By Stephen L France
Fear is much more prevailing in life than we might think… …but the Bible in all its wisdom, designed for us to be close to the Lord and protect us from our ‘fallen nature,’ repeatedly instructs us not to fall prey to worldly fears.
‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9
The only fear permitted in a Christian’s life is to fear the Lord (Proverbs 9:10, Matthew 10:28) and this ‘fear’ that stems from wisdom, is a respect, awe, and reverence for God and His almighty power. Of course, boldness in the world is extremely challenging with obvious fears like:
- Not applying for a certain job role because you don’t think you’re credentials quite match up
- Not speaking up in a group discussion for fear of saying the wrong answer or speaking above your perceived station
- Not having financial comfort in the future
- Not finding the right partner for marriage or failing at marriage completely
In scrutinising just how much fear plays a part in my own life, it granted more significance to God’s command of us to ‘fear Him alone.’
Here’s a list of actions influenced by fear, that I’ve experienced in the past or at present. These fears are unbelievably trivial, and I’ve deliberately noted them to show just how much fear can infect an individual’s life. If you imagine them as obstructions to communication with the Lord, these could be blocking many opportunities to be closer to God:
- Not waving at someone from a distance because they might not see me and then I’d look silly
- Not going to eat at a takeaway place because I see a huge queue – although the long queue is a dissuasion, the real reason I don’t go in is because I don’t want to be around a lot of people
- Not speaking up when I have the correct answer to a question in a group workshop
- Not taking the stage at church when the pastor asks if anyone has any testimonies to share with the congregation – there’s ALWAYS something to share when walking with God
- Not speaking up when someone is obstructing my path on the road
- Not telling someone – friend, acquaintance, or stranger – that there is something on their face or an embarrassing ‘bit’ hanging from their nose
- Wanting to start a conversation with a stranger in a public place like a sauna or seating area of a reception, but fearing they will not receive me well or if they’re female, that they might think I’m making a ‘play’ for them
- Fear is the great antagonist of love – it stops us from progressing, and it’s our indirect way of placing an obstruction in front of God’s movement in our lives.
Keeping in mind the letters of John (1-3 John) and my faith that there is only one true way in life which is through Jesus Christ, I see that my God-given free-will choices are rooted in one of two areas. They either emerge from:
God – Love – Humility OR The Enemy – Fear – Pride
If I’m honest with myself, I’m still drawing much from the latter area in an attempt to protect myself from pain, rejection, and disparaging perceptions people might have of me. My fear revolves around socialising – I tend to keep away from anyone who I suspect can do me harm, and in this world, I find that’s a great many people.
The challenge here is the fact that if I embodied love through God, I wouldn’t fear the harm that others can do to me, because I would know that I’m already appreciated, elevated, protected, and truly, deeply loved.
‘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
Perfect love through God would confirm in my heart that Jesus is sovereign and He is all that matters – there would be no fear.
This is a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) that I can only receive from the Holy Spirit and although God has been gracious to lay out all my weaknesses, faults, and sins since His revelations to me after the EEC Easter Conference, it is still His decision when I become that improved spiritual identity that I long to be.
**How do you find yourself operating on a day-to-day basis? Do you fear the future? Do you walk in humility and love OR pride and fear?
Try taking a day where you scrutinise your decision making. Count how many of your decisions come from God – Love – Humility OR The Enemy – Fear – Pride.
I found this to be quite enlightening.
Written by Stephen France
For more from the author visit his Feeding Faith series.