One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my life is fear. Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that wasn’t the greatest. Gang activity and crime were continually on the rise. When my dad purchased and remodeled our home in the late seventies (which was on a main street in a business district), he removed all the windows from the first floor. This was to prevent an intruder from gaining accessing to our house through them. Now if your saying yikes, that’s right. That is living in fear.
The thing about fear is that can cripple us when we let it control us. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion induced by a perceived threat. In life, we all face fears from time to time. There are many levels of fear that range from mild to severe. Some common types of fear are darkness, spiders, heights and most commonly, public speaking. Some severe fears can cause people to be afraid to leave their homes or even cause extreme behaviors such as hoarding. Fear has the capability to immobilize people and that’s just what the enemy of our souls wants.
The thing that has helped me to overcome fear in my life, is faith in the love of Christ. I am not claiming that I never experience fear, but that I control my fear and don’t let it control me. I believe a certain amount of fear is healthy. In Proverbs 9:10 is says . . . Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. When we rightfully begin to understand who God is, we gain a healthy fear of Him. He then gives the power to overcome wrongful debilitating fears with sound judgement.
The term “Fear Not” is repeatedly used in the bible. In Genesis, when sin entered the world, fear entered the picture. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid because of their nakedness and they were afraid. Up until that time, they experienced perfect fellowship with God and there was no fear. Understanding fear is a product of the fall of man helps us to understand that fear is not of God. God is love and when we begin to experience and grow in His love, He helps us to overcome debilitating and unhealthy fears.
1 John 4:18 says it like this . . . And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.
When it says that perfect love casts out fear, it is meaning that the love of Christ can help us to replace fear with faith. Jesus died to set us free from debilitating fear. The God of the Bible is always who He says he is and will always do what He says He will do. He gives us his Word on that! This gives us confidence in trusting Him and the necessary faith needed to put fear in its rightful place. Fear of God is not fear of punishment, but fear that leads to obedience because of love.
I liken it to a parent child relationship. When my kids were little, I would spank them if they did not obey. I didn’t spank them to be mean, but to keep them from harm. I spanked them because they I could not reason with them. Fear drove their obedience. Now as they’re older, they obey not because they are fearful (because I can no longer put them over my knee to spank them), but rather because they love me and know I want what is best for them. Their love drives their obedience and it is the same in our relationship with God.
When we cling to the promises of God’s word, they can help us to overcome fear. They help us to understand that God is always with us and that He is there to help us as we call upon Him. Isaiah 41:10 says . . . 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; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. God’s got us in the palm of His hand. He is the one that helps us to face our fears with faith. When we give our fears to God, He in turn gives us His perfect peace which flies in the face of fear. Face fear with faith and God won’t let you down.
Lord give us the faith of Peter to keep our eyes on you and face our fears. Give us the heart of David to face the Goliath’s in our lives. Give us the obedience of Noah to trust and obey and the wisdom of Solomon to know what is good and right. Thank you for these and the many examples of those who have gone before us and demonstrated faith. Thank you for the perfect example of your son Jesus and for your perfect Love which drives away fear. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sin, help us to live for you. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN
2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.