Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Exposing Fear’s Lies

Dannah Gresh: Do you ever wish God would change what is going on in your life? Steve Canfield says sometimes we just need a different perspective!

Steve Canfield: God didn’t deliver David from his circumstances, but He delivered David from his fears—because David had a view of God that was greater than his fears and greater than his circumstances.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe: and the Truth That Sets Them Free, for November 10, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What do you fear? Does that fear drive your life in any way? In today’s program, we’re picking up where Steve Canfield left off yesterday talking about the different fears we have. If you missed it, you can listen to yesterday’s episode on the Revive Our Hearts app or at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Steve is a senior leader and a revivalist with Life Action Ministries, the parent organization for Revive Our Hearts, and he shared this message a few months ago with the staff of Life Action Ministries and Revive Our Hearts during our annual Seek Week. Now, let’s hear the rest of Steve’s message “Living Beyond Fear.”

Steve: I went to a new chiropractor recently and had to fill out all these forms and answer all these questions about your history and whatever. Some of these health things, they ask stupid questions. . . at least they seem stupid to me.

And so here is the question: “What are your three health goals?” Well, to be healthy! What do you mean, what are my health goals? That made no sense to me! So I wrote down: “My health goal, number one, is to die quickly!” (laughter) I don’t want to die soon, but I just want it to be quick; I don’t want to have a lingering death.

And my second health goal I wrote down was to, “Eat whatever I want!” Those are my two health goals! I was just being honest. The chiropractor did not see the humor in that; he did not think that really was funny at all!

My three main food groups are: salt, sugar, and coffee. I’ve lived for quite awhile here, and in my lifetime three types of lettuce have been recalled: romaine, spinach, and iceberg. Do you know what has never been recalled? Cheetos! (laughter) Never! No one has ever said, “Oh, we found some vitamins. Take them off the shelf!” That never happened!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat lettuce. I’m just saying, the point is that we’ve gone to such an unhealthy extreme about our health, and so we’re afraid of everything. I remember a team member we had years ago who was just in fear of dying of cancer. He’d had a relative who had died of cancer, and he really lived in torment that he just knew he was going to get cancer.

Now, do some people get cancer and die? Absolutely. Do some people have a genetic disposition towards cancer? Yes. Should we avoid carcinogenic foods? Certainly. But I’m just saying, when you live in the fear of that, that the next step you take, you’re going to fail. Or if you eat that you’re going to die, or whatever . . .

Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Cor. 5:8 KJV). What’s wrong with that? That is a great thing! I’m not saying I want to die . . . I mean, sometimes. I think all of us have woken up at some time and wished we wouldn’t have.

Maybe you’ve gone through things, I’ve gone through things, family-wise or whatever, where we think, I’m just done with this! My mom as she got older was frail. She said, “Steve, would you just get a gun and shoot me!” She was eighty-six. 

I said, “Mom! God has you here for a reason!” She was a great prayer warrior!

But she had just come to the point where she was done! We all come to those days like that, but God has you here for a reason. And until God is through with you, then there’s nothing that can stop you from living, because God is in control of that. And the new man that God placed inside of us was not built for fear! 

For us to live crippled by fear is not the revived life that God wants. That’s why the first thing that Paul said to Timothy was, “I want you to be courageous! I want you to be fearless! You have a new man inside of you. We have laid hands on you. We have commissioned you, so don’t be fearful!” (see 2 Tim. 1:6–7). I mean, they had a lot to be fearful of in that culture!

Someone said that fear and worry and anxiety are the sand in the machinery of life, and faith is the oil. For some of us, those gears are just grinding because we’ve got all this sand of fear and worry and anxiety. 

Now, back to that first question: “What do you fear?” Maybe on your list you might have to put down: “just getting old.” That’s a fear that people have. I’m facing those years.

I went to a doctor just about a month ago for an exam, and I had to fill out a new form, because now I’m into the Medicare season, so they added this new form. Again, just stupid questions. Like, “Are people telling you that you’re forgetting things?” 

