GCW recently gathered (online) on four Sunday evenings to watch the Living with Anxiety and Fear seminars from Word Alive. Steve Midgley did the teaching and I can confidently say everyone who joined in thoroughly appreciated just how helpful it was. This is especially so as it was on a difficult, and perhaps neglected, subject.
I would strongly encourage absolutely everyone to watch the seminars themselves. However, if you still need convincing, here are three things that I found very helpful and which might whet your appetite.
1. Fear distorts our view of life
Fear affects what we choose to do and how we do things.
‘Any time you love or want something deeply, you will notice fear and anxieties because you might not get them.
Any time you can't control the fate of those things you want or love, you will notice fears and anxieties because you might lose them.’ Ed Welch
This quote from Ed Welch’s book Running Scared explains how fear and worry can creep into our lives so easily. Then our priorities can easily alter and our lives can change drastically as a result.
This, coupled with the fact that sin itself distorts our desires away from good and wholesome things, means our fears can become really debilitating and sometimes even quite nonsensical.
This is all because we worry about things! Often we think being worried is not that bad a thing but if left unchecked it will distort your view of life and, in turn, how you live it too.
2. Fear and faith are closely connected
I never truly realised just how closely fear and faith are related. Fear inhibits our lives whilst faith frees us.
In Mark 4, Jesus, after calming the storm, says to his disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Jesus makes the connection here between the disciples' fear and the fact that believing and trusting in him would have removed such fear. The storm need not have been so terrifying if they truly understood just who was asleep in the stern of the ship.
In this sense, fear and faith are opposites. Real trust in the God who is sovereign, wise and loving means worrying about what might happen to us is drastically reduced - to the point where we are free to live our lives as we ought.
3. Fear of the Lord is the key to seeing fear recede
Now, this point seems contradictory. How can fear of the Lord make fear recede?
Fear of the Lord is to know him as he truly is - the almighty King of the universe. It is to be in awe and astonished by him. This does not mean we are terrified of God. Rather, it is the fear of the Lord that keeps everything in proper perspective.
For example, problems at work once again become problems at work and not major deciding factors in how you experience your life. You may need to take action to resolve the problems, even quite severe action, but even then it doesn’t become bigger than it ever should be.
What is most remarkable is this same God, who is Lord of all things, has come close to us in Jesus Christ - he is not distant and uncaring. He came into our world, experienced it’s brokenness and hurt, and did it all to save us from eternal death. What a wonderful God we have!
To pick out these three things from the four seminars seems unfair to the teaching that was given. All four seminars were truly excellent and I’ve not even scratched the surface of what was said.
To hear the real stuff head to the Word Alive website by clicking the link below.