Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #103 --- Fear
Quotations on Fear
Any fear that prevents a righteous accomplishment is a sin.
---Leo W. Russon, Challenger, Auckland, New Zealand, May 26, 1973.
Fear is the tax that conscience pays for sin. To be without God is to fear. Fear, always suggestive of danger, is destructive and never constructive. When there is no danger we do not say, "Fear not."
---W.A. Thurston, St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., Dec. 12, 1938.
"Fear thou not for I am with thee." (Isaiah 41:10.) Fear has been disarmed by the grace of God. Fear only when the conqueror of fear is not with you.
---H.B. Dean, Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., Nov. 22, 1957.
Anxiety is faithlessness. Anxiety is the wrying of the frustrated soul. Desire is clear and strong, but there is no faith to lay hold upon that desire; this is anxiety. Selfishness, covetousness, inordinate desires--these produce anxiety. A conscious or even a subconscious realization that one is basically unfaithful to God produces anxiety because he is out of harmony with God and cannot pray an effectual prayer.
---J.H. Avery, Panama City News-Herald, Panama City, Fla., Dec. 22, 1957.
When fear makes you slide down the highway of life backwards, all you see are the mistakes you've made.
---Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., Sept. 3, 1964.
Fear is the father of cruelty. Fear dehumanizes.
---Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., July 7, 1917.
Spiritual cowardice is not only weakness but it is wickedness.
---J.B. Gambrell, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, July 17, 1947.
When the devil wants a job well done, he picks a disgruntled person to do it and pushes him into action by fear.
---Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Nov. 15, 1956.
Percy Hodgson asks, How might the mistakes of the past have been avoided? Who can measure the challenges and the opportunities that will confront the [future]?
We must not expect perfection in the [future], but we have a right to expect that we shall profit by some of the bitter lessons [we] should have learned [in the past].
We have a right to expect men to remember that there is no such thing as something for nothing. ...
We have a right to expect men to remember that mere material things do not certainly assure happiness or peace or security.
We have a right to expect men to remember that life must be balanced, that there are things of the mind and things of the spirit, as well as the tangibles that we can touch and that even though man must render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar s, he must also render unto God the things which are God s. [See Matthew 22:21; Mark 12;17; Luke 20:25.]
For those who are too fearful of the [future], for those who shrink from its uncertainties, let it be said that no generation would ever see very far into the future and despite every discouraging outlook we haven t lost ... by a long way.
The second half of any game can be critical. But there is often time between halves for the coaches and players to get together and decide where they were weak, and come back and win. ...
We can, if we will, win the spiritual and human battle the battle for men's minds, as Wallace F. Bennett has expressed it.
No mortal man can see through the veil that conceals the [future]. But no man need shrink from facing it. ... We can face the facts as they come before us in a world of many problems and of wonderful opportunities.
This world has everything to make men happy if they will behave themselves.
We can walk forward with faith faith in ourselves to reform where we need to faith in our children to do better than we have done faith in God to overrule for ultimate good what we fail to do.
We can face the [future] with the words of William Allen White: "I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday, and I love today."
---Richard L. Evans, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 15, 1950.
Fear is fear because it blinds us to our sense of need for courage. Believe me, it is one thing to say, "I am afraid," and quite another to say, "I need courage." Fear tries to keep one from sensing the need. Fear blinds and deafens the spirit. When you bring yourself to say, "I need faith," you have already begun the answer and God, with your help, will complete it.
---Eugene M. Frank, The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, Kan., June 27, 1951.
"Perfect love casteth out fear," said St. John in the long ago. (1 John 4:18.) And modern medicine and psychology have finally caught up with the Bible and confirm that truth. John is talking about the two strongest emotions of the human system--love and fear--and he says love has the power to destroy fear.
Physicians today tell us that from 50 to 75 percent of all our sicknesses is caused by our emotions. Emotion is simply the ability to feel. Keep telling yourself that you feel sick and you will be sick. If you are sick, more than half of the time your sickness will be cured simply by convincing yourself that you feel well.
We have physical bodies and we also have feelings or emotions. BasicallyŠ all of our emotions are good, but if any of them get out of control, then they are bad. Fire is one of the greatest beneficiaries of man. But uncontrolled fire can burn up a man's house and even the man himself.
There are four main groups of destructive emotions. Actually even these emotions are good as long as we can control them. But when we let them get out of hand they make us sick in many ways. There is the fear group, including anxiety, worry and apprehension.
Anger is the father of another group of destructive emotions. Some of the children of anger are hostility, resentment, envy, jealousy and hatred. However, anger is closely related to fear because we do not feel hostile toward a person until we become afraid that person can hurt us in some way.
