385. Jesus’ 3 Reasons Not to Fear

fear-notRevelation 1:17-18 NKJV  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  (18)  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

One day while John was in the Spirit (most likely meaning he was fully engaged in worshiping the Lord, praying in the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns & songs given by the Spirit, lost in meditation of the Word, or some other form of worship where his attention was turned totally toward the Lord), Jesus appears to him in a glorified way that he never encountered Him before during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  It says His eyes were like a flame of fire, His head & hair were white and wooly, His feet were like polished pure brass, His voice like a roaring waterfall, & His face was as bright as the midday sun.  This would truly be an overwhelming and fearful sight to most of us and John was no different, falling down on his face at Jesus’ feet.  Then Jesus picks him up and says, “Stop being afraid.” International Standard Version.

Then Jesus shares 3 truths with John that comforted him and abated his fears, before giving him 7 important messages to local churches of the day and taking him by the Spirit to Heaven where he would receive the rest of the Revelation.  These 3 truths not only helped subside John’s fear, but they will also help us in living free from fear today.  Jesus said, “”Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but look-I am alive forever and ever! I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (ISV)

  1. Fear not – Jesus is the First & the Last. This speaks to His Divine nature.  Remember, you don’t just have a relationship with a man, this man also happens to be a part of the Godhead and was a part of the beginning of all things.  Jesus is also the Last.  He always gets the last word in and at the end of time He will hand the Kingdom back over to the Father (1Corinthians 15:24-26) and we will all live together forever.  If we’ll really get revelation of Him and live in a constant reality that the faithful One who is the First & the Last is always for us, with us, & in us, we’ll be like John and quickly get up on our feet.
  2. Fear not – Jesus is alive. This speaks of His presence.  Revelation 1:18a in the Good News Bible says, “I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.”  There is no end to Jesus nor to His eternal love for us.  Hebrews 13:5 tells us He will never leave us.  As a follower of Jesus, we are never alone and therefore never have to fear.
  3. Fear not – Jesus has the keys of Hades and of Death. This speaks of His authority.  Hebrews 2:15 shows us that all fears ultimately stem from the fear of death (we’ve looked at this in previous blog posts and is discussed in my book Fearless Psalm 34:4  Living Free From Fear).  Since Jesus has authority over the thing that causes fear in the first place and has commissioned us to go in His authority and walk in fearless victory (Matthew 28:18-19, Romans 8:37), we can walk in His authority and live free from fear.

Jesus is picking each of us up today, helping us stand back up on our feet and saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

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383. There is No Fear in Love

216a9-god27slovehasnolimits1 John 4:16 NKJV  And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:18 NKJV  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

“We have known & believed the love that God has for us.”  God loves us. That is such glorious news we should be telling people about it.  Oh wait, that is what we are called to do.  God’s reason for loving us, although It’s been expressed in a number of different ways, stems from the reality of who He is.  God is love.

This is important in the discussion of fear, because, “There is no fear in love…” (1 John 4:18).  God is love.  There is no fear in love.  Therefor there is no fear in God.  God is utterly and completely fearless.  That’s good news, because at the New Birth we were made in His image.  2 Peter 1:4 tells us we have become partakers of His divine nature.  We now share in the love of God.  It is His perfect love in us that drives fear away as His love is perfected in us.

This means that, Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival.” – Dr Steve Maraboli.  God hasn’t given us the Holy Spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  How could He?  There is no fear in Him.  Instead we have been given the Holy Spirit of God and remade in His loving and fearless image.

If we have fear, that doesn’t mean we aren’t saved or we don’t have God.  It just means that there is an area of our lives that we have not yet allowed to be made perfect by His love.  We all have areas that we have not allowed the Truth of God’s Word (His Love Story) to become the final authority in our lives.  But as we search out His Word, allow it to become real to us and live out of that reality applying it and continuing in it, His love is perfected in that area of our life and fear is diminished and banished from us.  Then we are able to walk in a new freedom partaking more of the loving nature of our God who is love and fears not.

382. The Law of Displacement

FrontCoverOnly1 John 4:18 KJV  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love.  In 1 John 4 we read that love casts out fear and there is no fear in love.  This always makes me think of the law of displacement. 

I remember this law being demonstrated in one of my classes when I was a boy.  My teacher had a large pitcher of water and added food coloring to it so it all turned a certain color, blue I believe.  This pitcher sat in a large basin so that the floor didn’t get wet during the demonstration.  Then he began to pour clean water into the pitcher.  As he did the overflow of water began to spill out into the basin.  The water in the pitcher slowly began to dilute and become less blue until finally he lifted the pitcher full of water out of the basin and it was completely clear again just like the water he was pouring in.  You see the water he poured in pushed out the water already in the pitcher until the blue colored water was completely replaced by the fresh clear water.

