposed. So they know and we know that we need to run from something, but we don't know exactly what to run to. Three important things about fear. Now, let me give you two ways that fear affects our marriage. For those of us that are married or if we're not, that affects our, just our life romantically or whether we're single or whether we're planning on ever getting in a relationship. Number one, we think our spouse holds the key to our joy, our security, and our significance. So we fear them letting us down. Or if we're single and that future spouse holds the key for our joy, security, and significance, we fear never getting married. Our spouse holds something we think is essential for life.
Respect, love, security. And so your life starts to be filled with worry and anxiety about whether or not they're actually going to deliver for you. Well, what if my husband lets me down? I mean, if you're everything because they love you, then if they disappoint you and love you, you feel like nothing. And if you're single, you're like, what happens if I don't get married?
How could I be happy or feel any worth if I'm not loved by that somebody? And you'll find, by the way, if you're married that you start to get angry a lot at your spouse. You start to get angry because they're disappointing you. And you say things in arguments to them like this. You'll say, why don't you respect me more? Why don't you affirm me more?
Why don't you love and take care of me the way that my girlfriend's husband takes care of her? And then you start to resort to manipulative behaviors. You blow up at them.
You get angry. You make statements like, I hate you. See, whenever this statement comes out, I hate you, that is a sign of deep disappointment. Yes, they might be wrong in what they are doing, but the feeling of hate has as much to do with your idolatry as it does their failure. That's where that hate comes from. Disappointment is one thing. Hatred is because they have deeply wounded you on the soul level because they were your everything.
You turned them into a god. Some of you are more passive aggressive. And so you'll do this by withholding affection, withholding sex, crying, stonewalling. Or how about this one, constant nitpicking. Whatever they do, it's just never good enough. You're just always picking at it.
Why? Because you need them to be perfect. You need them to be perfect so no matter what they're doing, it's never enough. You ever heard that book, The Five Love Languages? Five Love Languages, which is basically the idea, a lot of people who are married read this book. It's the idea that married people, you have to learn how to speak the language, the love language of the person that you're married to because some people feel love through touch. Some people feel love through words of affirmation. Some people feel love through quality time. So I asked a friend of mine one time, I was like, well, what's your wife's love language?
He said, whichever one I'm not doing at the moment, that is her love language. It's just constant nitpicking. I need you to be perfect. Why do you need your spouse to be perfect? The reason you're always not satisfied is because you are looking to them to do on a soul level something they're just not designed to do.
Number one reason marriages go wrong, number one reason is you look for a security and a love in your spouse that you really ought to find in God. By the way, guys, this is not just a female issue, just in case you're thinking this. In fact, one of our pastors wrote an article this week, secular article, was talking about the fact that Western culture, men in Western culture, it's unlike any other culture in the world and any other culture in history in that in Western culture, men, their wives are everything for them. In other cultures, there's these natural kind of networks where men have friends.
But in our culture, most men don't have friends. And so what that means is that your wife is your only companion, your wife is your only source of human affirmation. Now, what's the answer for that?
The answer for that's the perfect love of God. We're going to come back to that, but that's the first kind of fear, you see. The second kind of fear that ends up coming into our marriage is the sense that we're unable to maintain control of something that matters to us. So write this down, number two, we feel powerless to control the future. We feel powerless to control the future. For many, especially women, not only women, but especially many women, what you most love and what you most depend on is in your homes.
That's your security, it's your identity, because many of you, your greatest identity and properly so is the mother of your kids. And you start to realize at some point that the things that you love the most, you actually have very little control over. And so that list of questions I gave you, what if I never get married? What if my husband loses his job? What if he's a bad dad? What if he leaves me? What if I get unattractive as I get older? What if I lose a child? And what that leads you to is worry.
Sometimes you go into depression, like this constant source of sadness, panic attacks, overprotectiveness, with your kid's jealousy over what's going on with your husband, this is a sense of constant dissatisfaction. This is the point where I feel like I've probably already said too much. And so I'm going to ask my anointed, eloquent wife to come up here on our stage, and I'm going to ask her to just let you women have it, okay? So Veronica, if you'll come up, and you'll just lower the boom. It is really ironic that I'm up here to talk to y'all about being afraid because I'm terrified.