A third group of destructive emotions are headed up by what we feel as a sense of failure. This leads to such things as discouragement, depressed moods and various guilt feelings. Without this family of emotions there would be no repentance, but they can also lead to self-destruction.
Pride is the captain of another army of sickening emotions, including prejudice, self-consciousness and conceit.
When St. John says, "Perfect love casteth out fear," I think that by fear he has in mind all of the destructive emotions, because they are all a part or stem from fear. And when he talks about love, he means all of the healing emotions, because love is the basis of them all.
There is faith which makes us believe. And hope which keeps us looking upward and forward, "but the greatest of these is love," said St. Paul. (1 Corinthians 13:13.) And God's book tells us that if you have perfect love in your heart, it will drive out your fears and worries, your angers and jealousies, your failures and guilts, and make you a well-balanced and happy person.
In other words, St. John says the only way to destroy our sickening emotions is developing our healing emotions.
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 16, 1952.
Love is a process of giving. In fact, love demands expression and if it is not expressed, it becomes a poison for one's own soul.
But in order to have love come into our lives, first we must express our love for others. "The song is to the singer, and comes back most to him; the gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him; the love is to the lover, and comes back most to him." "With what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you," said Jesus. (Mark 4:24.) Again He said, "Give and it shall be given unto you." (Luke 6:38.)
"Perfect love casteth out fear," says St. John. (1 John 4:18.) What is the basis of fear. I think it is the possibility of losing. Losing health, security, friends, or any of many things. If you have nothing to lose, then you have nothing to fear.
Perfect love gives without thought or return. Therefore, love has nothing to lose. Love has already given all that it has. Thus, love has nothing to fear. Love does cast out fear.
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 19, 1952.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and ofŠ love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7.)
God really care. He loves you and desires the best for you. His love is everlasting and He makes no mistake.
In Christ we need have no fear or apprehension regarding the future. Rather, we may experience His power in our lives. Power to live successfully and usefully. Power to overcome the temptations and the trials of life. He in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge can give us a truly sound mind with which to make the right decisions. And His self-giving, unselfish love, which knows nothing of self-gratification, can impel us through our days and hours. ...
Is Jesus Christ ... the power and the motivation of your life? He can be. He is, if you will allow Him to be. For He has promised, Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37.) Surrender your life to Him now, take Him at His word that He accepts you just as you are, then watch Him shape and direct your life in ways that will work out in you His purpose His eternal purpose for your life. Then [your life] will be [one] of great adventure and knowing God and of seeing Him at work in your life.
---Wesley Carlson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 29, 1968.
Fear is one of mankind's most constant and dangerous enemies. It is the universal disease, the worldwide epidemic, an insidious infection which lingers on and in the human heart, utterly contagious, contracted from a look or a rumor, caught from the inflection of a voice, carried by radio waves and pages of newsprint--fear.
Fear or rebuke, which stifles initiative. Fear of scorn or ridicule, which holds us to the level of the mass and chains us to convention. Fear of failure, which prohibits enterprise. Fear of the unknown, a child's fear of darkness, borne up out of the lost past. Fear of loneliness which pulls us to the mob. Fear of losses. Fear of competition. Fear of criticism. Fear of infidelity.
Fear of sickness, which in itself destroys health. Fear of poverty, which in the ironic chemistry of our economic life merely produces more poverty. Fear of unemployment, which increases unemployment, and not the least of our fears by any means, the fear of war.
All of these fears have instilled in the human race an enormous defense--complex, now distressingly apparent. ... Instead of moving out courageously toward the peace and world prosperity which are certainly not impossible, we are digging in, listening for the approach of disaster.
Fear is a disease of the spirit, and it can be overcome only by the spiritual tonic of faith. Faith which, aware of the dangers of the future, is not afraid of the untold possibilities for good which the future holds. Faith which believed that those possibilities can be realized. Faith in the unseen. Faith in man's spiritual destiny. Faith in the other guy. Faith in yourself. Faith in your blockers. Faith in the coach. Faith in your shipmates. Faith in the skipper.
Most of our troubles never happen, but some of them do. The things you fear may come--illness, poverty, ridicule, persecution, depression, war. When they do come, your faith alone can sustain you. Faith will not always prevent adversity, but it will enable you to endure it.
---Charles G. Cullum, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 2, 1947.
