Christians like to make hot topics out of ‘big’ sins and ignore ‘small’ sins, but everything big starts from something small. God says sin is sin (1John5:17). All sin grows, and all sin leads to death (James1:5). Trying to get rid of ‘big’ issues is often met with failure. We can pick up broken branches everyday, or we can cut the tree down and pull up the root once and for all.
Because the church isn’t talking about small sins, people often live under fear, competition, suspicion, and a variety of smaller sins their whole lives. They want help with their problems, but can’t pinpoint the issue, because no one is talking about the issue. Many of our smallest problems are the culprit for our giants. Today I want to show you how fear took root in my life and caused branches of immorality, broken relationships, dishonesty, and many other issues. Fear is a hidden killer, and this ‘small sin’ called fear is just as dangerous as the ‘big sin’ of murder. Lets look at how fear can hurt other, self, and our relationship to God.
1. Fear hurts others.
One day, in high school, I saw a girl crying. I had compassion, but I walked past her anyway. God kept nudging me to turn back, and eventually I did. I went and talked to her; she accepted Jesus, and a few years later she died in a car accident.
I had the choice that day whether I would be a murderer or a lifesaver, and only by the grace of God did I make the right choice. It was just like the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke10), except it looked like the road from the cafeteria to the classroom. The Samaritan found a person half dead; he helped him, where a religious leader had passed by ignoring that voice of compassion.
Don’t you think if the Samaritan had passed by this half dead man, God would have held him accountable? If I had passed by this girl, wouldn’t I been held accountable? If they had died from our lack of help, wouldn’t we have the blood on our hands from our decisions?
I’ve missed many right choices and that puts the fear of God on me. I can see now that my fear is equal to murder, and it’s time for it to go to hell. Fear is just as deadly as any other sin.
– Rev. 21:8 – but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Those who fear cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. God doesn’t have a hierarchy of sin; He sees fear as equal to murder – and it is. I was barely alive myself, in those days; barely making it. More times than not, I was scared to go out on a limb, and say anything, for fear that it would bring on even more pain. I was fighting suicide. I didn’t feel like I had the ability to help that crying girl, but Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. Jesus was suffering the same thing they were. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.
We feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. People don’t care about answers as much as they want to know someone understands what they are going through. God doesn’t want us to go through hard times, but since He gave people freewill, we often suffer for other people’s bad choices. He could save us, and often He does, but sometimes He ships us out to the front lines of a battle so we can help the people fighting there. This time I helped and we won; but my fear, my silence, my disobedience to God’s law (to share the truth with all people) meant death for someone else. Those times I made the wrong choice, I became a murderer. I left them half dead and something might have come behind me that took them out. Jesus has washed my wrongs away. He can forgive you of anything–even murder; you just have to ask Him. Don’t let fear hold you back. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else.
– Is. 58:10 – if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
When you help someone else YOU get light in your life. Help someone and it brightens up your own dark places.
2. Fear doesn’t only hurts others; it hurts self.
My previous church split; it was a horrible thing to happen. The body of Christ being cut in half… Ouch, we cut Him in half… Yeah, its damaging. Our pastor was seeking God fiercely, and biblically, and I stayed. Many of my closest friends left with their families and a spirit of fear came over me and said, ‘If my friends rejected the pastor, and part of the bible, they will reject me too’; so I stayed silent. Like I said, I was barely surviving in those days, and I let fear take over my relationships. I stopped opening up, sharing, or telling my perspective. I had no intimacy in my friendships, because I wouldn’t let them: into-me-see. This led me into problems like looking for intimacy in the wrong places, anger from not being understood, and loneliness which grew into suicidal thoughts. I was dying and I wouldn’t let anyone help, because I let fear of rejection take over. I had many friends and still felt utterly alone; fear stole my intimacy, and kept me from having someone to help me when I needed it. My enemies had a field day with me, because I wouldn’t let anyone see where I was and help guide me out. Jesus was there for me and my love for His laws kept me from going over the edge. The strand of fear was broken, but I was still strong in other areas. He saved me, and brought many teachers and encourages to me in those seasons.
Fear can shut you down. It can steal your identity. It can open the door for other problems too.
One friend said the things the church believed were crazy. They didn’t know that the only reason I was still alive was because one of the people, with that crazy idea that God still speaks today, saved my life. They didn’t know I believed in the prophetic, or why I would believe in it; but today they do. Now I don’t have to live in constant fear of losing my friend. Their reaction will show me what our friendship is made of. Either they will love, respect, and accept me, or I need a better friend. And now they have heard part of my testimony of what God has done in my life. That prophecy, though it sound crazy, has held unquestionably true in multiple parts of my life.
