FEAR IS A PAINFUL FEELING of impending danger, evil, or trouble. It is an unbidden feeling of dread. We are afraid of so many things -- death, life, heights, darkness, illness, earthquake, robbery, rape, the future, the past, the unknown, poverty, failure, abandonment, loneliness, old age, people, love...
Should we ever be afraid? Definitely! For Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Was it not through fear that we came to Jesus in the first place? Suddenly we are aware that without Him we are lost. This fear is wholesome and necessary for it is based on real danger and evil and is essential to our spiritual survival.
And the fear of the Lord is essential to our continuing spiritual growth. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God for He is a consuming fire. If we are out of line with God, anytime our lives before Christ or after, we should be afraid. "The presence of the divine always brings fear to the heart of sinful men. This is not mere physical fear. It is a terror felt in the center and core of our being. It comes when an unholy creature is confronted by the most Holy One." (A.W. Tozer) This Godly fear can be summed up in one Scripture verse: "Don't be afraid of those who can kill only your bodies -- but can't touch your souls! Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 26)
All other fear can be labeled harmful to our spiritual life regardless of its individual name or origin. And it is most destructive when it has an immobilizing effect on us, stunting our spiritual growth. The way of God demands that Christians live by faith, not sight, so there will always be an element of fear. Faith requires a step from the known into the unknown, from security to insecurity. The Holy Spirit leads us on from truth that is known and experienced to truth as yet unknown. What then can we do with this feeling of fear? In what way can we make it creative in our lives?
First of all, we must realize that being afraid does not protect us from the harm we fear. Second, we must recognize that its cause is a lack of trust in God. Third, we must move out into the areas where the Spirit leads us regardless of our fear.
Jesus gave us the following statement to help us at this moment. He said simply, "Be not afraid, I am." I wish He had said -- "Be not afraid, I will keep you safe from all harm. Only good things will happen to you." But He didn't. He did not promise safety from earthly perils. Rather He promised that whatever happens to us, He will be with us, and we will come through our trials without being separated from Him.
"The Scriptures tell us that for His sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day... but despite all of this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels won't and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are -- high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean -- nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us."
Romans 8: 36-39
If God be for us, who then can be against us? What have we to fear!