This idea is conveyed to us here in 1 John concerning love and fear.  Verse 18 says love casts out fear.  The more love that gets poured into ones heart, the more fear is displaced and is purged from it.

Unfortunately the converse is also true.  Remember, fear is self-centered and when one begins to get in fear their thoughts are turned solely toward themselves.  The fear focuses one on them self because of its selfish and self-centered nature and begins to push out the love of God for others in their heart.  Then fear begins to consume even more of their focus which leads to their fear increasing.  While one is thinking about them self they can’t be thinking about others.  This is detrimental and devastating to the life and walk of faith, because faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).

Faith works by love, so when you’re in fear it hinders your faith to believe and receive the promises of God and your deliverance in that situation.  Fear also keeps you from doing the things He’s called you to do.  This applies to all of us.  God wants us to be fearless so we can walk in faith and accomplish His purposes doing the things He’s called us to do.

381. Stay Alert and Stay Strong

90d837a6e3da89b1d38c67d71a5260011 Peter 5:8-9 NLT  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  (9)  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Some people don’t believe in the devil, but the Scripture is clear that he exists and he is our enemy.  Peter wrote that he, “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”  Yet we don’t have to fear him when he roars and you really don’t want to either.  You see that’s how he locates those he can devour.  He prowls around and then lets out a ferocious roar to see how you react.  At that moment when that horrifying and deafening roar occurs, even the strongest in faith might startle, but how you respond makes all the difference.

“But wait,” you might say, “I’ve only heard a lion roar at that zoo.”  However his roar doesn’t sound how you might expect.  The devil’s roar rarely ever sounds like an actual lion and it really doesn’t matter what it actually sounds like at all (sometimes he even sounds like you).  Instead it matters more what the roar says.  While on the prowl he roars words.  He roars things that cause fear to rise in people.  Things like, “LOSS” “DEBT” “ALONE” “LOSER” “PAIN” or he’ll even roar, “CANCER!”  Then he’ll just crouch down to see how you react.  Will we start to sweat, panic, run, say, yell, or stand in faith and speak the Word.

Though I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie (I’m not getting in the argument of whether or not it’s ok to watch or read the books. You decide for your family. I just don’t have any interest), I did read a great quote taken from one.  “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  The enemy is counting on us to reveal our fears in what we say and how we react when we hear his roars.  But what he roars are really just names.  Names of things people fear.  People hear cancer and shudder, but as nasty as the disease is, it is still just a name associated with a disease.  A name that does not compare to the name we are associated with.

We have a name that is associated with Creator, Savior, Provider, Comforter, Victory, & Healer.  We have the name of JESUS!  When the devil begins to roar, you can stand strong in your faith, smile and say, “Jesus.”  Your struggle is not unique.  The devil prowls about looking someone, anyone to devour and though his specific roar might be different to all people the grace of God and the Name of Jesus empowers us to stand fearless and strong in faith no matter how loud he roars.  The devil is on the prowl and he roars the things nightmares are made of, but we have the Lion of Judah, the Name above all names, Jesus, living on the inside of us.  No matter what name the devil roars, stand firm, smile, strongly roar back, “JESUS!” and Fear Not!

380. Thanks For the Real Talk, Peter.

2s8fyip1 Peter 3:14 NKJV  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED.”

1 Peter 3:14-17 NLT  But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  (15)  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.  (16)  But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.  (17)  Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

The Apostle Peter didn’t candy coat anything here.  Given the nature of Peter’s exhortation to Christians facing persecution, his direct nature makes sense.  There was great opposition in both Mesopotamia, which was a great hub of devout Judaism at the time and where many scholars believe was where Peter based his ministry noting 1 Peter 5:13.

Here in 1 Peter 3:14 Peter notes that even when you do the right thing, you might suffer.  This is still true today, as well as the fear that people have toward the real or perceived rejection or persecution they might face for doing the right thing and acting, living, and speaking as a Christian.  Peter tells us not to fear the threats of persecution but to rise up and do what is right.  He also tells us what we should do instead of fearing persecution.  He writes:

  • Worship Christ as LORD of your life.  This means to live in a way that reflects that you really believe He is.  Walking in a way that holds Him and His Word in a place of awe by giving it a place of reality in your life.
  •  Always be ready to explain your hope in Christ in a gentle and respectful way.  Never back down or give pat answers about your faith.  Instead take every opportunity to share why your faith is in Christ and what He has done for you.  Note: Some Christians tend to do this very aggressively and even angrily.  This is often because they are trying to overcompensate for the fear of rejection they have in their own strength, instead of allowing the reality of the love of God and their awe of Him lead the way.  Apparently these folk lived in Peter’s day too.  Therefore he admonishes us not to be jerks when we share our faith.
  • Keep your conscience clear.  Basically Peter said we should live rightly all the time and not have any places in our life we can be accused of wrong doing.  Be a person of integrity.

