Americans have celebrated another Presidents’ Day, honoring all who served in our nation’s highest office.
One of the most notable and relevant presidential messages is from President Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address during the depth of the Great Depression in 1933.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he said
Well, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu all over again.”
Today, we find ourselves living in unsettling times, especially with regard to how our nation seems so divided and fearful.
While I’m sure there are many reasons we could cite for all the protests, unrest or disharmony, one reason remains clear: fear.
Fear is a dangerous and deadly undercurrent of life. It will rob us of vitality, enthusiasm, anticipation and progress.
The Proverb writer is accurate when he writes, “I am worn out by my worries” — fear.
Think about the fruit of fear.
Fear ruins relationships, because it prevents honesty. When we deny our feelings and refuse to tell the truth, we destroy those closest to us.
Fear hinders genuine happiness. Think about it; one cannot be happy and fearful at the same time.
Additionally, fear will sabotage success. The way we tend to think is the way we tend to react in life.
I am reminded of Job.
“Everything I fear and dread comes true,” he said to his friends.
So what is the antidote to overcoming fearful living?
For me, fear’s best antidote is filling my mind with God’s truth.
The Gospel writer John penned the words, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Living free from fear will come as you build your life on truth.
Second, I have discovered as I fill my heart with God’s love, I tend to be less fearful. Anytime you replace bitterness, anger and resentment with God’s love and compassion, fear is expelled.
A contemporary translation of a biblical text reads, “Love fully developed, expels every particle of fear.”
Finally, an antidote to fear is to replace it with faith and acknowledge Jesus as your savior and Lord.
Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and said, “Above all, be sure to take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile that the enemy hurls at you.”
Our adversary, Satan, seeks to put fear in our hearts and minds. He suggests all kinds of things for which to be fearful.
The shield against such an attack is faith.
Where do you need faith today? Faith to accept Jesus as Savior? Faith to join a community of believers? Faith to change a career? Faith to make a commitment in marriage?
Overcome your fear! Fill your mind with God’s truth. Fill your heart with God’s love. Fill your life with faith in Jesus.
Dr. Tom Smiley is the senior pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.