• Word Of Life Church

“NO FEAR” Part 4

—Sunday Sermon—


Facing Fears “ONE STEP AT A TIME”

Let me begin with a list of some fears.

A LIST OF COMMON FEARS

Social Fears

These seem to be the most common kind fear.

They are tied closely to self-consciousness.

The fear being judged may tempt us to avoid social situations. When in the presence of others you may be tempted not to talk, eat, etc. for fear of being judged, evaluated or talked about.

Interestingly, 1 in 20 people supposedly have a social fear. 

Overall, fear of Public Speaking is America's biggest phobia - 25.3% say that they fear speaking in front of a crowd.

As Jesus said to the Disciples in the boat during a storm when they thought he was a ghost: 

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”-Matthew 14:27

The first step in dealing with fears is to remember the presence of Jesus by your side.

Open spaces (Agoraphobia) 

This can actually trap people in their homes.

Enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia)

Most people experience the feeling of being trapped to one degree of another. 

But those with this fear experience extreme panic in small spaces. This is part of the reason that many people do not like wrestling.

Heights (Acrophobia)

Most people have a normal experience of this at their own personal height limit. 

Flying (Pteromerhanophobia) 

Even though the chances of being struck by lightning are higher than dying in a plane crash, about 25% of people have this fear.

Insects (Entomophobia) 

They are small, crawl, often bite and when you can see their little faces, their eyes and mouth can look scary.

Snakes (Ophidiophobia) 

Many people can identify with Indiana Jones’ famous line, "I hate snakes"?

The great thing about snakes is that if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.

Dogs (Cynophobia) 

Often from a bad experience when young.

Adding to that the fact that dogs can sense our fear makes it hard to overcome for many people. 

Storms (Astraphobia) 

The loud, sudden sound of thunder can cause us all to jump even when we know it may be coming. 

Typically only the lightning is dangerous and the chances of being struck is 1 in 500,000.

Needles (Trypanophobia) 

Once again often from a bad previous experience of pain. 

But needles are typically worth the pain, as in the long run they give us medicine or information about what procedures will be helpful for our health. (Note: That the pain from the needle is usually very short-term).

As Jesus said to the Disciples in the boat during a storm when they thought he was a ghost: 

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”-Matthew 14:27

· Just for fun (though for 7.6% of people it is not fun), Clowns (7.6% feared) are officially scarier than Ghosts(7.3%feared), but Zombies are scarier than both coming in at 8.9% of those surveyed.

Fear of Failure

This is tied closely to being rejected, not measuring up, disappointing others, being laughed at, etc.

This eats away at one’s self-image and rivals the biblical angle of seeing yourself based upon God’s view of you rather than the views of others. 

You are unconditionally loved and accepted by God. 

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

This will exhaust you.

This will cause jealousy and envy.

This will ruin relationships.

FOBU (Fear Of Being Unprepared)

This is the home for the Perfectionist.

This leads to overplanning (or should I say trying to over-control)

While planning is good, fear can ruin plans and relationship of anyone who is getting in the way of your plans. 

This leads to blaming and being accusatory towards others. 

The answer for overcoming any of these fears is simply “starting” the process of “facing” them with the help of God “One step at a time”.

Danger causes the brain to react instantly. 

Signals activate the nervous system causing physical responses like a faster heartbeat, faster breathing, and increased blood pressure. Blood pumps to muscle groups to prepare the body for physical action (such as running or fighting). We will sweat to keep our body cool. Sometimes we feel changes in our stomach, head, chest, legs, or hands. 

Jesus experienced this in the Garden of Gethsemane when he sweated drops of blood because of the intense anticipation of his crucifixion the next day. 

We are all familiar with the natural response from anticipated danger known as "fight or flight". 

We can all thank God that Jesus did not choose “Flight”. Instead he chose to “Fight”. 

And “Fight” he did, conquering death, the Devil and the power of sin that previously separated us from God. He fought and won. Because he did, anyone who believes in his death and resurrection has the promise of never having to face a “Guilty” verdict on Judgement Day. We are freely forgiven by his grace.

G   God’s

R   Riches

A    At

C   Christ’s

E   Expense 

“It is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8,9 [Boasting is usually about confidence in something. But no one should think that they can stand before God with “confidence” that they have done enough to pay for their own sins. Though many people do, this verse says that they should not. For if they could then Jesus died for nothing.]

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for IF [And it cannot] righteousness came by the law[Obeying the law through good works] then Christ is dead in vain.” [Meaning that Jesus’ death has no value] - Galatians 2:21

God has given us the answer to the greatest fear that we could possibly have (Fear of Judgement by God at end of our life). The answer is “Do not be afraid”! The perfect love and work of Jesus on the cross should take away our natural fear of judgement. 

Perfect love [The person of Jesus] drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment[By God on Judgement Day] The one who fears [Being Judged guilty by God] is not made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18 [The love of God who so loved the world that he sent his on and only Son Jesus to die on the cross to forgive us of our sins.]

