Today I want to cover another topic that many Christians deal with, they become overwhelmed by and the enemy keeps them trapped by and God wants to set people free today.
The enemy makes you feel like a failure but if you recognize the root of this situation you can use it not a deterrent to faith but as a stepping stone to it.
Let’s look revisit the hall of faith this week and look at our heroes
How can we ever live up to them?
Well let’s take a look at them
Hebrews 11:1-3, 7-10
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 7….By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham left everything to follow the call of God. Can you imagine one day saying to everyone you knew
- We are packing up and leaving everything we know… business, family, friends
- We don’t know where we are going but we will know when we get there
- I don’t know how long we will travel and others will be living on our land but God is giving it to us
- BTW I’m 75 years old and I’m going to be a father soon
That takes faith…amazing faith
Have you ever found yourself having great faith like this?
You see the Lord move in your life, you see an answer to prayer that really is a miracle.
But then something happens that hits you in your area of weakness
In the tradition of the Nomads if a man saw a woman he liked and she was the wife of another they would simply kill the husband and take the woman as their wife. Abraham had this nearly happen to him…twice
Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, 2 Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.
Let’s hear from Abraham
Abraham: I know I’m going to get killed this time…I got away with it once…those Egyptians they are all “wrath of Ra” kind of stuff so God was able to protect me there but this King Abimelech he is a different kind of guy….hey you (talking to the audience) don’t judgment me which one of you packed everything up and took all your stuff and your family 600 miles we aren’t talking planes trains or automobiles here we are talking…I heard from God, who by the way I never heard from before, we packed everything up my wife, staff, and all our stuff and left…see I am a man of faith, even a prophet…but this thing…oh why am I cursed with such a beautiful wife….this is real….God I’m going to die this time I just know it…(cell phone rings) “Hello, King Abimelech…your sending Sara back and you need me to pray for you…so you’re not going to kill me? I’ll be right there….(to audience) I knew it all along I knew God would protect…see ya got to go get my wife
In the dream God responded to Abimelech, “Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don’t return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.”
The devil knows our weaknesses perhaps even better than we do He knows what buttons to push..even though Abraham had lied he was still a prophet of God according to God
We have all been there one day we are floating on cloud 9 everything is going so well…we have mountain moving faith in operation it doesn’t seem like anything can stop us then WHAM!!! Something hits us and fear grips us and overwhelms us
Does that mean we are a failure? Does fear completely cancel out our faith?
We need to realize fear is really about a lack of control and God wants to show us how he can be in control of what is out of control.
I know this sounds weird but to me at times, fear can be a precursor to faith
From a positive side…anytime God asks us to do something new… there is always going to be a little bit of fear and trepidation.
The first thing the angel had to say to Mary Luke 1:30 was “Don’t fear” in Matthew 1:20 Joseph is told not to be afraid to marry Mary
Joshua is told by God as he takes the reigns of leadership Joshua 1:9
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
But what if it is not doing something great for God but you are facing something the doctor says, a financial crisis, or any other way your world is falling apart…that doesn’t make you a bad Christian it just makes you someone who God is helping to get to the next level.
Fear is a choice….after the initial shock
When we are afraid we can choose to live there or we can choose to ‘fearfully and with great trepidation” choose to trust the Lord.
Fear can help us to see where we need the Lord the most
It can at times help us to grow in our faith
It can protect us from doing the wrong thing
It can cause us to stop and seek guidance and wisdom
The negative of fear is it is a reaction to our lack of trust in the Lord…but once again God knows we will go through this and is always prepared to help.
David was serving the Philistines and threatened by Saul. His enemies were all around him….he was afraid for very real reasons when he wrote
Psalm 56: 3,4
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
As I mentioned earlier with Joshua and Abraham all the great men and women of God faced fear, they struggled just like you and I but they didn’t push it down, ignore it or hide from it…they dealt with it head on.
I hope in this series if you get nothing else you begin to grasp that our messes and dirty laundry are nothing to hide from but to bring them to the light so they can be dealt with and we can grow
Notice how David handle his fear
- took it to the Lord honestly telling Him he was afraid
- In the midst of his fear he began to remember the promises of God and praise him for them
- He reminded himself of who God is (in the midst of his fear)
The Lord did deliver, we know the story…he still went through some tough times but he kept coming back to trusting the Lord
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
The enemies of Israel have just taken out everyone and God is reminding them that even though they went through this tough time if they choose to trust him as they have turned back to him he will never allow their enemies to defeat them again.
What fear are you facing right now?
– is it your future
– your finances
– health challenge
– your kids/family/marriage
When God told Israel through Isaiah that he was there to help here is what God promises when we are afraid the word “help” means
– to surround
– to protect
– to supply all that we need to overcome
Fear is very real and it is nothing to look down on yourself about or to feel defeated over.
Whatever you are going through God wants to help you
He sees your fear and understands it but also wants to help you through it
– be honest with God about how you feel
– Remember His promises to you if you do know any it is time to get into the Bible here are a few
So don’t be afraid of sudden disasters or storms that strike those who are evil. 26 You can be sure that the Lord will protect you from harm.
I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
– Trust Him that He is going to come through for you despite your fear.
God doesn’t love you any less because you are battling fear…in fact He wants to draw even closer to you to surround you, protect you, and give you all you need
Will you let him today?