Letting Go, Part 1: Fear

Posted on 03/15/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***



*******

Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
with Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice


BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name

For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name


STILL

Hide me now, under Your wings
Cover me, within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

Find rest my soul, in Christ alone
Know His power, in quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


Lord willing,
for the next
seven weeks,
including today,
we'll be talking
about a subject
that is all throughout
the Scriptures.

This issue affects
every single area
of your life, including
your health,
your relationship with
others and with God,
and your depth of
peace and joy.

You've probably
heard the saying,
"Let go and let God."

That's nice and catchy,
but so is,
"Forgive and forget."

Do we really know
what either one means?
And does it matter?

"Forgive and forget,"
for example,
sounds incorrect.

"You should forgive,"
I myself have said,
"But you are
never told
to forget."

After all,
if you forget,
you'll let yourself
get repeatedly
taken advantage of.
Right?

And yet,
doesn't Scripture,
talking about
Godly Love, say
"Love does not
keep an account
of wrongs suffered?"

So what does
"forget"
actually mean?

Well, we're not
talking about that
today.

Actually, we kind of
ARE talking about
that today, because
that's part of
the topic we are
starting this week,
the topic of,
"Letting Go."


But we'll get to forgiveness
in the weeks to come,
or at least
that's the plan.

Today, let's talk about this:

"Letting Go, Part 1: Fear."


Okay.

Before we delve into fear,
let's consider WHY
we should let go.

It's a nice slogan.

It's a nice concept.

It's a nice idea in the head.

But in practice,
does it really
mean anything
for ME?


Well, if you would,
allow me to begin
with this bold statement:

A lack of surrender
is the cause
of our suffering.

It is the cause of war.

It is the cause of crime.

It is the cause of hatred.

It is the cause of envy.

It is the cause of greed.

Not letting go
is why we fear death.

It is why our mourning
becomes despair.

It is why we make a mess
out of relationships.

It is why
we become possessive.

It is why
we hurt so much.


These are simple observations.

When you fully surrender,
when you fully let go,
fear and despair
and worry and dread
and hatred and jealousy
automatically fade away,

just like the night
fades into morning.


Is it the path
to what some
call Nirvana?

I don't know about that.

I do know that personally,
I dwell in deep peace,
have unreasonable joy,
and enjoy bouts
of bliss for
no reason whatsoever.

Doesn't matter to me
what you want to call it.

All I know is that
surrender is Life.

And we're going to
talk about it
for awhile.


We do know that
the Scriptures tell us to:

Cast all our cares upon Him.
(1 Peter 5:7)

Don't hold on to temporary things.
(Matthew 6:19-21)

Don't be judgmental or
dwell on someone's past.
(Luke 6:37)

Don't dwell in a state of anxiety.
(Philippians 4:6)

Be fully content
in all circumstances.
(Philippians 4:11-12)

Let go of the
need to be right.
(Proverbs 17:14)

Dwell in still,
non-conceptual,
knowing.
(Psalm 46:10)


Those are just
a few examples.

The Scriptures
are full of surrender.

Of letting go.

And the proof,
so the saying goes,
is in the pudding.

No, I don't know
what that means
either.

Because the original
saying goes like this:

The proof of the pudding
is in the eating.

In other words,
you can't really know
the quality of something
until you have tried it
for yourself.

As Psalm 34:8 (KMV) puts it,
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who trusts in Him.

So I can't prove
with clever words
or silvery speech and
logical arguments
that surrender,
letting go,
has the power to
release you from
anything at all,
or to take you into
the peace and joy
of the heavenly realm
where the God
behind our theologies,
one with us dwells.

I know it to be so
by direct experience.

And that is
the only way
you can truly
know it too.


So if you take notes,
do not take notes
so you can know
what you should believe.

If someone tells you
how to play an instrument,
and you write down
what they say,
but you never
pick up the instrument
and start acting upon
those words,
then you're silly.

And if someone tells you
how to peel and eat
some sort of fruit,
and you take notes,
lots of careful notes,
and you believe
in what they said,
and you look back
on your notes,
and memorize them,
and make a doctrine
out of them,
but you never eat the fruit,

then you've just wasted
an awful lot of
ink and paper
and effort and energy,
for something that
is completely worthless;

and you will
STILL not know
the taste of the fruit,
no matter how skillfully
the speaker described
its flavor, or how
vivid your immagination
might be.



Fear.

We all face fear.

Many of us dwell constantly
in some type of fear.

Fear of saying the wrong thing.

Fear of falling to temptation.

Fear of going to hell.

Fear of losing a relationship.

Fear of losing someone to death.

Fear of our own death.

Fear of the apocolypse.

Fear of financial circumstances.