“The standard has got to be set at such a high level that you have to be so uncompromising, and so unyielding in your convictions, that you make up in your mind that I would rather be my myself, than have somebody fall in love with a me that’s not me.” – Jamal Bryant
Acquaintances have often said hateful things about me to other people. Many assume that I am too prideful to talk to them. That’s why God tells us not to judge with our eyes. We can’t see what people are going through, unless we ask God to show us what He sees. Those people saw me as confident and arrogant. They had no idea that I felt beneath them. They didn’t know that fear had shut me down. I had a false confidence; one that used to say, ‘I don’t care what they think; screw them, because they look down on me.’ Now that God is tearing down fear in my life and helping me see through His eyes, I know that He sees all of us as equals. I ask Him to help me see myself as equal to others, and to help me speak when people walk by. I ask His Spirit to give me boldness, and power, to speak when I have fear. My introversion was full-blown, but even the Myers-Briggs is a witness of how God is transforming me. I am becoming less introverted. While people can cut me down with their words and actions, only God can kill my soul. He is my protector, healer, redeemer, and He has called me to be a light to others. I cannot be a light if I am hiding.
It’s foolish to hide who you are, then live in constant fear of what would happen if someone knew the real you. Just let what’s going to happen, happen and get over it. Either your relationship gets stronger, or you get to trust God to bring you a better friend. I’m slowly choosing life instead of fear. I’m casting down every idol of fear and it is making my life so much better. I feel free. I can be known and put myself out there, whether it be for rejection or acceptance. Now people can learn more about God through my openness and experiences, and I can be intimately known by those who love me. Win, Win. Who knew that fear could shut down intimacy? No one told me, so let me tell you! If you don’t have healthy friendships where you can be intimate and vulnerable, then you are going to look for the wrong kind of intimacy somewhere else, and it is still not going to fill the need of being known. God is Love, and in Love there is no fear. To have true, loving, intimate relationships, you have got to pull the plug on fear. God even gives us a helper to bring us out from under fear:
– 2 Tim. 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful and timid, but gives us power, love, and good judgment.
People are looking for someone who understands more than they are looking for answers. That’s why you shouldn’t wait till you have come through a situation before you try to help someone else. You can help someone while you’re in the midst of your hard situation. Jesus gave up His life, and He gained it. He made a friend who was going through the same thing He was. It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that very day.
3. Fear hurts our relationship with God.
The root to all sin is not trusting God. When you don’t trust God for provisions, you’ll steal. When you don’t trust God where your marriage is concerned, you’ll commit adultery. When you don’t trust God plan, you fear and make your own.
Fear God not man; respect God above man.
– Matt. 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul
Most people aren’t going to kill you, so just do what God asks you to do. Even if they kill you, you don’t answer to man but to God. The judgement of God determines our eternal freedom or condemnation. He asks us to be fearless in taking the kingdom. Take the kingdom with force. Be a soldier. Don’t hide. The brave, and the valiant, gain great honor and wealth.
– Jos. 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
– 1 John 4:4 – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
– 1 Sam. 17:24-25 – As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him.
– 1 John 5:3-5 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. Forwhatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Put your trust in God’s words. They are here to guide you in every situation. Renew your mind and allow God to show you how He would do things. Leave no stone unturned. Question every aspect of your life to see if it lines up with God’s ways. He will give you victory over everything. Even the smallest sin in your life could be the cause of your biggest problems.
– Gal. 5:9 – A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough
Sin grows, just like yeast works through dough. Don’t let sin sit in your life. Confess and turn away from even the least bit of it. Tear down fear today, because I am a living witness that it leads to death.
Worship: Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns
“The stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”
Prayer: Lord, start to show your people the destruction of the seeds. Bring forth more understanding of how small things can cause big problems. Raise up voices to talk about these issues so your people don’t live in confusion and ignorance. Help us see the problems so that we can overcome them by your strength. Help us hear your voice above all the others and know your truth when the enemy is coming against us. Increase our discernment of your voice. Teach us your ways. Tear off fear from each person; put a spotlight on it, so they can remove what they were stumbling on in the dark and so they no longer have to walk in darkness. Sign your light and let your word illuminate every mind and bring peace to every situation fear has affected. Help us chase after you without hinderance. Tear down this giant and take us that much closer to stepping into our promised land. Let us no longer fear being known. Let us no longer fear speaking in your name. Let us shout praise to you as you bring us through the battle; a war cry, and a shout of victory, for all to hear. Just as David took down Goliath – and he opened the eyes for others to see that you can bring them victory – many people were strengthened and later took down Goliath’s brothers. Grow and develop us. Help us work together, as your church, and take down every enemy, in the name of our crowned victor, Jesus; our God is mighty in battle, and at His name every knee will bow. Your kingdom lasts through eternity Father; Amen.