The Power to Bless:
Part 3 - Let Your Faith Overcome Your Fears
June 7, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! Our title and our topic today is “The Power to Bless, Part 3: Let Your Faith Overcome Your Fears.” You have the power to let your faith overcome your fears, and I want to talk with you about that today. I’m wondering if you have fears you need to deal with in your life. I know I do. I’m not talking about risky things like skydiving; I’m talking about the everyday things that you need to do. I’m talking about the everyday fears that hold you back from the great things that God would have you do. I am inviting you to let your faith overcome your fears, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
In our epistle this morning, we read this great thing – did you see that one verse in Romans 8, verse 10? “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” We are not slaves to fear. Fear is not our master, because you are a child of the most high Master. Think about that, won’t you, when you are afraid of something that you need to do, afraid of something that should be done, that letter that has to be written, that conversation that needs to be held, that meeting that needs to be gone into, maybe that word of apology that needs to be spoken? And if you feel afraid and somehow that fear is keeping you back, remember this: you are a child of God. The Bible tells us so.
There’s a wonderful old song that goes something like this:
If anybody asks you who I am,
Who I am,
Who I am,
If anybody asks you who I am,
Tell them I’m a child of God.
And that’s who you are! You can let your faith in God overcome your fear.
We have an exciting story in this morning’s Bible reading, in the book of Isaiah. We hear from the prophet Isaiah about how it all got started. You know what I think happened? I think Isaiah felt a knocking at the door of his heart, and that knocking was the voice of God saying “Whom shall we send? Who will go for us, Isaiah?”
Now, that “we” refers to the Trinity, to the divine plural, God referring to Himself in the plural. “Whom shall we send, Isaiah? Who will go for us?”
Isaiah tells us, “You know, I was so afraid to answer that question. I said to God, ‘I am a man of unclean lips. I live among a people of unclean lips. Sometimes I feel so low and unworthy and inadequate and afraid.’”
And we have a great vision of God, and in the vision majestic angels came to Isaiah with a burning coal and touched those lips that he thought were unclean. He said, “There, now, Isaiah, this has cleansed your lips. Your sins no longer stand in your way. Your fears no longer have to stand in front of you. You are clean. You are good. You are worthy, Isaiah. And by the power of God, anything that has taken that worthiness away from you is gone. This is not a coal that burns or hurts. This is a coal that cleanses. This is not a light that destroys. This is a light that restores the inner beauty that is you, the inner uniqueness that is you. Go free, Isaiah.”
Now, the Lord says, “Whom shall we send, and who shall go for us?” And Isaiah says, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.” Isaiah pushed through his fear by the power of God, and he was able to live life full and rich.
That is my hope for you. If there is something you are afraid of, big or small, that is keeping you from accomplishing a full and abundant life that God has in store for you, push through it. I like to use the phrase, walk into the lion’s mouth. Instead of being afraid, just charge right in and know that the power of God is going to be with you.
I had to ask a friend for a favor. I didn’t want to do it. I was afraid to. It was a dear, dear person, and I thought, I don’t want him to think that I’m needy. I don’t want him to think less of me. I don’t want to take his time. I was afraid. But I pushed right through it. I called him up, and he said, “Oh, it’s so good to hear from you. Of course I’ll help you. It’s just great to hear your voice and that we’re together again. Praise God for a chance to be together!”
What a relief! What a good feeling! He helped me out, and he said that he felt good about it, too. Push through. If there’s a tough thing, walk into the lion’s mouth. You may find that the lion is so surprised, he can only keep his mouth open for you.
The other thing to do, friend, is to remember that as you go forward, through your fear, with faith, God is with you. You are not alone. Whatever the circumstances, simple or profound, you are a Christian; you are a person of belief. God is with you. Jesus said, “I am with you always.”
There was a story of a little boy who had to go past a big, spooky house every night, in the evening. He was so scared, and he needed help. He reached out to three adult friends. “I’m scared going past the house,” he said.
The first friend says, “Why? You’re a big boy. You shouldn’t be afraid. What’s the matter with you?”
He went to the second friend. The second friend said, “I’ll buy you a flash light. That will make you feel better, right?”
He went to the third friend, and the third friend said, “I know what it means to be scared. I will walk with you past the house.” And that friend made all the difference.
As you go forth into the week, and you confront things that are scary and that bring fear to you, I invite you to remember that you don’t go it alone, but that God is with you and will give you remarkable courage and add remarkable strength to your day and to the things that you must do and need the courage for. He will do it; He will be with you, because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2009 Anthony J. Godlefski