Faithlife Sermons

Standing Confidently in the Face of Fear

There is something deep inside all of us that longs for security, safety, and solid ground to stand on.
When those things aren’t present, or at least don’t seem to be present, fear is the result.
Could be fear of being hurt, getting sick, or even dying.
Could be financial fear, fear of failing, fear of being found out, or fear of being rejected in some way.
Regardless, when the ground underneath us is unstable, fear is most often the consequence.
This is not intended to me a Father’s Day sermon, but as I was preparing this week, my sister wrote a post on Facebook reflecting on Father’s Day that hit at the heart of the message of Psalm 27.
“So much of how we move through this world is fear. It motivates so much more of our actions and feelings than most of us can perceive or would be willing to admit. So, to feel safe and secure, to have confidence in a love that isn’t conditional or selfish or at a threat of being taken away, this allows us to flourish.”
My dad was always a huge source of confidence for me and my sister.
He was the reason I rode my first roller coaster and fell in love with them.
He was the reason I have been white water rafting, skiing, rode a hot air balloon, and so many other things.
He always challenged us to try new, and scary things, and was always right next to us when we did.
When things seemed to be too scary, too dangerous, or too challenging, he always pushed us to and gave us the confidence to take the plunge.
Life isn’t filled with extreme sports, but it is full of every day circumstances and situations that can feel overwhelming, dangerous, scary, and challenging, and that can paralyze us with fear.
As David faced those circumstances, Psalms 27 was his heartfelt response, and one we can learn so much from as we face the fears of our life.
The enemies are not the same, but the message and response is very much still appropriate.

1) Confident in the POWERFUL PRESENCE of God.

Psalm 27:1–3 ESV
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
David asks a couple of really important, and related, questions in verse 1; “Whom should I fear?” and “Whom should I dread?”
There were a lot of people and situations that were understandable sources of fear in David’s life.
He was the King of a power and prosperous nation that had enemies all around it.
He also faced enemies from within his kingdom, evil people who desired to take his throne away from him.
David had a lot of reasons to fear.
We don’t face those same enemies, but we also a lot of understandable sources of fear.
If you were to answer those questions honestly, you could probably name a few names, and if we broadened the question to “What should I fear/dread?” the list would grow exponentially.
But David wasn’t asking the question in order to come up with a list, things and people to fear.
He was making a statement: God is my light and salvation, so I have nothing to fear… God is the stronghold of my life, so I have nothing to dread.
The reason David is able to make these declarations is not because he is strong, powerful, wealthy, or wise.
It is because he knows the God is powerful, capable, and present with him.
His confidence isn’t based on himself, others, or his position in life, it is based on the power and the presence of God.
That is the stable ground he is able to stand on with confidence.
David was not afraid when he compared everything he could have fear, and maybe should have feared next to God.
God is bigger than our struggles
God is more powerful than enemies
God is constant, stable, secure...a stronghold of our lives.
What are you comparing your fears to?

2) Confident in the GLORIOUS GOODNESS of God.

Psalm 27:4–6 ESV
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
In the midst of struggles there is ONE THING David says he desires, to dwell in God's house and gaze at his face.
He understands there is ONE thing will heal, help, and give rest.
It ain't a vacation in the Bahamas, it ain't a new job, new car, or new spouse. It ain't more stuff or better stuff.
David knows that God is good and nothing else compares.
He wasn’t asking for what God could do for him, or what he could get from Him.
He wanted God, the source of life, and the ONE THING that our hearts really long for.
I want Him to do this or that, I want Him to provide this or that, and in the process, God is becoming a means to an end, which is not the way our hearts are supposed to be.
Our hearts are supposed to look to God, not as a means to an end, but God as the end. He’s the one we want. He’s the one we need.
You come to God to get God. He’s the one we want. He’s the one we need.
God is the source of satisfaction for our souls. And he is the only true rock of security in our lives.
I guess the question we need to ask is do we primarily see God as useful or do we primarily see God as beautiful? Do you primarily see God as useful in your life for all these other things you want? Or I want? Or do you and I see God primarily as beautiful, like if you were to ask just one thing we want, our answer would be we just want to be with God. We want to gaze upon His beauty. Not as a means to some other end, but as the end. We just want God. And this is what our hearts are designed for. This is what we’re created for. This is where we are intended, designed, created to find ultimate fulfillment. Not in gifts from God, not in provision from God in this way or that way, but in God, period. — David Platt

3) Confident through the PASSIONATE PURSUIT of God.

Psalm 27:7–12 ESV
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
So if God is to be the thing we long for most, then how we live our everyday lives will reflect that pursuit of God.
David was not afraid when he was in pursuit of God.
We hate the word discipline because it sounds lame, boring, and hard.
But the word pursuit is much more exciting and engaging. It has a goal behind it and a motivation to it.
we need to think about the disciplines of the faith as pursuits rather than duties. We are pursuing a relationship with God, to experience and know him in a tranformative and powerful way.
"seek face... Teach me your ways"
A Spiritual Discipline is an intentionally directed action which places us in a position to receive from God the power to do what we cannot accomplish on our own.... The deep waters of God's life are already flowing. We simply learn the strokes that will enable us more and more to be at home in them.... — Richard Foster

4) Confident in the UNQUESTIONABLE CHARACTER of God.

Psalm 27:13–14 ESV
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
What we will find as we grow to know God more fully is just how incredible He is.
We experience the glorious character of God.
David likely wrote those final words without really knowing how the current situation he was in was going to end.
I am confident that you will save me, restore me, make things right…I know who you are Lord.
David was confident in the unchanging character of god.
God is good, regardless of what I see around me.
God is powerful regardless of how powerless I feel
God is wise regardless of how confused I may be
God is in control, regardless of how out of control I feel.
"I believe, I am confident of the character of my god and that is where my hope come from.”
We can and must have that same confidence in God.
Romans 8:31–35 ESV
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Romans 8:38–39 ESV
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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