Fear is the opposite of love. Faith, hope and perfected love casts out fear.
Faith in God brings the courage, strength and inner peace to overcome all fear.
Fear comes in many forms. At times, it can hold us back, yet in some situations it can protect us. Being able to recognize when fear is beneficial and when it is not, is the key to handling good fear and overcoming bad fear.
When Fear Can be Good
"The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death."
- Proverbs 14:27 (ESV)
Understanding the meaning of why we should fear God is the best place to start when discovering whether our fear will help us in life. We fear the Lord out of respect in knowing that He is the ultimate judge.
It is God’s discipline that we fear, just like the fear a child has with the discipline of a loving parent. God loves us as a Heavenly Father. His love is unconditional. His discipline is done for our protection and our welfare so that we can learn from our past mistakes.
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV)
God wants us to be safe and successful. Since He knows what we do and every thought that enters our minds, fear of God makes us accountable. This is good and to our benefit. And since God knows our future, he often protects us from unforeseen consequences. This is why having a healthy relationship with God is so critical. It may sound strange from an earthly perspective, but fearing God should bring peace of mind.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
God knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He is best suited to help us reach our potential as he has provided unique talents and gifts to all humans. If we live by this standard on a daily basis we will have a positive state of mind and an enjoyable life.
When We Should Fear
There are times when fear can keep us safe. God can inspire us to be afraid at various points in our lives for our own well being. Traveling through areas that pose a threat, or living in places where we would be isolated, are times when fear can be a positive, or possibly a life saver.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
- Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
For a Christian, trusting your gut feeling can be a crucial decision. Our conscience is our direct connection to the Holy Spirit. Early in life there may be times when we ignore that inner voice, but an experienced Christian will eventually learn to trust it as a valuable spiritual resource.
“Holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this,
some have made shipwreck of their faith,”
- 1 Timothy 1:19 (ESV)
Without God our conscience can become corrupted. With an active relationship with God, our conscience will teach us who we can trust and who we should avoid. We will learn to recognize those with an open heart who sincerely need a witness about faith in God.
Healthy fear can inspire us to have the courage and discernment to avoid those with a closed heart who can lead us into harm. A good conscience will inspire us to find the courage to surround ourselves with those who will support our best interests and our God-given abilities.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,
just as you are doing.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28 (ESV)
When We Shouldn’t Fear
Understanding when our fear is beneficial is a great asset. Recognizing when our fear is detrimental can be a key to reaching our potential. An example might be the fear of speaking in front of large crowds. Can we be harmed by the ability to address and influence large numbers of people? Probably not! This kind of fear is our enemy.
Fear can prevent us from engaging someone who does not understand a Christian perspective. This form of fear is not protecting us from evil, but preventing us from having the courage to do what is right. Satan's goal is to inspire fear in the hearts of believers to diminish our purpose in serving the Lord.
“rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” - Luke 1:74-75 (NIV)
Setting a good example or witnessing to unbelievers can be uncomfortable and quite awkward at times. It can open the door for ridicule from those with bad habits and little faith. Fear can keep us from making a stand for the Lord when our gut feeling is telling us what is right. Satan uses this kind of fear to prevent us from representing God and witnessing to those who need it most.
Fear reduces our confidence and slows our progress. Overcoming this form of fear is a gradual process. It may take time, but our confidence and our timing will improve.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
To truly represent, we must often rely on faith and put our trust in God. We must learn to recognize our weaknesses and have the courage to override them. We need to admit our shortcomings and ask God for the fortitude to represent Him in the face of opportunity.
“Humble yourselves, therefore,
under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
- 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
Events in life and today's society can provide reasons to worry. We may experience fear over health issues, work, bills, politics and crime. When we experience fear and anxiety, the Bible teaches us to rely on God for strength and guidance. With faith, the Lord will provide the inner peace and clarity that will benefit our judgement. This will allows us to appreciate the gift of life, the hope for a brighter future and our relationship with God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” - Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
Courage through Faith
We must always remember that God is in complete control of our lives. It may be easier said than done, but we really have nothing to worry about if we put complete faith in Him. When we neglect God, we will become weak. When we build a relationship with God by reading the Scriptures, spending time in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, our faith increases. With a commitment to faith, we will have the courage to accomplish more than we could have ever imagined.
“And whatever you ask in prayer,
you will receive, if you have faith.”
- Matthew 21:22 (ESV)
There will be times when our lives or society may be experiencing a crisis. Yet this may be when we have the best opportunity to serve the Lord. We have the capability to use adversity to help others. God can use us to perform miracles that may seem impossible.
As Matthew chapter 17 reiterates, we can move mountains if we has enough faith.
“He said to them, “Because of your little faith.
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’
and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
- Matthew 17:20 (ESV)
Though we will probably never move a mountain, science is proving the potential actually does exist. We can read about this reality with the many miracles that Christ and the apostles performed. This concept is the basis for this entire website.
The concept of faith as a force for change is mathematically exposed in quantum theory. Since the human race is made in the spiritual image of God, we all have the potential for life changing power through faith and prayer.
God has a plan! With love in our hearts, faith in God, the peace of mind to listen and the patience to allow His plan to unfold, we will be rewarded.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
John the Baptist lived in the wilderness. Jesus would often find secluded places to find direction. He even spent 40 days and nights alone in the desert. These two men sought solitude so they could understand God’s plan. How can one listen and grow in wisdom when we are surrounded by the noise and distractions of life? God is always waiting for you to enter the far-reaching silence to hear His voice.
It may take time for God’s plan to unfold. God told Abraham that he would seed a nation. Abraham then had to wait until he was 90 years old before he had a child with Sarah. You may not have to wait that long, but God is always waiting for you to ask for guidance.
When God moves, it could be amazing! Yet, it might be a simple idea or an opportunity. The question is... Will you be ready?
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