I wrote down, “Not that I can remember.” (laughter) Stupid questions require stupid answers; that’s my philosophy about that.

And then the next question was this: “Have people been criticizing your driving?” 

I said, “I’ve been married forty-four years; nothing has changed.” (laughter) Right? They’re asking you, “Are you getting senile?” Basically, that’s the question, right?

There is a plethora of phobias that people have in our culture. Write those down. Old age may be your fear; that’s fine. Here’s another fear: danger. Now again, not all of these are wrong. There are healthy fears. Fear of danger, in its balance, is okay. It helps us make wise choices. Lack of fear sometimes just comes from stupidity.

One time when I was in high school I remember skipping school. I took my parents’ station wagon, and with some of my friends, we drove over to the Oregon coast. I remember driving down this two-lane road at 125 MPH. I wanted to bury the speedometer in my parents’ station wagon! I thought it was funny. My friends were scared stiff!

Okay, that was not fearlessness—that was stupidity! So don’t sacrifice courage for stupidity. I’m not saying that. Some of you are not going to like this, but if I had a choice, I’d rather die from stupidity than worry, frankly. But, anyway, there are helpful fears. Fear motivates you not to get too close to the edge of a cliff. That’s a good thing.

This is a good way to say it: “Fear is a good passenger, but not a good driver.” It’s okay to have caution, it’s okay to be apprehensive, but when you let fear get in the driver’s seat, you’re guaranteed that bad things are about to happen. And some of us are living with fear in the driver’s seat of our life.

Here’s another one you need to write down on your list: ”God.” That’s the right one. There are right things to fear. And the right thing to fear, the right Person to fear, is to fear God! Not to be afraid. God doesn’t punish His people for your sin; He punished Christ on the cross. But He disciplines us; He cares about us; He loves us. We have a reverential respect for Him.

Unhelpful fear comes from a high view of me and a low view of God. Helpful fear comes from a high view of God and a low view of me. Whomever you’re viewing, whomever you’re exalting, whomever you’re looking at as the most important, that’s who you’re going to fear. If God is there and you’re fearing Him, great. If you’re the one, if you’re on the throne, it’s going to be wrong, it’s going to be bad. 

The list of fears could go on and on. You could have “sexual molestation” as one. You can have fear of man. “Man” might be a good one to put down on your list. Some of us fear man. 

Unfortunately, that’s a huge problem for me. I fear disappointing people. I fear failing people. I fear embarrassing myself. Most of my fear comes from insecurity and pride. As I analyze the things I’m fearful of, it’s just my pride, looking bad. 

Debby and I traveled with our founder, Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., for the first ten years we were in this ministry. If there was ever someone who was fearless and courageous, it was Del Fehsenfeld! And I thought, He has no insecurities; he fears nothing!

And we were sitting in a staff meeting one day and he started sharing with the staff about the fears and insecurities of his life, and how he had such a fear of man. In fact, the last message he preached was on the fear of men. It’s the only one we have on video of him. You ought to watch it; it’s a great testimony of his life, of how he feared man. He struggled with fearing the wrong thing. 

Fear of man is the absence of trust in God. Fear of God is the absence of trust in man. Either your confidence is in God or it’s in man, and if it’s in man, you’re going to be in trouble!

Many of our fears, I believe, are rooted in just comparison. We compare ourselves to other people’s gifting. You’ve seen this week we have a variety of gifting, but God has gifted each one of us uniquely. And for you to be fearful because you’re not as good a singer as the next person, or you can’t teach as well or do whatever the other person does on your team as well . . . or in your ministry, or in your church or in your family . . . and living in fear because of that? 

Because of that fear of comparison, we’re afraid that we aren’t going to have provided for us what we need, because other people have more than we do. If we could just have those things, then we could do something! And so we live in this fear of that.