Of all our fears, perhaps the most prevalent and the most pernicious isŠ the fear of doing good. The right thing is not always the popular thing, and few of us will risk unpopularity under any circumstances. An act of unselfishness toward another often requires courage and initiative. There is the danger of being taken advantage of. Most of our charitable inclinations are stifled by the miserable old dread of "being made a sucker." We would rather gamble a fin on a horse race than a dollar on a friend in need. All of us throw money away, but only a few of us give it away.
---Charles G. Cullum, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 14, 1947.
Foolish or not, our fears are often mere misunderstandings.
In each case, isn't it all rooted in a fear of death, which is peril for the unknown combined with a dread of being separated from those we love?
What is the answer? In one direction only: "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears!" (Psalms 34:4.)
How does He help? In one way simply: He supplies the knowledge that dispels fear of tomorrow and then gives the grace that instills faith in Christ forever. Jesus said, "Let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27.)
---John F. Anderson, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 19, 1955.
Fear is the natural consequence of a sense of weakness, also of sin. Fear is a chief weapon of Satan in making mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life, for the fight against evil. Therefore, the power of evil ever seeks to engender fear in human hearts. ...
Many a blessing is withheld because of our fears. ... Are we prepared to surrender to God's commandments? In victory over our appetites? In obedience to righteous law? If we can honestly answer yes, we can bid fear depart. And the degree of fear in our hearts may well be measured by our preparation by righteous lives. ... The only safety that we can expect in this or any other calamitous time lies in our conformity to gospel requirements. ...
There must be trust and faith in our hearts. Hope must walk by our side. We must treasure the words of the Father. ... The Lord is ever victorious; He is the Master to whose will Satan is subject.
---John A. Widtsoe, Liahona the Elders Journal, Independence, Mo., Sept. 22, 1942.
The Christian faith speaks to us at the point of our inability to make life work out by our own wisdom and by our own resources. If you are trying--to make it on your own, sooner or later you will find yourself with Moses on the back side of the desert. Life will turn out to be a blind alley. Moses found forgiveness for his past and usefulness for his future by surrendering to the will of God. Surrender is not easy. Religion is often presented too glibly. It is hard to give up our dependence on ourselves.
But there are deeper reasons why we cannot surrender our lives to God.
First, we join Moses in his fear of himself. God called Moses to a new life and he replied: "Who am I?" (Exodus 3:11.) For him, so he thought, life was over. He had ruined his life by his sin and he could not imagine there being anything worthwhile for him to do. Most of us know that we are responsible for our own failures, and we find it hard to believe that God will give us another chance.
God replied to Moses and he says to us, "Certainly, I will be with you." (Exodus 3:12.) As you try again, you will not be walking in your own strength alone.
Second, Moses was unsure about God. He had a guilty conscience because of his sin and failure. He could not imagine one such as he receiving God's blessing.
We share this fear that God will fail to sustain us if we do surrender to Him. Our fear of ourselves makes us afraid to trust God. We don't deserve His goodness and His forgiveness and His help. We ask God with Moses, "Who are you?" In the Christian faith we have God's answer to that question. Look at Jesus Christ. God is like that. It is folks like us that God loves. It is to the weak and to the failures and to the guilty that He comes offering Himself in strength and in forgiveness.
Third, Moses was afraid of what people would say if he came to them, talking about God. He was afraid they would remember what he had been. They would say: "The Lord hath not appeared unto thee." (Exodus 4:1.)
We too find it hard to surrender because we fear what people will say. God gave Moses certain assurances that He would honor Moses' surrender withŠ evidences of his power which would convince people that God was with him. He promises you: "My strength shall be made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9.)
God offers us forgiveness and usefulness if we will surrender. He understands our feelings of inferiority, our fear of God and our fear of people. He offers an open road into the future out of our blind alley.
It is not an easy way, but it is actually the only way. You and I can't make it alone.
---Vernon S. Broyles, Jr., The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 4, 1965.
To fear that you will fail in an effort to do right is to fail to begin the right. He who never begins to do right will die wrong.
---A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., May 13, 1923.
Fear is as great a stumbling block to progress as is to be found in the path of life. Fear turns the sorrowful sinner back to his sin because he is afraid he will not hold out.
---A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., July 25, 1926.
Fear comes from keeping your ear so close to the ground that you are in no position to kneel up straight for prayer.
---Gabriel Ward Hafford, North-Central Louisiana Register, Alexandria, La., Jan. 21, 1955.
"Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10.)
The curse of fear is the lack of faith. It dishonors God, unfits us for service, produces weakness, encourages evil, destroys the believer's influence, produces bondage, and brings torment. ... Fear never built anything. It represses inventions, benevolences, ambition. Fear never does anything constructive. It is faith that builds, that is constructive. ...
