Fear

March 18, 2017

Fear

Occasionally we hear someone say, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” If we take time to analyze That statement we come to the conclusion that it is a no brainer. We don’t fear fear. We fear what may happen to us. From a biblical point of view, we can put fear in one of three categories.

There is the fear of the Lord. It is a good kind of fear. It doesn’t mean to be afraid of God. It speaks of a reverence for God because of his power and majesty. It may be that we have a fear of displeasing God because he has a right to punish us. He does chasten us, but only because he loves us. Hebrews 12:5-6 says “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” If we love God it will be our desire to please him. If we feel that we have done something displeasing to God we can make it right by doing what I John 1:9 says. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It is to our benefit to fear the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Knowledge is a good thing. With the fear of the Lord we will acquire genuine knowledge. Fools get what they think is knowledge, but it is often nothing more than foolishness. Psalm 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Wisdom is the ability to make wise decisions based on the knowledge we have. Proverbs 19:23 tells us that the fear of the Lord gives us satisfaction. “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 14:26-27 tells us that the fear of the Lord helps us guard our steps lest we depart into evil paths. “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

We can put fear in a second category and say that fear keeps us vigilant and conscientious. Without it we are in danger of being reckless and foolish. If we are driving on the highway and we get sleepy, it is this fear that prompts us to drink coffee or stop along the road and take a short nap. We could almost say that this fear is part of human nature. It isn’t a fear that we should fear. We should be glad for it.

There is a third kind of fear that is detrimental to us. II Timothy 1:7 calls it “the spirit of fear.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This fear is the cause of stress. There are situations in life that scare us. We fear if we are in danger or threatened with a gun. Some have fears because they live in an unstable marriage or family relationship. We could say that these are legitimate fears, especially if it is momentary. If we find ourselves living with fear we need to look for the solution that God has for it. Isaiah 41:10 says “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” We need to talk to God about our fear. God hasn’t given us this fear. If we put our trust in the Lord we trust him to take care of us in that which we fear. Psalm 56:11 says “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” With God’s help we can refuse to give in to fear. Matthew 10:29-31 gives us reason to put our confidence in the Lord. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

Psalm 37 has been called “the fret not Psalm.” The word “fret” has a meaning similar to that of fear. It means to be troubled. Verses 1-5 give us a number of reasons for trusting in the Lord rather than to fear. If you are troubled by fear you will find consolation by reading and meditating on those verses.

Trust in the Lord doesn’t mean that we will have no trials in this life. He can keep us from trials that threaten us if it is his will. He may, however, send us through fiery trials. If he does, we can claim the promises he gives us. II Corinthians 9:8 says “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” In Philippians 4:13 we read “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” God can give us a special measure of grace when it is needed. It is by that grace that martyrs choose death rather than deny the Lord. Trust in the Lord and you won’t be overcome by the spirit of fear.

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