Have you ever stopped to consider how much of our life is dictated by fear? We may not realize that several of our every day decisions, and especially those decisions made at the major crossroads in our life, are determined by our fears. We fear what others may think, we fear being alone, we fear being vulnerable, we fear trying new things, we fear being out of our comfort zones, we fear not having what we need, we fear that God doesn’t have our back, we fear being rejected, we fear that life will not turn out the way we wanted it to,…and the list goes on. Our lives are so characterized by fear, that we have even created new words in our language, to describe the fears that people have.
Xanthophobia: the fear of the color yellow
Turophobia: the fear of cheese
Somniphobia: the fear of falling asleep
Coulrophobia: the fear of clowns
Hylophobia: the fear of trees
Nomophobia: the fear of being without mobile phone coverage
Pogonophobia: the fear of beards
Trypophobia: the fear of holes
Triskaidekaphobia: the fear of the number 13
While the fear of the color yellow seems a bit silly to me, I could make a good argument as to why the fear of spiders and the fear of snakes is completely legitimate! Seriously, this world is full of death, sin, murder, and bad people who do bad things. We teach our children to not play in the street, to not touch the stove burner, and to not talk to strangers. Some would argue that our fears are what keep us safe, keep us within secure boundaries. But, if that were so, then why does the Lord tell us to not be afraid? We define fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” With this understanding, it is healthy to fear those things that would cause us danger, and to stay away from the things that threaten us and cause us pain.
However, the Lord’s dictionary is much more supreme than Webster’s. I would venture to say that the Lord defines fear as “that which inhibits you from embracing the calling I have placed on your life,” or “the worry that consumes you and paralyzes you from living the abundant life I desire for you,” or maybe even “the deception birthed from believing the lies the enemy has whispered in your ear.” The Word of God tells us at least 365 times to not be afraid – that is one for every day of the year!
1 John 4:18 —– There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
The only source of perfect love is our heavenly Father, and where He dwells, fear will no longer thrive. The Lord instructs us that it is not fear that leads us to the “safe” life, but rather wisdom. The Lord’s desire for us is not to define our decisions and lifestyles and interactions with others, based on our fears. Rather, He desires for us to walk in wisdom and understanding and knowledge of Him.
Joshua 1:9 —– 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.
Proverbs 9:10 —– The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 1:7 —– The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Beloved, what are you most afraid of? That is your idol! What do you fear most? That is what is directing your life! What fears consume your thoughts and actions? They are taking the place of lordship in your life that is rightfully due to the Creator of the universe! It is time for us to remove our idol of fear from the throne of our heart!
The Bible makes a clear distinction between the life that is lived in fear, and the life that is walked in faith. Every day the good Lord allows us to wake up to a new morning, we have a choice. A choice to live in fear, or to walk in faith. A choice to cower as a slave, or to dance in freedom. Believe Romans 8:15, and write it on the walls of your soul! We have not been given a spirit of slavery, to fall right back into fear. We have been adopted into the family of God and we have received the Holy Spirit. Beloved, remember who you are!
Yes, a quick glance at our world, the evening news, our facebook timeline, or even the conversations our children are having at school – will give us plenty of reasons to live in fear and see the world around us fall apart and grow farther and farther from the truths of Scripture…BUT we have the promise of John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” When we delve into the Word of God – and believe it – and receive it – we will see that we have nothing to be afraid of!
2 Timothy 1:7 —– For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.