. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

Overcoming Fear

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is , the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

It is the fear of death that makes men subject to bondage. Through the suffering of death Jesus delivered those who were subject to its bondage all their lifetime. We have been delivered from the fear of death by the promise of eternal life. The Bible says that death is an enemy, and it takes place in disgrace and weakness.

1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonor [disgrace]; it is raised in glory [majesty, stately dignity]: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

As believers the fear of death no longer has the grip on us that it once had. Death is still an enemy but it has lost its sting.

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

The sting of death is sin, but we’ve been delivered from sin. Death has lost its sting. But there are multitudes who have not yet received that deliverance. We live in the kingdom of God, where death has lost its sting, but most people in the world are still subject to bondage through the fear of death. They don’t yet know the Lord.

I said all of that to make a point, and this is the point:

Point 1: This natural world we live in, outside of the kingdom of God, is ruled by the fear of death.

People who don’t know the Lord have not yet been delivered from the power of that fear. Now I want to take it a step further and say:

Point 2: The fear of death is the basis for nearly all fear in this world.

The fear of lack, the fear of disease, the fear of calamity; all of these are extensions of the fear of death. How do I know that? I know it because the same work of Christ that delivered us from the sting of death also delivered us from lack, disease, and calamity. The scripture that comes immediately to mind is Psalm 103.

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

A fear that God will not come through for us is an extension of the fear of death. It’s the fear of being left or forsaken to have to fend for ourselves in a harsh world. Some of the most comforting words in the Bible are:

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

We have comfort in Christ, yet the devil still rules the world with the rod of fear. Why do we need to understand this? We need to understand it because he wants to rule us with it, the same way he does the rest of the world.

Point 3: We must learn to overcome fear, or be driven by it.

The world operates and is driven by a spirit of fear that originates in the fear of death.

Point 4: If we focus on the natural world we will take on the suggestions of that fear, for the world cannot help but communicate it.

Psalm 42:7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:

This scripture is talking about our spiritual communication with God but the principle is the same. The spiritual element that’s in the world calls out to your spirit. We are spirit beings and we are receptive to spiritual things. The only thing the world has is the fear of death and all the fears that are extensions of that fear. The only thing the outside world can communicate is therefore fear-based. When Adam sinned and fell away from God’s presence the first thing he experienced was fear and fear has ruled the world since then.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

The human heart, or the spirit of a man, can only speak what’s in it in abundance. People, who don’t know the Lord, are full of the fear that’s in this world. They are subject to its bondage. It is in them in abundance. It’s the only thing the world can put forth; no matter how they try to mask it. It’s the driving force of their lives. Deception and its resulting fear are the forces Satan uses to dominate men. Well, I thought Satan used temptation of sin to ensnare people. He does, but it’s the fear of being discovered that gives sin its grip.

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

So the devil’s main tool is fear, in one form or another. Again, fear comes through deception, which is a distorted or incorrect view of reality.

Point 5: Deception precedes fear. Truth precedes faith.

If we’re walking in fear, deception has at some point taken place. If we’re walking in faith, truth has at some point been revealed to us.

Point 6: You cannot fight fear with the carnal or natural mind. You must use a spiritual weapon, the hearing of faith.

Let’s look at what Jesus said about the subject of dealing with fear.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [healthy], thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil [sick or diseased], thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters [light and darkness]: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

First of all, let’s tackle this word “mammon.” If you look it up enough times you’ll find definitions like treasure, riches, greed, avarice, or the greedy desire for more. But not everyone has a greedy desire for more, since many are just trying to survive, but everyone who is not serving God, according to Jesus, is serving mammon. So if mammon is something more basic than just greed and selfish desire then what is it? In the context of what we’re reading mammon is the fear of lack, because we'll see as we continue that Jesus is teaching that we should not take anxious thought for the things we need. In other words, "Don't be afraid of lacking the things you have need of."

Mammon = Fear of lack.

Fear of lack drives men to have selfish desire for more. Fear of lack drives every person on the planet at some point in their lives. Men are driven either by fear of lack, which is mammon, or by faith in God. And it’s impossible to do both. Jesus said in verse 24, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." It’s impossible to serve God and serve the fear of lack.

Now we’ll look at verse 25. Because it’s impossible to serve God and serve the fear of lack -

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

He’s telling us how to stop serving mammon. Take no anxious thought for your life or food or clothing.

