Hi, ladies. We are on part three of a four-part look at some Biblical truths that can help us overcome our fearfulness. In week one, we examined God’s sovereignty. During week two, we reminded ourselves that because we are bound for heaven, suffering and physical death are not the worst things that can happen to us. This week, we are looking at the following truth:
3. As we fear God more, we will fear other things less.
In other words, obeying God will make us less fearful. Disobeying God will make us more fearful. Because we believe in God’s sovereignty and goodness, it makes sense that we will feel safe (and less fearful) when we stick close to Him, and that we will feel unsafe (and more fearful) when we run away from Him.
One of the reasons God hates disobedience is because disobedience shows a misplacement of fear. In a study of 1 Samuel 15, John Piper notes the following:
Why did Saul obey the people instead of God? Because he feared the people instead of God. He feared the human consequences of obedience more than he feared the divine consequences of sin. He feared the displeasure of the people more than the displeasure of God. And that is a great insult to God.
Do we fear the human consequences of obedience more than we fear the divine consequences of sin? Do we fear the displeasure of people more than we fear the displeasure of God?
Much of our big, overall obedience to God is comprised of our smaller, daily obedience to God in the following four areas. Ask yourself these questions as you seek to fear God more and to fear temporal things less:
- Am I where I should be?
Sometimes, we are somewhere we are not supposed to be. If Adam and Eve had not walked over close to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to grab that fruit, they wouldn’t have been able to grab it. 🙂 That is, their sin was facilitated by being in physical proximity to their temptation. Their fear then increased because of their disobedience, and they tried to hide from the presence of the Lord.
Sometimes, we are not somewhere we are supposed to be. If Jonah had just gone to Nineveh the first time God told him to, instead of jumping on a boat for Tarshish to try to avoid the presence of the Lord, he wouldn’t have been eaten by the big fish.
Are you somewhere you shouldn’t be? Why?
Are you not somewhere you should be? Why?
- Am I with the people I should be with?
Sometimes, we are hanging out recreationally with people we shouldn’t be with. The Bible has a lot to say about bad company. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 14:7 says, “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” Psalm 26:4-5 says, “I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.” First Corinthians 15:33 says “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals,'” and 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
Sometimes, we aren’t with people we should be with. In Luke 10:40, Martha is “distracted with much service” when she should be sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to His teaching. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us to “forsake not the gathering of the brethren” (i.e., don’t skip church). In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out the twelve apostles and tells them plainly that they will be persecuted for His sake, saying, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” He warns them, but he also encourages them so that, in spite of this danger, they will go be with the people He has commanded them to be with: in verse 26 he says, “have no fear of them,” and in verse 31 he says, “fear not, therefore; you are of more value [to God] than many sparrows.”
Are you with someone you shouldn’t be with? Why?
Are you not with someone you should be with? Why?
- Am I doing what I should be doing?
Sometimes we do things we shouldn’t do. Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Paul spoke for all of us when he said in Romans 7, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Sometimes we don’t even give much thought to the fact that we’re doing things we shouldn’t do: we fall into a “busy Christian woman” default mode. In his book Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung notes:
We go day after day, crazy month after crazy month: worried, upset, anxious, troubled, fussing, worked up. Every stain, every school project, every dirty sink, every surprise guest, every surge of responsibility becomes a cause of great panic. To paraphrase Titus 3:3, we live as slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in chaos and envy, hassled by others and hassling one another.
Sometimes we don’t do things we should do. You probably know what the things are in your own life that you should be doing but aren’t. If you are a believer, these things you aren’t doing but should be doing probably relate to reconciling with/forgiving people, serving people, and sitting still with the Lord. DeYoung says this of the Martha and Mary story:
The crux of the story is, “Martha, you are freaking out, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good portion. She is sitting at my feet to learn and to worship. I’m not going to take that away from her. Your busyness is not wrong. But it is not best.”
Are you doing something you shouldn’t be doing? Why?
Are you not doing something you should be doing? Why?
- How’s my heart attitude?
When we are where we should be, with the people we should be with, doing the things we should be doing, how are our hearts? Is my heart reluctant and grumpy, or is it willing and joyful? Consider this passage about Jesus from Acts 2, in which Luke quotes David:
For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
Tune in next week for one more truth that will help us conquer our fearfulness.
Suzie B. 🙂