Faith Over Fear: A Better Way: You are a carrier.
God has given you a life vision and a purpose. But you can’t fulfill that vision until you clearly see it. In this series, we look at the transforming power of vision by describing the consequences of an unclear vision and revealing the antidote to fear in pursuing the future God has planned for you. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Bottom Line: Is what you’re carrying worth catching?
Something To Talk About:
- In times of fear be a faith spreader: The opposite of fear is faith. Living a life marked by faith requires you to trust in the ability that God will be your first response to any situation or circumstance in life without depending on this world’s system or your own ability. To live a life of faith, we need to grab hold of God’s word like never before. We need to know it is God’s will and desire for His children to live a blessed, prosperous, healthy, and happy life. We need to know that we can live this life through faith and overcome difficult times and challenges in life. In order to do this, we need to know God and how He has sent His word to us. We must know how the power of God worked in the lives of people in the Bible and that power is still available for us today to change situations and circumstances on our behalf today no matter what we are facing.
- In times of fear be a hope dealer: Hope makes a vast difference in everyone’s lives. Despite Paul being in prison and unsure if he will live or die, it’s upbeat. Apart from Jesus, he’s the ultimate hope dealer, encouraging his friends to rejoice no matter what happens to him. In Philippians, he says some things that can sound like sappy Christianese under one set of circumstances. But they stand out as solid advice during times of distress,…”whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you “(Philippians 4:8-9 NIV). Hope dealers focus on these elements no matter the shape of their world. And they prevail because they do so. You and I need to become the hope dealers that make the world go round.
- In times of fear be love givers: To truly love, we must first know God. Love starts with God and ends with God because God is love. We see this in 1 John 4: 7-8 when he writes: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” All God does is out of love. He loves perfectly. Our goal is to love as God loves. Or the kind of love that God calls us to – the love that loves our neighbor as much as we love ourselves – must come from Him. Any way in which we can eliminate fear from our lives and move to a place of love has to be explored. Fear of saying the wrong things, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of danger, etc. How do we overcome fear? Not by simply trying harder to not be afraid, but rather by conditioning our hearts to what is good. If my focus is on loving people and loving the Lord, then rejection, failure, danger, etc. all of a sudden are less important. They are still considerations, but fearing them is not what holds me back.
- “Don’t say that everything people call a conspiracy is a conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear. Don’t let it terrify you.” ( Isaiah 8:12 GW) What does Isaiah 8:12 say about fear and its impact?
- What area of your life do you find yourself consistently fearful of what might come or what won’t come?
- Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?
- Was there a time when you were fearful of the future and acted out on that fear (i.e., leading to anxiety, etc.)? What happened?
- How can we be certain that our faith is genuine? Read the following Scriptures: I John 5:12-13, John 5:24, Jude 1:24, Romans 8:16, Hebrews 7:25. What principles from these verses comfort or encourage you the most?
- How do unbelief and a fear of the future relate?
- How can we know our faith is growing while our fear is diminishing?
- How can we cultivate a genuine love for people who are difficult to love? How is loving others a blessing not only to others but to ourselves?
- Christians are challenged to be their best and love them at their worst. What does this look like in everyday life? Can you think of a time when you challenged someone to be their best or loved them at their worst?
- What can we do this week to give those fears to God?
- What can we do this week to be messengers of hope?
- Have you ever met someone who was choosing to trust God through difficult circumstances? What impressed you about that person? Can you imagine yourself having a faith like that? Why or why not?
- What are your expectations for this week as a result of Sunday’s message?
Take one thing home with you:
“But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:33
Fear is real, but God is bigger. Fear zeros in on the problem, while faith keeps it in perspective. Now, faith does not mean blindly running into danger or ignoring common sense. But it does mean turning to God every time fear begins to creep in. It means choosing courage rather than fear. Fear can paralyze us. Courage frees us to live life to the fullest.
Jesus epitomized courageous faith as He boldly walked God’s will – even to the cross. However, He knew very well the power fear could have on our lives and often reminded the disciples to cling to faith, not fear. One example of this is found in Matthew chapter 14. The disciples found themselves caught in a terrible storm, fearing for their lives. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they see Jesus walking out to them on the water. “… “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27)
The comfort for Jesus-followers in this story is this: Finding courage in the face of fear comes through putting our faith in Jesus Christ.