So if that's not some rich irony, I don't know what is. I've spent many, many hours the last couple of weeks thinking about this and being scared of this moment, scared you wouldn't like me, scared you would be bored, scared you wouldn't think I was intelligent, scared you wouldn't like my outfit, scared you wouldn't like my hair, scared you wouldn't, on and on and on. I don't really know what I was afraid of though, because have you seen how JD dresses?
Someone does not know he's getting close to 40, and if you see him shopping unsupervised in the mall, please call me immediately. Anyway, like JD said, fear really is something that can take over every aspect of your life and dominate it if you let it, both the fear of things you can't control and the fear of people letting us down. So I'm going to talk about that first one first and then the second one.
First of all, women, I have to start with the truth that I've recently been very convicted about. I read over the last couple of months a book called Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elise Fitzpatrick, and one of the points she made is simple, so get ready, and that's that worry is a sin. Every time you do it over whatever it is, big or small, you're sinning against God. When God says in the Bible, most of you have probably heard that He says that or read it, in Philippians do not be anxious, in Matthew do not worry, in Isaiah do not be afraid.
It wasn't just something that was a rhetorical flourish that He said because He didn't know what else to say in that awkward moment. He said it because He knows our weakness and He knows how we're made, and He knows that not just women, men too, tend to operate in our lives as if we have the responsibility and the power to control our lives and we don't, and that is the source of true, deep anxiety. Do you know what the main problem with it is in trying to run our lives and not being able to? It's because God's power, which is available to us, we know that, it is not available to us when we start dreaming up these imaginary settings and these imaginary difficulties and situations that have not ever actually come to be.
See, women definitely have a tendency, more than men for sure, to let our imaginations run away with us. In Matthew 634, when God says, do not worry about tomorrow, because basically He says tomorrow has enough trouble of its own, that was always like really distressing to me, like is that, come on Jesus, is that like comforting? I'm confused, what are you trying to say? In Lamentations, when it says that the Lord's mercies are new every morning, what He's saying is that when you come to that trial, when you come to that difficulty, He will provide for you then, not before, He will provide for you then what you need to withstand anything.
And truthfully, because of our imaginations and how we are, we may never need that grace. Corrie Ten Boom tells a story, she's a great missionary, tells a story of when she was 10 years old and because of a tragedy outside of her family, began to realize that the people she knew and loved could also die and that really even her father, her beloved father could die. And so she was crying about it and talking to her father about it and very upset. And he said, Corrie, when we go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket for the train? And she thought about it and she said, well, just before we get on the train.
And he said, that's right. And our wise father in heaven knows when we are going to need the things too. Do not run ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength that you need just in time. I don't want to be outdone by JD with the Lewis and Spurgeon quotes.
And I did look for quotes that applied by their wives, but to no avail. So here's a great one from Spurgeon on this. Many of God's people are constantly under apprehensions of calamities, which will never occur to them. And they suffer far more in merely dreading them than they would have to endure if they actually came upon them. In their imagination, there are rivers in their way, and they are anxious to know how they shall wade through them or swim across them. There are no such rivers in existence, but they are agitated and distressed about them all the same. They stab themselves with imaginary daggers. They starve themselves in imaginary famines and even bury themselves in imaginary graves.
Women, you have got to reign your imaginations in first. That was Veronica Greer joining her husband, Pastor JD Greer, today for a special edition of Summit Life. To hear this message again or to catch up on previous studies, visit jdgreer.com. We're so grateful for all the people who have joined with us on this Summit Life journey. Your financial gifts have helped us reach so many new people with solid Bible-based teaching. And this month we're inviting you to take your support to the next level by becoming a monthly gospel partner.
Every penny you give goes to producing and distributing these messages. For your one-time gift of $35 this month or when you join the gospel partner family, we'll say thank you by sending you the box of 20 inspirational greeting cards that we mentioned earlier in the program. Call right now. Our number is 866-335-5220.
That's 866-335-5220. Or you can always give online at jdgreer.com. While you're on the website, don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor J.D. 's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox.
Sign up when you go to jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Venovich, and I'm so glad that you joined us this week. Be sure to tune in tomorrow when J.D. and Veronica Greer continue talking about breaking free from slavery to fear. That's Thursday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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