You might have put down the “fear of flying.” Some people are afraid of that. “Fear of witnessing.” Twenty years ago Debby and I flew out to a conference in Colorado Springs. Debby doesn’t like to fly. Debby likes to fly . . . she doesn’t like to take off or land! If we could just fly, it would be fine, but taking off and landing is the problem.

I remember, we got on the plane and we taxied down the runway. I’m reading the paper, and pretty soon I feel this vise grip on my arm! I realize, “Oh, yeah, we’re taxiing down the runway.” And so I hold her hand, and I pray for her. We take off and the plane rattles, and she’s grabbing me. We finally get up into the air, and then she calms down.

And then we get to Colorado Springs, and we start descending and going through the clouds. A little turbulence, and so, again, a vise grip on my arm. I’m sitting there saying, “I’ve got all these stats . . . More people die of car accidents than airplane accidents.” Right? I could say, “It’s all safe, don’t worry about it.” And to me, it’s a little bit silly that someone would be afraid to fly. 

So we land, and we’re in this conference, and we had a little time off. We went to this outlet mall deal. So I went to a few stores with her, and then I went and sat in the middle where all the men sit.

I’m sitting on this park bench waiting for Debby, and a guy comes and sits down next to me, down at the other end of the bench. I’m sitting there and the Spirit of God just said, “Steve, you need to strike up a conversation and talk to him about the Lord.” 

And I said, “I don’t think he’s interested, Lord.”

And God said, “Steve, you just need to talk to him.” 

I looked at him: “I don’t think he’s one of the elect . . .” No, I didn’t say that! I was arguing with God about this: “I don’t really think he looks like he wants to talk.” I’m arguing. Pretty soon, I said, “Okay!” And about the time I said, “Yes,” I turned, and he got up and left.

I sat there on that bench, and here’s what God said to me. “Steve, you’re frustrated because your wife is fearful of flying; you’re afraid to talk to that man about Jesus. Which is worse?” Whoa! I don’t want to be critical of anyone else’s fears.

Don’t be critical because someone else doesn’t fear something—or fears something—that you don’t. You need to go to God and say, “God, what is it that I’m fearing?” What is it that, when You look at my life . . . I say, “Oh, that’s silly, you’re afraid of a spider” or whatever. 

But what was the last thing God asked you to do and you said, “I’m not really too certain about that. I’m not sure; what would they think of me if I said that? What if I confronted them? What if I challenged that?” Don’t laugh at other people’s fears. 

You may need to put down your “fear of the future.” “What’s going to happen to my kids and my grandkids?” Maybe it’s the “fear of being hurt.”

And by the way, most anger is rooted in fear. Fear sometimes shows up in anger. Sometimes people that are very fearful, they don’t want to be seen as fearful, so they just blurt out, spew anger and fear. Much of anger is rooted in that kind of fear. Now, we could go on and on. You need to make your list, but let’s look at the solution. 

The solution is, “Don’t fear the wrong things!” Don’t fear the things on that list that you shouldn’t fear. Fear the right things! Don’t listen to wrong fears. In World War ll, General Patton was being praised by a military leader in Sicily, and he was saying how wonderful and courageous Patton was.

And George Patton, who was an incredible military leader, said this: 

Sir, I am not a brave man. The truth is, I am an utter, craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or sight of battle in my whole life when I was scared so much that I was sweating in the palms of my hands.

Years later, Patton wrote an autobiography, and he said this in his autobiography,

 I learned very early in my life never to take counsel of my fears. 

Never to take counsel of his fears. You know why? Because fear is a liar! There is a song by Zach Williams that I can’t get that phrase out of my head: “Fear Is a Liar!”

Fear will rob your rest; it will steal your happiness. Fear is a liar! And people who are courageous do not live in the absence of fears, they have simply learned not to listen to the counsel of those fears! “I am your brain; I’m not going to listen to this!” The absence of fear comes from living in the security of knowing who God is, and the security of a personal relationship with Him.

