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Overcoming Fear Of Sin
By Brian Price 10/7/2013

"1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother." - Genesis 32:1-13

Here we read of the story of Jacob and how he was afraid to meet his brother Esau. Verse 6 says, "And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands."

Jacob and Esau had a very rough past. When they were younger, Jacob had lied about his identity, and stole his brother's blessing. Their father Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau, and because of this, Esau was enraged and wanted to kill Jacob. Having a father's blessing is not an uncommon thing, although some may never have experienced it.

When I about 24 years old, I was talking to my father on the phone, and we were talking about different things. But before we hung up as we normally do every week when we talk, he said to me, "Son, I want to give you my blessing. You have my blessing."

This blessing has been very important to me, and I have never forgotten that. So we can imagine for Jacob to steal his father's blessing from Esau was very hurtful. But much time had passed, and by now Jacob was all grown up. 20 years had passed since Jacob left home, and he was now returning to the place where he had grown up. By this point, Jacob had become wealthy. When he left home, he had nothing but his staff. Now, he was returning home with 4 wives and lots of children.

At this point in his life, he had forgotten the words that his mother had spoken to him all those years ago. When his mother found out Esau was planning on killing Jacob, she told him these words in Genesis chapter 27:

"42 ....Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.

43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;

44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;

45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?"

We don't know if Jacob ever got to see his mother after that day. The Bible does not say. We assume that she may have died during those years that Jacob was gone.

But when Jacob returned to his homeland, he was afraid to see his brother because he thought that he would have still had this grudge held against him. That was not the case at all as you will find out in Genesis chapter 33.

Jacob's mother was right because after all those years, Esau had totally forgotten about what he had done to him. Nevertheless, we read here about Jacob's fear to return to his land because of his brother.

And friend, fear can have a terrible control on a person's life.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Fear is a dangerous tool of the enemy that is often used to trip up believers and to cause them to sin. Have you ever been in that situation where you had to get something done safely and when you feared the worst, the worst actually happened, or almost happened? But had you not been so afraid, perhaps the worst would never have happened.

Or perhaps you were told a lie about some place, and the fear was so overbearing that you couldn't even muster the strength to go there? Yet all along, the place was nothing like what you heard.

Fear mongering, according to one definition, "...is the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end." It goes on to say that "...the feared object of subject is sometimes exaggerated, and the pattern of fear mongering is usually one of repetition, in order to continuously reinforce the intended effects of this tact, sometimes in the form of a vicious circle."

'Fighting Fear Mongering, Vaccines' - http://catalyzingillinois.com/category/fear-mongering

We can read a good example about fear mongering in Nehemiah chapter 6. It says:

"13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear."

As we can read from Nehemiah, fear was a tactic used by the enemy to try to get Nehemiah to sin. They failed, but the principle still remains that fear mongering is a tactic of Satan to tempt someone to sin.

1 John 4:18 says:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

Fear was ultimately designed by God for our good. But when this fear is abused by the enemy, that's when it becomes a stumbling block for those who are victimized, and ultimately it becomes torment.

As we can see from this story about Jacob, Jacob was fearful of his brother for no good reason. Granted, the appearance was that Esau was coming at him with about 400 men to kill Jacob. But if he were to remember the words of his mother, and the advice she had given him, he would have not fallen for that false sense of fear.

And for us, we can learn from that by taking heed to the good advice God has given us in his word about certain things. For instance, if we are constantly in fear about messing up, we can rest our fearful minds on the truth of the Bible, which says, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself and that wicked one touched him not." - 1 John 5:18

Do Christians sin? Yes. Do they commit every sin that a lost person commits? No. And we have proof of that in the book of 1 John. For instance, we know that true born again believers do not commit murder because the Bible says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." - 1 John 3:15

I would it is a safe bet to say that a person who says he is a Christian, and then commits murder was never truly saved to begin with. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

But this constant fear of sin is unnecessary. Why do we allow storms of fear and doubt to assail?

We read in Mark chapter 4 that Jesus said to his disciples, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?"

Fear can be torment for us as it was for Jacob. But with the word of God, we can prevail over needless fear. The key to getting victory over this tormenting fear is to constantly keep one's mind on God. Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in PERFECT PEACE who mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

Notice it says PERFECT PEACE. Perfect peace comes from constantly meditating on the word of God, constantly praying, and constantly thinking positive thoughts.

Whenever I have episodes of fear, one thing I almost always do is read Psalms 119. It's in the middle of the Bible for a reason. It's to help us. So let me just encourage you to keep your mind engaged in prayer and reading the Bible to help overcome your fears. Do not allow fear to control your life. Get the victory through God's grace.

If You Died Today, Would You Go To Heaven?