FEAR. It’s something that we all struggle with, and it’s something that can be hard to articulate. For example this last week, my two-year old grandson was very sick with lots of things going on in his little body. He kept saying, “Hurts!” and “Cared!” (translation: “Scared!”). Just like my sweet grandson, if we get right down to it, there are at least a few things about fear that can paralyze or even imprison us :
1-our failure to identify who we are and to whom we belong in the midst of it
2-our inability to explain what we are feeling
3-the uncertainty of its effect on us
I was looking in a Thesaurus to see what other words we can associate with fear. Here are just a few:
Angst Anxiety Despair Dismay Doubt Dread Horror
Jitters Panic Scare Suspicion Terror Uneasiness Worry
These words, if we take each of them and think of a time that we have felt them, can quickly put us in a dark place where there seems to be no way out. Without a doubt these things can weigh us down, steal our peace, kill our joy, destroy our hope and faith. Circumstances in our lives, challenges that we face, or uncertain times, all feed fear...if that’s where we focus!
According to Romans 8:15, God does not give us a spirit of slavery/bondage that leads to fear, void of hope, filled with darkness, and no identity or protection, wondering who will rescue us.
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery (bondage) leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
God gives us an identity belonging to Him as children, where we have a Teacher, a Father AND a Protector. His Spirit testifies this is true and in it we also gain an inheritance that suggests a future beyond the fear!
As we look further into God’s Word and what our Heavenly Father has to say about FEAR, it is mentioned 385 times in the NASB Translation alone! WOW! If we were to look up and study one passage per day about fear, we would be in God’s Word for 385 days (=1 year and 20 days)! We would become experts on this word and all of the other words that are used to describe it! This is obviously a huge topic that God knew that we would encounter and He wants us to know the truth about FEAR and understand who He is when we experience it!
Many times, whenever an angel of the Lord appeared to a person, the first words the angel would speak is, “Do not be afraid!” If this is an angel of the Lord, I think it’s safe to assume that God knows that our first response to something we don’t understand, is fear! So He takes care of that in the first words spoken. So what does God want us to understand about FEAR? He tells us in His Word:
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
Here is a TRUTH that God wants to know: Where love reigns, FEAR is broken off!
We are to have a worshipful fear of God, but not of man any other created being or small “g” god (idol). Even our love towards God should not be rooted in guilt or dread but out of respect for all that He is and has done for us. Love in its purest and truest form accepts that God (the object of our love and faith) is extremely good and has excelled in loving us through Christ!
So what is the opposite of FEAR? FAITH!!! Here are a few other words that might help us understand:
Assurance Belief Confidence Conviction Hope
Loyalty Truth Joy Trust Certainty
In 1 Corinthians 13, we see a picture of how perfectly God loves us! He reveals to us what love is and is not, how love acts and does not act. The things described in this passage eliminate the words that we used to help us describe and understand what FEAR is. In the words of this passage there is no FEAR, but all things that triumph over it if we live (abide) in His love for us!
Verse 13 sums it up so well:
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Read 1 Cor. 13 and then the words again under FEAR and under FAITH!
Choose one and ask yourself:
So what am I afraid of?