2nd Timothy 1:3-18
The nearness of objects often gives them an influence out of proportion to their size. For example, the moon is very insignificant when compared to the sun, yet it exerts more influence over the tides than does the sun. The life to come is infinitely more important than this present one; nevertheless, it seems that earthly matters have more influence over us than heavenly concerns.
I still recall being five years old and afraid of the dark. There were real things for me to fear – car accidents, a house fire, the death of my parents and siblings, but I was too young and too far removed from those things to be afraid. Everything was fine until the lights went out and the shadows became monsters. I remember one night in particular. Just outside our house there was a dog howling (In my five year old mind it was a wolf!) I tried to pull the covers up over my head and something would pull them back. This went on for what seemed an hour (Probably no more than a few minutes) and I was terrified. I lay there wondering if I was going to be eaten. It turned out that the beast was our little dog Cricket.
In our lives it sometimes seems that a concern will become a ravening beast. In those moments we are tempted to forget the Almighty God we serve. He is on our side and stronger than any oppressor. We forget about God because we think of Him as being far off while our troubles seem very near.
Paul offered Timothy advice on this very subject. He reminded his young protégé` that God gives us power, love, and a sound mind and that fear is alien. If anyone had cause to be afraid it was the apostle. In prison, and very near the date of his execution, Paul stared his fears in the face and came to understand some very important truths.
I. Most Of Our Fears Are Groundless
A. Most never come to pass
1. We injure ourselves more in our anxiety than ever our troubles will
2. We often cross the bridge before we come to it
3. What if David had done as Saul suggested and faced Goliath with sword and armor?
B. Real troubles are seldom as serious as we suppose
1. We expect the end of the world yet always manage to come through
2. Most troubles are little more than shadows
II. The Truth About Shadows
A. They only exist in the absence of light
1. The light causes them to disappear
2. Troubles lose strength in the presence of faith
3. We must learn to transform trouble into opportunity
B. These last days may give us pause
1. Satan’s assault will be bitter and hard but we will survive it
2. The Devil cannot extinguish the light of God’s grace any more than we can blot out the sun with our hands
III. Even Death Is But A Shadow
A. It only appears to swallow us up
B. We must see with the eyes of faith
Why be afraid? What can happen to us? A martyr’s death? The reality not nearly so bad as the anticipation. Remember; power, love, and true understanding (vs. 7)