And if you are an always-fearful person, I would question your personal relationship. “Perfect love casts out [all] fear.” (1 John 4:18 NKJV). I am secure in the love of God, because I know His character, I have relationship with Him. I am not going to listen to the lie of fear, because fear is a liar. 

The opposite of living in fear is living in courage and power and love and self-control, as Paul exhorts Timothy (see 2 Tim. 1:7). David said in Psalm 34, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears”—not from my circumstances. He didn’t take me out of my battle. He didn’t take me out of my situation. He took me out of my fears.

And we’re saying, “God, take my situation away!” 

And God is saying, “I’ll take your fear away, if you’ll trust Me.” 

Is there hope in this troubled hour? Absolutely! All biblical hope comes from a focus on eternity. There is something beyond this life.

There was a lady named Florence Chadwick; she was a long distance swimmer. She swam the English Channel—twenty-one miles across that. And she wanted the next challenge. The next challenge for her was to swim to Catalina Island. Off the coast of southern California there are some islands, and one is Catalina. It’s twenty-six miles from Huntington Beach. 

I used to live in Orange County not too far from Huntington Beach. You can go down there, and you can take off and swim twenty-six miles and get to Catalina Island. I’ve never done it. But you can do that, and she did that. She wanted to be the first woman to ever do that. So she prepared for this, and she trained for this, and she got going.

About fourteen hours into this swim—fourteen hours of swimming!—a fog rolled in. About fifteen hours into it she said to the people in the boat (that were alongside to beat off the sharks and make sure she was going in the right direction), “I don’t think I can do this; I think I’m done.” 

They said, “Okay, do you want us to get you?”

She said, “No,” but she tried.

She went sixteen hours, and she said, “I can’t do it,” and they pulled her into the boat. They got her in the boat; the fog had rolled in. They didn’t really know how far away they were. As they went a little farther, they realized they were less than a mile from the shore! But because she was so engulfed in the fog, she gave up.

Two months later, she did it again. Again, as she got close, a fog rolled in, but she finished! They said, “How did you do it?” 

She said, “I had in view the shoreline; I got that in my mind. I saw the shoreline and beyond that, this paradise of an island. I watched that in my mind’s eye, and I kept going!”

Listen, death is just a shoreline that leads to Paradise! If you’re sitting there and you’re in a difficult time, and you’re swimming through and you say, “I can’t see anything but fog!”—there is a shoreline. And beyond that there is an incredible life that God has for you!

Our problem is, we focus on the fog rather than saying, “God, I trust You, I believe You.” The thing about a liar is they don’t just tell you a lie one time. They keep on telling that, and the lie comes over and over again. Keep the shoreline in mind! Remember what God has. Remember what awaits you, and stop living in the frustration of the day.

Now, I believe there may be some of you this morning who are engulfed in fear, and it may be that you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve seen scores and scores of people come to this ministry, growing up in church and knowing about Christ, but never having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

You may be sitting here this morning saying, “All this stuff we’ve talked about in these days, this is all great, but you know what? I don’t really know. It’s not really being internalized in me. I don’t have a relationship.”

Don’t go another moment living in the false security of growing up in a church experience and walking out and praying a prayer, when there is no relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, if you don’t have a relationship with God, then you should be living in fear! I don’t know how people that don’t know Christ make it through funerals. But listen, we have a hope beyond that! 

Erwin Lutzer says that the hope of Christ is always tied to eternity. We’re living for that! If you don’t have that hope, then you need to change; you need to come talk to us.

But for those of you that know the Lord Jesus Christ, I want you to write down from the list you just made the three biggest fears that you have—the wrong fears. Write down the three things that you wake up at night worried about, the three things that you say, “These are the most concerning fears in my life.”

I want you to get with God for a few minutes and look up on your phone—or a computer or in your Bible—and find a verse that goes along with each one of those fears. We’ve got to have some ammunition, so when that fear comes, we can say, “No way! That’s a lie, but here is the truth of God’s Word!” 

