14 February 2020
Don’t be afraid of fear
Have no fear of sudden disaster … for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3: 25–26
My first reaction was not anxiety but fear. I was walking down a dark alley to a reception in the city. A shadowy figure appeared at the end of the alley. My heart raced. Was this my time to be mugged? I immediately retraced my steps and walked to the reception along a well lighted street. I will never know if my fears were justified, but I changed my path because of those fears.
Fear can be ignited by anxieties both real and imagined. The causes of fear are endless. They include flying, the dark, poor health, lack of acceptance by people, financial insecurity, etc. These fears motivate many different types of responses. Real fear is, indeed, a good emotion. John Eddison in The Troubled Mind writes, ‘Fear is a God-implanted instinct for self preservation. It serves the same purpose in emotional make up as pain does in the physical. It warns us of danger.’One cannot speak of ‘fear’ without considering the awe of God. It is the ultimate protective fear. Fear of God drives us to the truth. Fear of God releases us from bondage to the opinions of others. Fear of God releases us from those lesser terrors that would keep us from doing what is right. As we fear God we are released from other fears. We can then understand and respond to Jesus’ words, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ The love and fear of God is the foundation of living in freedom from our fears of daily living. As the hymn by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady acclaims:
‘Fear Him ye saints and you will then have nothing else to fear;
Make you His service your delight, your wants shall be His care.’
Read: 1 John 4: 7–21; Proverbs 2: 1–8.