Fear of bodily harm.

Fear that others may be harmed.

Fear of sickness or disease.


Fear.


It's a common myth,
and I even quoted it here,
that we are told 365 times
in the Bible to "Fear not."

Once for every day of the year.

That's actually not true.

And it actually doesn't matter.

"Do not fear," can be taken
as much like a command
as like an encouragement.

"Thou shalt not fear."

And so we could become afraid
that we might displease God
by experiencing fear.

Plus, we don't have 365 days,
any more than we have a year.

We have only ONE day.

Only ONE hour.

Only ONE minute.

Only ONE second.

Or you could say
we have them all.

Or we have
none of them at all.

They're just ideas.

Labels.

Mental concepts we use
to make Life all
nice and tidy,
sized to fit
in our little
mind-sized box.

The illusion of time
has its purpose and place.

We wouldn't be here together
if we did not organize
the movement of the earth
around the sun
into hours and days.

But it really is not
2:30 PM, or
whatever time it is
where you live,

(see, we can't even
really agree on
what time it is),

any more than
today is Sunday,
in the month of March,
in the year 2015.

All of that is
just in the head.

It's not real.

But we hold on to it.

And we fear it.

And we use it
to help ease our fear.

But regardless of
how the fleshy
calculator between
our ears counts
the number of times
The Bible tells us
to Fear Not,

this one thing is certain:

Fear cannot exist
in the realm of Love.


1 John 4:18 (NKJV) says this:

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.


Now it's possible to
take this verse to heart,
which is good,
and to feel bad
about yourself,
which is
counter-productive.

But the phrase,
"been made perfect,"
could also be translated,
"been made complete."

And you could even
read it verse like this:

"The one who fears
is not fully dwelling
in Love."

Okay, so you can still
condemn yourself
or lecture yourself
with that one,
can't you.

And we frequently
do that very thing.

But it's just as insane
as someone who is
standing outside
in the pouring rain,
fussing at themselves
for not being
a few feet away
under a pavilion
beside a warm,
drying fire.

Silly human,
go to where it is
warm and dry.

"The one who is
shivering in the rain
is not completely
under the pavilion."

"Yes, I have SO far
to go. I'm just lacking
in pavilion. Some day
God will carry me
those ten feet away
and place me under
the pavilion. But for now,
I'll just have to shiver
in the cold. That's just
the suffering of life
on this cursed ball
in space."


My dear fellow traveller,
step under the pavilion.
Dry by the fire.
Warm your chilly bones.

Step out of the rain
of the tormenting thoughts
of the deified human mind,
and dwell in eternity,
dwell in the heavenlies,
dwell in real Life instead.


"There is no fear in love,
for perfect love casts out fear."

Perfect Love casts out fear.
Like the rising sun
casts out the darkness.
Not by force,
of the flashing of a blade,
but by its very presence.


You know, all too often,
we become attached
to fear.

We couldn't let go of it
even if we tried,
any more than
we could let go
of our hands and feet.

We become identified
with our fears.

They are a part of
who we think we are.

Just like someone
who identifies themselves
as a victim; a victim
of abuse, or bigotry,
or unlucky circumstances,
or the system,
or of men,
or women,
or circumstances.

How hard it is
for them to let go
of their status
as a victim.

They unconsciously
feel as though
their victimhood
is a part of
who they are.

And so to free them
from that suffering,
would be like
freeing someone
from a headache
by offering to
cut off their head.

You probably wouldn't
get many takers
for that approach,
any more than you would
get lots of fan mail
for telling people
their victimhood,
or their fear,
can be cured
by letting go of it.

You may instead
be labeled as insane,
or utterly despicable,
and not worth their time.


Consider this:

Would God have said,
time and time again,
"Do not fear," or,
"Let go of fear,"
if fear was a
good thing to have?

Now, I'm not talking about
the fear of the Lord,
which is a different
thing entirely.

"Do not fear."

"Let go of fear."

"Dwell in Love,
and be free
from fear."

Of course,
to dwell in Love,
to stand under
the pavillion,
implies that you
let go of everything
that is outside.

If you aren't willing
to let go of your
self-pitty at being
left out in the rain,
you won't be able
to be under
the shelter instead.

If you aren't willing
to let go of your identity
as someone who
is afraid,
you won't dwell in Love.

If you aren't ready
to let go of the things
you are afraid of losing,
then you won't dwell in Love.

And if you are like
99.9% of humans
on earth today,
and you dwell
in the prison
of the in-control mind,
then it will continue
to generate fear.

And you will continue
to take it seriously.

And you will not,
and can not,
be free from fear.

Now, that being said,
you CAN "reduce"
your amount of fear
in certain areas,
by replacing your mind's
negative thoughts with
positive thoughts.

