What about fear?

There was an interesting discussion on FaceBook this week regarding fear.  One person said that fear and faith could not coexist in a true believers life while others felt that fear was very much a part of a believer’s life and was actually something that each believer had to deal with and come to terms with as part of their faith walk.    So I will try to answer that question to my satisfaction.  Can one be a “true” believer and coexist with fear?

Webster’s dictionary defines fear as 1) a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence of danger, evil, pain, etc. 2) a respectful dread, awe or reverence 3) a feeling of uneasiness or apprehension; concern 4) a cause for fear   In it’s verb form it means to 1) be afraid of 2) to feel reverence, awe for or expect with misgivings 3) to feel fear, to be afraid 5) to be uneasy, anxious or doubtful. 

Very few of us would not have any trouble giving instances in which we have felt fear.  I recall my feelings on September 11, 2001.  The anniversary has just passed us.  I was working on a route for my sister, and the employees at Food Lion were talking about something just happening.  I found the break room TV and there with other employees saw  the planes hitting the trade center.  I remember calling my sister and she turned the TV on and told me to come home.   I left there and drove through downtown Charlotte.  There were tall buildings on either side of me all the while I listened  to the radio and was  thinking about all the people in those buildings.  I remember my shock and disbelief and yes,  fear.  I was glad to go home.  I remember watching those towers fall over and over and over again.  As Americans, how can we ever forget that day.  How many of us felt fear and disbelief. 

I have felt fear before and after that event.  Most of us have.  There are many types of fear.  I think we could all agree there are good fears and bad fears.  A good fear would be the fear of the Lord.  This does not mean that we live in terror of God but to be in awe of and filled with reverence for Him.  There are many scriptures regarding this fear in the bible.  Here is one.  Deut.4:10  “Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”  Here is another.  Psa. 34:9  “O fear the Lord, ye his saints; for there is no want to them that fear him.”  and Ps. 145:19  “He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry and will save them … for the Lord taketh pleasure in them.”  I think you get the picture.  So we are instructed to fear God.  To live our lives in awe of him and filling ourselves with reverence for Him. 

Because we have this healthy fear or “awe” of God we can expect certain rewards including:

  •  Wisdom
  • “beginning of knowledge”
  • “fountain of life”
  • “strong confidence”
  • “riches and honor”

There are also bad fears.    Anyone who has watched Monk is familiar with a whole group of fears called phobias.  Phobias from A to Z.  Ablutophobia – fear of washing.  I have known a few people with this phobia or at least I thought they had it.  How about, Bibliophobia, fear of books.  Or, Zoophobia, fear of animals.  Phobias hinder a persons ability to enjoy life to its fullest.  When we are faced with fears of this type we should do as the Psalms instructs in 34:4.  “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. ”    The bible tells us that fear has torment in 1st John 4:18  So we should seek deliverance from fears that are bad for us. 

Fear can overwhelm us and give us an inability to face problems.  Fear can come against us and cause us to run from it.  Fear if not faced and challenged can defeat us.  The greek word “deilia” is used for a cowardly fear.  Do you think Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego felt fear when thrown into the firey furnace?  Did Daniel feel fear when thrown into the Lion’s den?  How about Ester when she had to talk to the King?  Did Jesus know fear and have a fear of going to the Cross?  What I do know is that they faced their  fear and did not run.   Jesus did not turn from the cross even though he knew what was coming.  Ester could have chosen not to go to the King.  Daniel could have shut up his windows and not prayed in his manner to God.  Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego could have worshiped the golden statue set up.  I am reminded of the scripture in Ps 56:11 ” In God have I put my trust:  I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

Now back to the question at hand.  Can fear and faith coexist in a true believer’s life?   We are all facing different problems and issues in our lives.  Many face dying, cancer, diabetes, losing limbs and pain.  Many face family turmoil, death, divorce, etc.  Many face financial issues, losing jobs, lack of money and resources, homelessness, etc.   Fear can be overwhelming whether we are Christians or unbelievers.  Therefore, I do believe that “true believers” can coexist with faith. 

However, I also believe that our instructions are very clear. 

  •  Ps 27:1  “the Lord is my light, and my salvation; who shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life:  of whom shall I be afraid.” 
  • Ps 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deal, I will fear no evil. 
  •  Ps 56:11  “In God have I put my trust:  I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”
  • Prov. 8:13 ” The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.”

So we are given pretty clear marching orders.  Our job as believers is to do battle with satan and his demon forces.  Fear is one of his tools.  Fear can cause mental and physical torment so it should be resisted.   We are to take up our cross (whatever that is) and follow Christ.  I wish I could avow that I have defeated the enemy of fear in all areas of my life.  I can’t.  But I can tell you that Christ has defeated Him and He holds the keys to my future not Satan.  I choose this day to walk with Christ and to declare his name to all those who will listen and to face my fears.  I hope you will too.

Bless you all for reading this.

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