When I am worshiping Christ as LORD of my life (living for Him), always ready to share my hope in Christ with the right heart, and living as a person of integrity, even if persecution comes I do not have to fear.  Instead I can be blessed and confident I will be blessed and rewarded for it.  So do what is right and have no fear, for God’s gonna’ make everything alright in the end.  Thanks for the real talk, Peter.

371. Cibophobia – The Fear of Food

cibophobia1 Timothy 4:4-5 NET  For every creation of God is good and no food is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.  (5)  For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

 Some people suffer from a horrible condition and are actually afraid of food.  This is often confused with anorexia but they are entirely different as sufferers are actually afraid of the food itself.  Thankfully most of us will never know anyone who ever deals with this fear; however, we’ve all had a bit of anxiety about eating certain things before.  Especially those on the mission field.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling both here in the USA and outside of our nation and I’ve learned that not everywhere in the world or just down the street store or prepare our food properly.  Not only that, but there are different types of bacteria and viruses in other parts of the world that can get your stomach spinning in a hurry… I’ve been there.  Praise God eating in roadside restaurants and oversees has gotten much easier for me since I grabbed a hold of this verse.

You see I used to get nervous in some places and in the natural rightfully so.  I’d see the cleanliness of the place or see the meat just hanging with flies on it and get nervous.  Well, fear always opens the door to the enemy.  Listen up… you should use wisdom and listen to the voice of the Spirit of God all the time, but especially while traveling and eating in foreign countries.  Obey the Spirit of God, He’ll tell you if you should pass on a dish or not, but you do not have to fear.  You see when I first used to travel and people would give me something I had never eaten before, I’d get extremely nervous and afraid that I’d get sick and often I would get queasy feeling, sometimes even before I ate. Why? Because I believed the food would contaminate me.  And my faith often received exactly what I believed.

Now I’ve learned I never have to fear, because God has provided a way for me to enjoy every meal and eat without getting sick. Instead of eating in fear I can rejoice, thank the Lord and enjoy the food in faith.  When I sit down for a meal, especially in a place that gives me reason to pause I pray, “Thank you, Father, that this food is sanctified by Your Word and my prayer. Thank you for providing and protecting me.”  Then I eat in faith, receiving what I just prayed.  I also often tell people with me to watch what I eat and follow my lead.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies our food but He also knows what might not sit well overnight or is undercooked etc… Some folk have told me that isn’t faith and ate whatever they wanted after praying.  The next day many have felt different.

Through thanksgiving, prayer, and listening to the Holy Ghost, we never have to fear what we eat.  He will sanctify it, purify it, and lead to what to enjoy and what to skip on.  One time I remember the Holy Ghost told me only to eat one small portion of a stew, I obeyed and told the other gentleman with me that I believed we should only eat a little bit.  I obeyed and enjoyed my small meal.  Unfortunately, it was his favorite and he dug in and had a few large bowls.  The next day he was super sick and I felt great, other than getting to hang out with and pray for a sick friend.  Thank God for your food, listen to the Holy Ghost, purify your food in prayer and you won’t have to fear your food.

356. Stay Close

Romans 3:18 KJV  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 Romans 3:18 NLT  “They have no fear of God at all.”

Romans 3:18 MSG  They never give God the time of day.

A wonderful woman of God whom my wife, Valarie and I know, said, “The fear of God isn’t being afraid of Him, it’s being afraid of being away from Him.  It doesn’t keep us at a distance, it keeps us close.” – Kim Saylor, Co-Pastor of Jubilee Bible Church.

As a child of God, the God who is LOVE, we need not be afraid of Him.  It is however, when I recognize just how awesome He is, that at the sound of His voice all that is was created that I realize just how fearless we should be.  Especially, when I see that from the beginning all He has done has been so He could express the very nature of who He is to me.

The more I learn of His great love for me the more I want to stay in His glorious presence.  It is a love that frees us from all fear.  Unfortunately, too many have a wrong view of God that either keeps them running from Him or just ignoring His attempts to develop a relationship with Him.  Give Him some time today.  The fear of God will free you from all fear and lead you closer into a glorious relationship with Him.