That can be helpful.

Think on things, as the
New Testament passage
says, that are lovely,
pure, of a good report.

Or you could be free.

You could recognize
that your fears
all come from thoughts,
and you could
let the source of your fears
go.

When fear is no longer generated,
the feelings of fear fade away.

Come back to reality.

Come back to Life.

You knew how to do this
when you were a young child.

That's why Jesus said
that, to enter the Kingdom,
you must become
as a little child.

Sure, even young kids
learn to dwell in fear,
but before the mental fears,
before that frightening
voice in the head that
they never were taught
isn't them, and isn't real,
there was trust, and
openness, and
freedom from fear.


Are you willing
to let go of your fears?

Watch the mind feed them.

You might feel a feeling,
the emotion of fear,
arising in your body.

Maybe you recognized
a thought come
right before the fear.

Or maybe you didn't.

But if not, then
after the feeling of fear,
the thoughts come.

The mind tries to
define everything.
If you feel fear,
and it doesn't
think it knows the cause,
then it will assume one,
and will make a
story out of it.

Step back and
watch it all happen.

The mind is lost in drama.

And it wants you to
take it seriously.

To believe it.

To give it the energy of
the emotion of fear.

Or even of self-judgment,
as you label its thoughts
as evil, or bad, and
you label it as an enemy.

That's actually the mind
judging itself, or
making an enemy
out of itself.
And you're still
caught in it.


Now, I realize that
some people are
probably saying to themselves,

"You should tell me to pray,
or to sing hymns,
or to read Scripture."

And of course those things
are all good to do.

But they also can be used
by the mind
as tools for the mind
to stay in control of you.

The Bible tells us to
take every thought captive,
which means to
watch the mind.
Just watching it
without judging it
or taking it seriously
is actually enough
to effect obedience,
or Christ-likeness,
in your state of being.

But the mind
doesn't want
to be watched,
at least not unless
it's taken seriously
and believed,
obeyed,
and thereby
worshiped.

And if you'll
take seriously the thought,
"You need to sing songs,
rather than watch me,"
then it will insist
singing songs is best.

If you'll listen to,
"You need to read the Bible,
rather than watch me,"
then it will fane
religious indignation
at any other
"unspiritual" idea.


So just step back and
watch what's happening.
Without labeling it.
Or judging it.
It is as it is.

The mind produces fear.

The mind prolongs fear.

The mind regenerates fear.

The mind identifies with fear.

The mind holds on to fear,
while pretending to
cast it away.

When you truly recognize this,
not as an idea in your head,
but as a first-hand observation,
THEN you can be free,
no longer controlled by it.

If you recognize a con artist
as a con artist,
and you recognize their cons
as cons,
they can't fool you
into serving them.

The human mind,
in its judgmental,
"I'm in control"
fallen state,
is the supreme con artist.

And if you start to
watch it,
it will use its tallents
to come in the back door.

That's what's happening
when you start labeling it
as bad, or as an enemy,
or you start feeling
like a failure because
you aren't free
from its control.


And I'm not going to
tell you what to do.

You don't need to know
some sort of ritual
or technique.

But you CAN just watch.

And breathe.

And listen to the sounds around you.

And feel the sensations of
the air on your face,
and the clothes on your skin,
and the chair against your back.

Fully here.

Fully now.

After all,

Time is just an illusion.

The past is just
a memory in the head.

The future is just
a fantasy in the head.

Your fear and dread
have little or nothing to do
with reality;

and by "reality," I mean
where you are,
and WHEN you are.

"But I'm in debt, and
I can't pay my bills, and
I have such-and-such disease, and
my income is being threatened, and..."

Right now,
in the REAL world,
where LIFE actually is,

you're sitting in a chair.

No one is beating you
until you pay them money.

Your electricity is on.

You're not frozen to the floor.

You're not physically dead.

You can still see or hear this service.

You are not dying of starvation.

Your house isn't burning down.

Right now,
you are safe.

Right now,
you have nothing to fear.

Your fears, your dread,
your scary stories,
your anxiety,
your phobeas,
are all in your head.

YOU are LIFE.

YOU are ETERNAL.

YOU are SILENCE.

YOU are PRESENCE.

YOU are seated with Christ
in the heavenly, eternal realm.

Let that which is not eternal go,
and when all that is fleeting,
all that is passing away,
when you have let it all go
and are therefore
no longer encumbered by it,
all that is left will be
where you and He
are seated together,
in everlasting peace and joy,
free from fearful fantasies,
free from earthly attachments,
free from compulsive thoughts
and labels
and enemies,

and in perfect peace
with the author of peace,

dwelling in Love,
where fear
fades into glory.