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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

irrational fears

       "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
                        The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
                                                                                                                    Psalm 27:1
"I'm afraid of __________." "Or, I'm afraid that ___________." Have you ever made either of those two statements? I'm sure that you have as I know that I've certainly done so on occasion. And I'm pretty sure that we've all said or heard those things being uttered before so I'm going to spend a few moments today discussing "fears" and "being afraid."
Now I'm not going to talk about "irrational fears," you know, those kinds of fears that rational people don't think about. The kinds of fears that are unreasonable or illogical. Fears that are "senseless" or that have no basis to be a fear. I'll give you a prime example of this type of fear in a moment.
But first, let me remind you of a condition of fear mentioned quite a few times throughout the Bible. In several places it states that they were "sore afraid." We don't hear that condition mentioned much anymore, do we? The best definition I ever heard of "sore afraid" was given by an old black preacher who once said "Brethren, if you be 'sore afraid,' you're flat-scared."
My example of an "irrational fear" is one that I will relate about myself. I have to journey back to the days of my youth and that gets to be a longer trip every time I do so. Back to the time when Hollywood first started producing the "horror" movies. The first horror movie that I ever watched was "The Thing." Not the bloody, gory remake, but the original black and white version where James Arness played The Thing.
For a long time after seeing that movie I had trouble going to sleep at night because of an irrational fear brought on by that movie. You see, there was a closet in my bedroom and inside that closet was a crawl hole into the attic of our house. I would lay there in bed watching that closet door until I finally went to sleep because I knew that The Thing or some other form of mutant monster was going to come through the crawl hole, into my closet then right out that door and get me.
Granted I can look back and recognize that fear as being irrational, but let me tell you, at 9 years old, there was nothing senseless or illogical about it at all. And that's one of the points I want to make in our discussion today. Our fears change with time, don't they? Our fears change in nature as we get older. The things that we feared when we were young, when we were in our 20's, 30's and 40's have been sort of put aside and different ones have taken their place.
I'm no longer afraid that the Martians are going to come and destroy us. I'm not afraid that "the Bomb" is going to drop on Los Angeles and wipe us all out. I guess that I'm really not afraid of what other men can do to us. Yes, we live in a violent world and can be a victim at any time, but my fears really don't dwell on that. I think that as we get older we tend to better understand what is important for us to be afraid of.
Oh yes, I am "concerned" that, because evil abounds in our world, something could happen to myself, or more especially, to my loved ones. I think we accept the possibility that things like that can happen to anybody at anytime. But what I've become "afraid of" is different at this stage of my life and I'm reasonably sure that most of you feel the same way.
When I look about me at my little corner of the world and then see the other corners in the news, I'm afraid: that people have forgotten God. I'm afraid: that perhaps our country has become so much like Israel of old that we've left God and gone too far to ever return to being a "God-fearing" nation.
I'm afraid: that, as a nation, we've accepted so much aberrant behavior that it will cease to be aberrant to us. That to our society it will become "normal." And, I'm afraid: that we're already seeing that this has happened in our younger generation of people. In relation to this situation, there's an old saying that is so true: "What one generation accepts, the next generation embraces."
No, I don't worry anymore and I'm not afraid anymore of what man can or might do to me. I'm not even afraid of outer space aliens or atom bombs. With the peace of mind that comes with being a Christian, I can take the words of Jesus to heart when He said for us to "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul..." (Matt. 10:28)
But, what I do need to be afraid of is His warning immediately following that statement: "but rather fear him which is able to destroy both the soul and the body in hell." You see, the "HIM" in that verse that can destroy my soul is ME.
I need to be afraid: of allowing Satan to get a hold in my life and cause me to leave God. I need to be afraid: of losing or forgetting any part of my armor and not being able to stand against "the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). I need to be afraid: of allowing the carnal man to overcome the spiritual man. Why do I say these things? Because when you're afraid, you'll be on alert. You'll take precautions to not let it happen. Or, you'll watch that closet door to make sure it stays closed.
Ron Covey

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