I was teaching on this a while back and someone said, “You can’t just tell people not to think about what they need. You can’t tell people to do mental exercises.” Well, that’s not what I was saying, and neither was Jesus saying that. He gave us another option. Jesus was saying to take our mind off of one thing and put it on something else, and that’s exactly what I was teaching.

Point 7: Living in the kingdom of God has to do with what we think about.

We’ll be either in the kingdom or not in the kingdom based on what we think about. There's a difference between being saved and being in the kingdom. We can be saved but not really be living and functioning in the kingdom. When we think about the right things our mind switches kingdoms, and we begin to live under the jurisdiction of the kingdom of God. Being saved happens instantly. Learning to live in the kingdom is a process that takes time.

Luke 12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

So now Jesus has not only said to not take anxious thought about these things, but now He is saying for us not to seek after them. He says that these things are the things everybody’s running after, and your Father knows you need them. So if I’m not going to take anxious, fearful thoughts about the things I need, and I’m not going to run after them like the rest of the world, then what am I going to do? What is the other option? Jesus gives the other option in verse 31.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Fear not. Stop being afraid of lack. Seek the kingdom, and all these things will be provided. Now we haven’t digressed from our message. We’re still talking about overcoming fear. Jesus said for us not to take anxious, worried thought about the things we need, but rather to seek the kingdom of God, and the kingdom would make provision.

So then what does it mean to seek the kingdom of God? I’m glad you asked that question. The Greek concordance meaning is, in essence:

Zeteo - to seek something in order to find it, to seek a particular thing, to seek so as to find out through thinking, reasoning, meditating, and enquiring into.

To seek so as to find out through thinking, reasoning, meditating, and enquiring into. Thinking, meditating, and reasoning are involved in seeking the kingdom. So let me repeat Point 7 once again:

Point 7: Living in the kingdom of God has to do with what we think about.

Jesus said for us not to think about the things we fear, but rather to think about, meditate in and inquire into the kingdom of God. How do we do that? What do we think about, meditate in, reason with, and enquire into?

We think about, meditate in, reason with, and enquire into the word of God. That is seeking the kingdom of God.

Definition: Seeking the kingdom = meditating in the word of God.<

You may not totally agree with that, but surely you'll agree that meditating in the word is a major part of seeking the kingdom. By reading the words of someone we find out what’s in their heart. If I read a letter sent from one of you to another person I can tell what’s in your heart, the writer. I can know the thoughts of your heart by reading what you write. And reading is merely a form of hearing. I read your words and I hear the thoughts of your heart. By the same token, by reading and meditating in God's word, I hear and understand the heart of God.

Point 8: To read the word of God is a mental, soulish exercise. To meditate in the word is a spiritual exercise.

Meditation in the word is very similar to journaling but not exactly the same. We read a scripture, and I like to write it down in a journal, and then we ponder it and think about it a little, and then we write down what we think it means. As we do this a stream of consciousness begins to occur, as with journaling, and we can sometimes can write 4 or 5 pages before the flow stops. That’s how the Holy Spirit guides us into truth. The Bible says He searches the deep things of God. When does He search the deep things of God? He does it while we’re pondering the word of God. He doesn’t have to search them out for Himself. He already knows the deep things of God. He searches them out for us as we’re taking time to meditate into the word. Think about it. The One Who knows all things about God lives in our heart. Why don’t we know all things? Because we haven’t taken time to allow Him to reveal them to us.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

What we go through [our light affliction] works a weighty spiritual thing in us [an eternal weight of glory], but it’s only while we’re looking at the right things, the things not seen. The eternal things are the things not seen, the things not visible in the natural world, and that’s the word of God.

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

The word of God is the eternal thing we need to be looking at. Notice that Paul said, “…while we look not at the things which are seen.” We stop looking at the things we see in the natural, our needs, our circumstances, and so forth. We stop taking anxious thought. But rather we seek first the kingdom. We meditate in the word of God. We look at those things that are not seen, the eternal, unchanging word of God. And what happens? Our mind switches kingdoms.

Point 9: The kingdom you focus on becomes your reality.

So then entering the kingdom is more than just being a Christian, though that’s obviously a major part of it. Entering the kingdom is entering the world of His word. It’s another world. It’s the unseen world. It’s the place we’re supposed to live.

Hebrews 1:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Even Abraham, the Father of our faith, was not focused on the earthly, temporal realm, but he looked for a city whose builder was God. That's exactly what we are also to do.

So then to overcome fear we must:

Stop taking anxious thought for the things that concern us.

Seek the kingdom of God through meditation in the word of God.

Trust in God to provide for our needs through the kingdom.

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