Welcome to Day 15 of 21 Days of Prayer. Fear is Not Our Master.
"Everywhere we turn we see that monster fear; every road we travel we meet that monster fear. Fear begins to accumulate to the point that at last many face what psychiatrists call phobo‐phobia, the fear of fear, being afraid of being afraid." These are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King from his sermon, The Mastery of Fear.
Today, as we remember and celebrate his work, let's also remember that fear has torment and if we don't master it, it will master us and compel us to failure.
Not only is that a sobering thought, it is reality. Whether you watch the news, have a chat with someone at the grocery store or check the feed on your social media page, the monster of fear shows up in one form or another. Sometimes it makes us angry and other times we feel threatened. Then plans are made to avoid negative outcomes or we brace for impact. Regardless of how it manifests, the underlying force is fear.
FEAR IS NOT ALL BAD
Fear is not all bad, but it should not be allowed to rule and master your life.
Dr. King went on to say, "Every saving invention and every intellectual advance has behind it, as a part of its motivation, the desire to avoid or escape some dreaded thing... Like fire it is a useful and necessary servant, but a ruinous master. It is fear, when it becomes terror, panic and chronic anxiety that we must seek to eliminate it."
This is where we must renew our mind. Proverbs 4:7 tells us that wisdom is principal but understanding is intentional. A lack of understanding will contribute to unwise living. Don't forget that some people can be sincerely ignorant. Often, not always, when understanding comes, the decision to do better and to improve comes with it. Of course, there is also "conscientious stupidity" which happens when unwise living keeps happening in spite of understanding. In both cases, fear is present, it will continue to appear despite our best efforts, but it cannot be allowed to control our lives.
To achieve this, we must renew our minds in order to master fear. We have to see it differently. We understand that it cannot be eliminated but neither can it be allowed to run unchecked. According to Dr. King, "Our problem is not to get rid of fear altogether, but to harness it, and master it."
FEAR IS NOT YOUR MASTER
Dr. King was truly a man called by God who shared great insight on facing and overcoming the turbulence of troublesome times. Here's what he had to say about mastering fear...
1. Master fear by faith. Dr. King explained, "It seems that Jesus had an amazing insight into the tragic and ominous effects that can flow forth from fear. He was continually saying to his followers “fear not” “Be not afraid” Be not anxious” (Luke 12:32; Matthew 17:7; Philippians 4:6)
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). No matter how hard fear fights, faith overcomes. Faith sees beyond the torment of fear, empowering you to press onward pass defeat to the promise of salvation.
2. Master fear by choosing a clean and upright moral life. On this, Dr. King stated, "For one thing, a great deal of fear can be overcome by living a clean and upright moral life."
When we live an illicit, immoral or illegal lifestyle, we open ourselves to the fear of consequences for those choices. The good news is that you can take charge and silence fear in this area, by making better choices (Roman's 6:16-23; Proverbs 5:22).
3. Master fear with love. Dr. King also says, "We can overcome fear through goodwill and love." He quoted I John 4:18, which says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love."
Then Dr. King goes on to say, "The old remedy for fear was great armaments. But how futile was that. Instead of being a remedy, great armament has become a cause for fear. It is only love that will solve the problem."
4. Master fear with inner spiritual resources. Dr. King concludes with this thought, "Finally, fear is overcome by the possession of adequate interior resources." He said, "So many people are attempting to face the strain and tensions of life with inadequate interior resources..."
The point is when life hits hard, like an abused child, we develop a natural human urge to flinch every time something looks like a threat. It doesn’t matter if the threat is real or perceived, it is the torment of fear mastering us. At this point, Dr. King answers, saying, "...beneath all of this is the fact that most people do not have the proper spiritual equipment to face the tensions of life. That’s what religion gives a man. It gives him internal resources to face the problems of life. It gives him the awareness that he is a child of God (Proverbs 3:1-8; John 3:7; John 16:33).”
In John 16:33, Jesus warned us that in this world we would face trials and tribulation, but for those who receive salvation through Him, he said there's no need to fear. Instead we are to be "of good cheer" because Jesus has overcome the world and when you are in Him, you do too!
All month and dare I say, throughout 2020, you will make plans to accomplish something good, something great and fear will rise only to test your resolve. You may become anxious and give up. You may weigh the potential for failure and cave in. You may become exhausted and just quit. Regardless of the test, remember IT IS A TEST. And that means YOU CAN WIN, if you make the right decisions.
“Let fear and hope energize your soul. Like sunshine and rain, both will make your dreams grow ."
Dr. Regina M. Daigre, 2020
Lord God, thank you for giving us the church and ministers to deliver the good news of Your plentiful mercy and saving grace. Today, I am encouraged. I know that fear is NOT my master. You have provided equipment that will help me overcome fear of the dark, fear of high places, fear of poverty, fear of poor health, fear of a broken home, fear of death and fear of failure. Right now, I reject fear and receive Your equipping to master and overcome fear when it knocks on my door. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I am free from fear! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
Seasoning Faith, Pastor Sean
P.S.: If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and want to be born again, pray this prayer aloud:
Lord God, forgive me for my sins. Jesus, come into my heart. I make you, Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
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