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How To Live Without Fear In A World Full Of Anxiety

How To Live Without Fear In A World Full Of Anxiety

By Sean Sears on 3/15/20

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Fear is probably one of the most common emotions that we are dealing with right now. With the spreading of the Corona Virus, many of us are afraid for our own health or that of loved ones, some of us are afraid because of our work situation, and some of us are just scared cause it seems like everyone else is! While it might be the results of this virus that bring fear into our lives now, fear is not an uncommon thing. We all have things that we fear and if we are not careful, it can cripple us and negatively affect our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This week, Pastor Sean takes some time to address the fear and anxiousness that we are all dealing with and spends time looking at what the Bible has to say about our fear and what we can take away from it that will help bring peace no matter what the circumstances.

Message Notes:

FEAR is probably the common emotion experienced by everyone on the planet right now.

  • But that’s nothing new. We’ve always felt fear, it’s just that our fears evolve.

DO NOT FEAR is the #1 Command in the entire scriptures.

  • 366 times we’re told to “fear not”
  • Fear causes us to make bad decisions, to be irrational and often self serving
  • Fear is the opposite of faith.


Faith says God’s got this. I may not know where this is going or how I come out the other end but God does. And here’s what I know – God is good even when life is bad…

 

Fear says God ain’t got this. God’s lost track of me. He isn’t in control, doesn’t know where this is going and I’m on my own…

 

Did you know?
Anxiety medicine is the most prescribed medication in our country? 

And, if we’re honest, self-medication is how some of us have become addicted to other things. 

Anxiety treatment is a $50B/year industry in America.

I made a list of the different things in our lives that give us anxiety: our past, our present, and our future. Other than that, we’re great! 

 

Paul spoke about this in detail in his letter to a church in Greece.

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. [Philippians 4:6]

 

He tells us to let fear become a trigger to Talk to God

  • Prayer brings eternal perspective to my limited understanding 
    • It’s a reminder that there is Someone on top of this
  • My prayer may not always change the things around me but it always me around these things

He then tells me to replace fear with gratitude.

  • Fears reveals to me something I’m afraid of losing (money, life, love, value, recognition)
  • The first step to letting go of the fear of loss, focus on what you’re glad you already have.
  • Fear takes us all the way to the extreme end of worst-case scenario and gratitude pulls us back from the edge
    • Fear says, we’re all gonna die, 
    • Fear says the worst will happen.

 

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:7]

When will you experience God’s peace? 

  • When you hand your fear to God and pray.
  • When you begin to thank him for what you already have, for the things he’s already given you
  • When you remember that God hasn’t lost HIS way, even if I’ve lost mine


Your joy is only as solid as what it sits on.

For Paul, his circumstances didn’t rob him of joy because his confidence didn’t come from his stuff, it came from his faith.

  • His faith was in God, not his health
  • He completely trusted that God was good, even if life wasn’t and that generated IN HIM a sense of groundedness many of us will never experience.
  • Why? Our happiness, hope, faith and contentment are dependent on things. So anything that threatens the loss of these things becomes, not only my enemy, but the thief of my contentment.

The way you feel right now is not about a virus. 

  • This is about where you find your security. Where you find peace. Where you find joy. This is where you get your confidence and what you are trusting in.
  • You don’t know where this is going, so you have fear
  • Conversely, there are those who know that God is sitting above all of this and can use every bit of it for his glory and my good
    • There, I can have joy in the middle of chaos
    • Contentment in the middle of loss

That’s why Paul can say not to worry about anything, even though he is in his final days before he dies. 

  • His peace and joy weren’t dependent on having the right circumstances. Or things going his way. His foundation is God and what God said. 

Maybe you can take a moment to ask yourself, if you have fear/anxiety, “where do I find my security?” 

Do I trust God to take care of me, regardless of what happens next?

 

Your joy is only as stable as what it sits on.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. [Philippians 4:8-9]

You must make a conscious choice to keep going when your life goes off the rail. 

  • This is about you shifting your focus from the road you’re on to the destination you are going to. 
  • This is about the discipline and practice of choosing what you will focus on. 

Our peace is the product of our practice.

Imagine if peace was just second-nature to you because of how much you practiced it. It started as a discipline, but just eventually became a habit.

C.S. Lewis, In an Atomic Age: “In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

 

Fear causes us to assume the worst-case scenario. But faith allows us to have hope that the best will happen. Fear says the worst will happen. Faith says, it doesn’t matter what will happen. God can use it for Good. Even when things are uncertain. Even when we are facing unexpected and unprecedented circumstances, we can still have the gift of peace that God wants to give us. 

  • But it takes practice/discipline. It means spending time in the Scriptures.
  • Reading it and doing what it says. It means when you panic, your habit draws you to God and not away from him. It means that you allow your fear to become a trigger to pray and take it to God. 
  • Our peace is the product of our practice. That’s when we have true stability. 


12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. [Phil. 4:12-13]

My peace does not come from my ability to manipulate my circumstances. My peace comes from God’s ability to manipulate my circumstances for something greater.

  • Recognize the loss behind my fear
  • Take it directly to God with gratitude for what he’s already done
  • Fix my thoughts on what is true, not what I’m afraid of losing
  • Focus on what is good, right, admirable
  • Keep doing what I know to do, what scripture teaches

Your fear will not help you get through what you’re going through. It will only rob you of your ability to get through it well.

God has a better path, but you will have to choose it.