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son[Jesus]that whoever believes in him shall not perish [Be separated from God in hell.] but have eternal life[In Heaven] 17 For God did notsend his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

-John 3:16,17. [Jesus does not condemn, he saves. We are born by nature sinful and spiritually separated from God by Original Sin. We are born condemned. There is only one change that can happen to us spiritually. We can become UNCONDEMNED or SAVED. Jesus came to earth, died and resurrected to take care of that problem for us, something that we could not do for ourselves by doing good works. So, you have nothing to spiritually fear as it relates to God. He loves you, forgives you and wants to spend your eternity with you.]

This is a perfect example of facing that fear one step at a time. Satan (who is the false accuser) will continually try to plague you with the fear that God will or has already abandoned you. But God has not, not ever will. 

“One step at a time” we walk in that confidence. 

“One step at a time” we trust in what God says rather than what we feel.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways [Even your “Plans”] acknowledge him, [Remember God and spiritual things in your “Plans”] and he will make straight [it will go as smooth as he can go in an imperfect world] your paths.” 

- Proverbs 3:5,6

Plan to walk with FAITH “One step at a time” because FEAR wants to walk with you one step at a time as well. 

And FEAR is not a good hiking partner.

Fears often causes us to worry, feel upset and avoid having to face situations that we fear.

Don’t let fears interfere with your normal activities. 

Fear is exhausting. 

It can bring great disappointment and cause us to miss out on opportunities because of it holding us back. 

Don’t beat yourself up for having fears, your fears are beating you up enough already… Most of your fears are NOT your fault.

Here is how the chemistry of the body works relating to fear. A tiny brain structure called the amygdala keeps track of experiences that trigger strong emotions. 

Once a certain thing or situation triggers a strong fear reaction, the amygdala warns the person by triggering a fear reaction every time the fearful thing is encountered  (or even thought about).

Its automatic and will continue to be so unless we understand the fear and the natural response of our body to it and reprogram our minds and rethinking the situation with the help of the Lord. He will help us to face them.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING [Re-thinking, Re-programming, Re-training, etc] of your mind. 

-Romans 12:2

In all of your plans, be aware of your fears, and don’t let them effect your future.

Remember that having fears is NOT a sign of weakness or immaturity. 

It is a response the brain has learned in an attempt to protect you. 

Think of the brain as an alert system that triggers an alarm.

Pray and think through whether that “Alarm” is a “False Alarm”.  

Gradually facing fears is not easy when it is YOUR fear that you are facing. 

It takes willingness and bravery. 

And you are brave. You can be brave.

Some areas may need the outside help of a Counselor or a Pastor to help navigate through the process, but you can get through it “One step at a time”.

If you were to focus on just one fear and made a list of fears from least-to-worst that are associated with it, what would it look like?

Taking fear of dogs for example, your list from Least-to-most might begin with the fact that simply thinking about dogs makes you afraid, then seeing a picture of a dog, then seeing a real dog, then standing near someone who is petting a dog that is on a leash, then being next to a dog that is on a leash, then the owner asking you to pet their dog, seeing a dog that is not on a leash, seeing that dog run towards you, then feeling that dog attack you, then finally laying on a hospital bed calling for Pastor Dave to pray with you right before you die of your extensive dogs inflicted, fatal wounds and lacerations. 

Does that seem extreme? 

To most people, yes, but not to those who have a real fear of dogs. They see every dog as a threat to their life.

This process of listing “Least-to-worst” fears in any one areas of fears can be helpful with any fear that you may have.

Slowly dealing with each level of the fear and evaluating the likelihood of it actually taking place is a start to facing fears “One step at a time”.

We deal with fears one step at a time like we deal with living one day at a time.

One step at a time. Little chunks, slivers or pieces.

Living “One day at a time”, however that does not mean that we should not do any planning for the future because we should. One step at a time does not mean that we should not plan for the tenth step down the road.

Planning always has to do with the future, whether immediate, short-term or long-term.

While we don’t want to “live” in the future, we do want to do a certain amount of “planning” for it.

The point last week from Jesus was that we are not to “worry” about tomorrow.

It’s OK to think about it and plan for it, just don’t worry about it or anything in it.

God’s plan for all of us is that we utilize his wisdom in all of our plans in life.

“Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost [Future cost], whether he has enough to complete it? [Many as project has been left uncompleted for lack of funds] Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ [Because of poor planning] Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate [Plan ] whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.” [You must plan to be able to know when to compromise and how much you need to do so. This will depend on the who holds the greater position of power.]

-Luke 14:28-33

Count the cost of not dealing with your fears.

Count the cost of not making the step by step attempts at walking in faith even in the area of your fears.

Nothing should hold you back from being all that God wants you to be.

In the storms caused by your fears, hear Jesus say to you as Jesus said to the Disciples in the boat during a storm when they feared that he was a ghost: 

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”-Matthew 14:27

One step at a time may the Lord give you courage. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Pastor Dave

Word of Life Church

17525 W. Bell Rd.

Surprise, AZ 85374

Word Of Life
   Church & preSchool

623-544-3000

wolchurch@wordoflifeaz.org

17525 W Bell Road

Surprise, AZ 85374

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