Monday, June 11, 2012

What's There To Fear?

                What is your biggest fear? Someone has probably asked you this before and it is only natural as a human to have fears. For some it’s a tangible thing like snakes or sharks or being drowned. For others, it is an idea such as being alone or hurting someone they love unintentionally or even losing a loved one. However, if we have Christ as our savior, we should fear nothing.

“I sought the Lord and He heard me, and
delivered me from all my fears.”

-Psalm 34:4

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but
of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

-2 Timothy 1:7

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be
dismayed, for I am your God. I will
strengthen you and help you;…”

-Isaiah 41:10

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment,
 and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

-1 John 4:18

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”

-Psalm 56: 3-4

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for
it is the Lord your God who goes with you.”

-Deuteronomy 31:6

                There are so many more Psalms and stories in the bible that reveal we should fear nothing. The only thing we should fear is God. We should fear him out of respect and fear what he can do with our spirits. For he will judge us with a sword and either put us to death (send us to Hell) or declare that we have earned everlasting life in Heaven.

“Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

-Matthew 10:28

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one
may turn away from the snares of death.”

-Proverbs 14:27

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

-1 Peter 2:17

                No man can harm us if we have the Lord (Hebrews 13:6). God protects those who live for him and desire to have salvation through Jesus Christ. This all goes back to faith. If we have faith in the Lord we shall not be afraid. If we do have worries or fears troubling us we should go to the Lord.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I
am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest
for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-29

                When Jesus is talking to the weary and burdened, he is not talking about a physical state but rather a spiritual state. Rest means inner peace and the Lord’s yoke is God’s will. There is no burden or stress when following God’s will and there should be no fear. No man can kill your spirit. Fear in the Lord is good because it helps keep us on the narrow and straight path in living a righteous life. However, fear of things that hurt the flesh will only hurt our spiritual walk because it will distract you from God’s will and overwhelm our minds. We won’t be able to focus on what is good and holy.

                However, there can be an unhealthy fear of God. An unhealthy fear of God, known as theophobia, can lead to debilitating factors of everyday life. A healthy fear of God leads us to live moral and ethical lives. It can even calm our anxiety and fears. But there are those who are so fearful of God that they are in a constant state of mental disturbance. In everything they do they fear negative judgement of God, even when they are doing nothing wrong. An unhealthy fear of God prohibits us from drawing closer to God. Unhealthy fear is fear that controls us and consumes us. Since such kind of unhealthy fears are based upon unreal possibilities, it causes a major obstacle to our relationship with God and in experiencing his blessings. In order to have a healthy fear, we need to understand God and his word. He is a powerful, jealous, and judgmental God but He is also a compassionate, loving God. He forgives our sins and he loves us, for he sent his one and only son to die for us. He is merciful and pours his grace down on us. He heals us and loves righteousness. If you live according to his word, you will not suffer negative consequences; he will not disown a loyal follower.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord
has compassion on those who fear him;…”

-Psalm 103:13

“For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

-Isaiah 49:13

                God never wanted us to be controlled by fear, He is the almighty one and no one is stronger than Him. Fear is a trick that the devil plays, he uses our ignorance and confuses us to fear the one we are suppose to revere. When destructive fear is entrenched in our lives, we must remember that the eternal God is greater than all our fears. Fear comes when we ignore God’s word or walk contrary to Him. He desires to empower us to dismantle and demolish fear’s strongholds in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4).

                What ultimately matters is that “nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Remembering those words is the only satisfying solution to dealing with fear. As we live that good news, we entrust control of our lives to God, and stop giving control of our lives to unhealthy fear.

              Others have no fear real fear of God and see him as just a loving compassionate God who will harm no one. This isn’t healthy either. This will lead some to live as though God does not exist.

            What is your fear of God? Do you shudder at the thought of him and distance yourself? Or do you not fear God enough? If so, I hope that you have gained some understanding and will begin to live a life with a proper fear of our one true God. 

Fear must be uprooted and the truth implanted so that we are freed not merely to survive but to thrive in a dangerous world (John 8:32). Life is never risk-free. But freedom from overwhelming fear empowers us to enjoy all that God offers us in a fallen world.

Other references to fear:

Psalm 7:1
Psalm 16:8
Psalm 23:4
Psalm 91:5-6
Acts 18:9-10
Philippians 4:13
Joshua 1:9
Isaiah 43:1-3
Deuteronomy 20:1-3
Proverbs 29:25

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