Fear is the tax conscience pays to guilt. We are afraid because we have no confidence. We think of courage as the opposite of fear. It is not so. Faith is the opposite. Courage is the outgrowth of faith. Fear is caused by a breaking loose from God. Fear is caused by lack of love. "Perfect love casteth out fear." (1 John 4:18.)
The cure of fear we find in the words, "I am with thee." Are you a failure? "I will help thee." Are you lonely and on the sunset side of life? "I am with thee." Do you fear temptation? "I will strengthen thee." Are you a failure as a Christian? "I will help thee." Are you afraid of responsibility? (The sense of responsibility is the most weighing thing in the world.) "I will help thee." Do you fear death? "I will uphold thee."
The cure of fear is the fear of God. Not the cringing, groveling fear that shrivels the soul, but a reverent, obedient, worshipping, loving fear of God. The cure? "I am with thee." The fear of God is wisdom. (Job 28:28.) The fear of God is clean. (Psalms 19:9.) The fear of God teaches us to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13.) It prolongs our days. (Proverbs 10:27.) It gives us strong confidence. (Proverbs 16:27.) The fear of the Lord tendeth to life. (Proverbs 19:23.) The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom. (Proverbs 15:33.) By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil. (Proverbs 16:6.) The fear of God is holiness. (2 Corinthians 7:1.)
---M.E. Dodd, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., April 28, 1924.
Fear produces insecurity. ... Insecurity drives people in search of money, because money in our society is [a] very real symbol of security. This is one reason why gambling always increases when a fear psychology takes over. Fear cam make a man become beastlike.
We all become much more self-centered when we are afraid. We forget ethics and morality in our money getting when fear takes over our minds.
As long as fear operates, we become more unethical and selfish. In other words, we become people filled with opposites. We cannot let our right hand know what our left hand is doing.
Religion on the one hand teaches us to be outward, unselfish, and trustful of our neighbor, but our fear makes us more defensive and our attentions are centered on ourselves. ...
Fear also interferes with one's ability to reason. We begin to act irrationally. We cannot plan for the future or think through problems in a rational manner. If we do not have the full powers of our reason, then it follows that we must act on emotion.
This amounts to the surrender of one's selfhood. It is akin to the Bible doctrine of being lost. In such a state we surrender our own souls, our thinking, and we cannot obey God, because we are obeying men.
Another fact we must observe is that fear retards growth and brings out the primitive elements in man. Love disintegrates into sex. Freedom becomes license. Principle is replaced by power. Morality is reduced to opinion. Social welfare is forgotten in the search for individual privilege.
What can we do about fear? First of all, we must accept the fact that if fear takes over our minds, we are responsible for it. We do not have to permit fear to become our master. We can make a lot of excuses, but we must admit that we do determine the course of our lives, and we can choose whom we are to follow. We can choose to follow God and His righteousness and not fear. We can choose to love our neighbor instead of choosing to hate him. We must work at the task of developing a healthy and growing religion that teaches love and human welfare and not prejudice and hate. We ought to think about whether it is more important to survive by killing our neighbor than it is to die with our neighbor by sharing our food with him.
Another thing we can do to conquer fear is to reason together with ourselves and with God about the things that really do give security. Here we run upon some of the age old questions. Does money, privilege, position, honor, and selfishness produce security? If we study these things seriously, we can come up with some answers that will help us to conquer fear in our own lives and will help to stabilize the people who come within our orbit of influence.
---Harold L. Hawkins, Baptist Hospital Echo, Alexandria, La., November 1961.
2 Timothy 1:7 declares that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind." This clearly suggests that a spirit of fear produces that which is opposite to the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. We all know that fear is one of the primary emotions of life, so if fear is overtaking us we cannot have power and love and a sound mind. The same could be said of all the other unhealthy emotions of our living.
---Harold L. Hawkins, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., April 28, 1955.
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? (Psalms 27:1.)
We fear so many things as we sojourn through life. The poor and rich and the young and aged all have fear of what may come to pass. There seems to be nothing too big nor too insignificant to make us afraid. Fear has the power to create the very things we fear. Jod said, during his suffering, The thing which I greatly feared has come upon me.
Fear is contagious in that we very freely express to one another our fears. We tend to amplify our fears. Fear has the power to paralyze our efforts and abilities.
The parable about the talents relates that the man with the one talent went and buried it out of fear that he couldn t do anything with it. Often we are called upon to do something for God s Kingdom and we, too, out of fear go and bury our talents.
All our fears can be overcome through faith in the living God. What time I am afraid, I will trust in God.
---G.K. Zimmerman, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 4, 1952.