Valley Vision – “Looking Fear in the Face” 


Last week we kicked off a new series, “Valley Vision,” about finding new ways to look at and overcome the valleys in our lives. Our valleys often come in seasons, as we pass through low points and times of trouble. This week we consider the “stuff” in the valley that troubles us – and the fear that takes us there. Where does that fear come from? And how can we get beyond it – and out of the valleys?

1.  What Do You Love Too Much? (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Psalms 27:1-4, 10)

  • Our valleys can come upon us like a New England earthquake: somewhat subtly, but shaking us in a way that can be unsettling at best, and terrifying at worst. But over and over the Scriptures – and especially the Psalms – tell us one thing: “Do not be afraid.” King David, who wrote Psalm 27, gives us a hint about how we are to overcome our fear in the valleys. The key is to focus on the “one thing” that’s greater than all of our fears: God himself.
  • Augustine wrote that fear comes from focusing on the things that we love too much. “Fear is the smoke that comes from the fire of ‘disordered love.’” Similarly, the modern church leader Tim Keller wrote that fear comes when “the ‘good thing’ becomes the ‘one thing’ that I can’t live without.” 
  • When we love something other than God too much, our fears arise around the thought of losing that thing. It may be (and often is) something “good” – my family, my vision for a happy future, my success. Whatever it is, I build my life around the premise that I can’t live without it. So the question becomes: “What do you love too much?” What thing has become the “one thing” for you?
  1. Can You Let It Go? (Luke 11:34-26; Luke 11:34KJV) some text
    • Once you recognize that your “valley fear” stems from your “disordered love” of the one thing you love too much, the question becomes, “Can you let it go?” Not necessarily “letting it go” as in getting rid of it, but rather replacing it (with God) as the #1 love that guides and drives your life?
    • Jesus spoke to this question in a passage from Luke 11. Using the eye as a metaphor, he tells us that when our lives are healthy and whole (with no “dark corners”) we’re able to walk with confidence and without fear in all we’re called by God to do. The King James translation of the verse points out that the idea Jesus was getting at was that our eye’s focus must be “single” – on God – to be fearless.
    • If the “one thing” that I love too much is the source of my fear – the fear that drags me down into the valleys of my life, the question remains: can I let it go? Have I resolved, consciously or unconsciously, that I can’t have joy, peace and happiness – i.e., the ‘full life’ – without my “one thing”?
    • We have a choice to make, a choice to let something go, to let it fall from the #1 position among our loves. Only by letting it fall can our love for God – our love for being in his presence, for living out his will for our lives – take its properly ordered position. We have to let go of what we hoped for and what has hurt us. Honestly, it takes a valley to bring us to that point, the point of letting go. 


These passages may provide additional insights related to the subject of this week’s message. All verses are NLT unless otherwise noted.

Psalms 73:25-26; Isaiah 26:3-4; Matthew 6:31-33; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 John 2:15-17

Video of the Week: Word Study: Ahavah – Love by the Bible Project


  1. What is your first thought when you hear that the source of our “valley fear” is most likely something we “love too much”?  

  1. Looking back on your life and your greatest fears, what was the thing (or person, or status) you were most afraid of losing? Would you say that it was something you “loved too much”? Explain your answer.  

  1. Read Psalm 27:1-4 again. King David makes it clear that the antidote for all of his fears is that he has made his worship of God the “one thing” that he loves and values most. What would a life built on this passage look like for you?

  1. As the message stated, “good things” (family, friendship, success, security) can easily become the thing we “love too much,” leading to the fear of losing them. Is the antidote to that, as you understand it, to love those things less?  Explain your answer.

  1. The King James translation of Luke 11:34 implies that the key to a properly-ordered life (a life filled with “light,” as Jesus put it) is that my singular focus should be on God. If I can somehow pull that off, won’t I lose focus on my family, my job, etc.?  Why or why not? 

  1. At the end of the message we heard that “we have to let go of [i.e., de-prioritize] what we hoped for and what has hurt us.” How can something that hurt us be something we “love too much”?

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