And before you go to your next thing . . . if you’re sitting at home, I want you to do this, write down your three main fears and find verses that go along with them, so you have some ammunition, so you can say, when that fear comes, when that thought comes, “I’m going to run to the Word of God! I fear God, not that fear, and the Word of God says this . . .” And there is such a plethora of verses, and you can look them up and find them!

Here’s what David said: 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [say it with me:] I will fear no evil: for thou art with me . . . .Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.  (Ps. 23:1–6 KJV)

David had a view of the shoreline: “I’m going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” God didn’t deliver David from his circumstances, but He delivered David from his fears! Because David had a view of God that was greater than his fears and greater than his circumstances. Fear is a liar. Are you going to listen to the lie of the devil, or are you going to listen to the truth of God?

And I want to encourage you to just go, get alone with God and say, “God, I’ve been fearful, and I’m done with that. Here’s what Your Word says, and when that fear comes, I’m going to quote this. I’m going to live in the courage and in the power and in the love and in the self-control the new believer—the new man that lives inside of me—was created to live in.

I want to be that circle that people can watch—not just hear—but watch: This is the normal Christian life.’ I’m not going to live in fear! Let’s bow our heads and close our eyes.

Father, take these truths; embed them in our hearts; give us grace to obey, and we’ll give You praise! In the name of Jesus I pray, amen. 

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
You’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar

Nancy: That’s Zach Williams and “Fear Is a Liar.” Before that we heard Steve Canfield speaking about living beyond fear. Steve asked us to think about our three most concerning fears and to find Scripture to combat each of those fears. 

I hope you’ll take some time right now, today, to find some Bible verses for yourself and to write them down so when those fears start to make their way into your mind, your thoughts, your heart you can race to the Word of God. And you can be reminded that because heaven rules, because of the promises of God, you have no reason to fear!

Dannah: You know, Nancy, we need the constant reminder that heaven rules—not just for our biggest fears, but even for the ordinary moments of life. That’s why I’m so excited about the new Revive Our Hearts 2021 calendar with that very theme!

Nancy: Yes, some months ago when our team met together and said, “What should be the theme for next year’s calendar?” we looked at each other and said, “Heaven rules!” That’s something Robert and I have been saying to each other all throughout 2020—with coronavirus, with cancer, and with many ups and downs of our lives: “Heaven rules!”

And it’s something that has calmed our hearts, settled our minds, and released us from fear. It’s a theme that anchors my heart and will anchor your heart in every storm, in every situation. We have no idea what this new year will hold. Some are saying, “It can’t be as bad as 2020!” Well, we don’t know what 2021 may bring for your life, for ours, or for our world.

But whatever it brings, we can hold fast to the promises of God in His Word, and to the assurance that God is still on His throne . . .and that heaven really does rule!

Dannah: Which is why I’m so excited that the Revive Our Hearts 2021 wall calendar theme will cement this truth into our hearts and our minds every day of every month. Each month will feature a quote from Nancy, as well as correlating Scripture to ground our hearts and minds in this important truth.

So as you flip through month to month in this beautifully designed calendar, we hope you’ll find peace, comfort, and refuge. You can get the new Revive Our Hearts 2021Heaven Rules! calendar when you give a gift of any amount to support the ministry. You know, your donation makes it possible for us to continue making programs like these and to get the truth to women all over the world.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com right now if you feel led to make a donation, or call us at 1–800–569–5959, and be sure to ask for our thank-you gift, the 2021 wall calendar. 

Nancy: Now, if you’re a child of God, the way you experience and express gratitude is fundamentally different from an unbeliever’s thankfulness. We’ll find out how tomorrow as my good friend, Mary Kassian, joins Dannah in the studio to talk about Growing Grateful. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you fight your fears with the truth! It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Steve Canfield

Steve Canfield

After graduating from Bible College with a degree in Bible and counseling, Steve served as a youth pastor in Illinois. Since joining Life Action Ministries in 1975, he has communicated …

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