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Fear not

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

Two kinds of fear, the right kind and the wrong kind.

In John 20:19 on the evening of the resurrection day, the disciples were huddled together and locked in (or could we say locked down?) because of their fear of the Jews. Fear tends to lock in or lock down people. When Jesus appeared to them, what does he say, ‘Peace to you.’

God recognises this tendency of people to quickly get into a state of fear. There is still a climate of fear round the world post-pandemic.

Remember that God is still in control.

Every time in the bible, either the Lord or an angel appears to a believer, the first thing they say is ’fear not’ or the like. It is one of the foremost commands in scripture. Today there is a huge amount of fear around both in the church and in the other communities, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, we need to recognise that there are two kinds of fear 1] the right kind of fear and 2] the wrong kind of fear.

1] The right kind of fear- is the fear of the Lord. We are made to fear God but nothing else. Fear God but nought else! God wants to have first place in every part of our lives, but our wrong fear can occupy a place that needs emptied before God can fill it. Perfect love casts out all fear. Amen

What is the fear of the Lord? This expression occurs many times in the Hebrew scriptures and once in the New Testament. There are various pictures we can give from scripture. The expression ‘Fear of the Lord’ appears 15 times in the book of Proverbs, whose main theme as you know is wisdom. So, there is a link between the fear of the Lord and wisdom. Here are a few examples,

Proverbs 1:7 the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 8:13 the fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the forward (perverse) mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

There seems to be three components to the fear of the Lord a) awe and reverence b) hatred of evil c) obedience to God’s word. Let us cultivate them!

There is also a natural fear that we have to protect our bodies from damage not touch the hotplate etc.

2] The wrong kind of fear All of us experience the wrong kind of fear sometime in our lives.

Fear should be a dissimilar experience for believers and unbelievers.

Fear is debilitating and even paralysing and is opposite to faith. Did you know that faith and fear are mutually exclusive? Choose where you are going to live today, in faith or in fear?

It is important to realise that our fear of the Lord can be the antidote/answer to the wrong type of fear. The right fear overcomes the bad fear. Again, we get to choose which type of fear is going to be active in our lives. Choose well, choose life, choose the fear of the Lord!

If we live by our feelings, they can drag us down into the pit of fear. But we need to see our situations in life through the lens of faith and through the lens of the bible not through the lens of doubt and fear.

Could it be that because modern society is so steeped in fear it has collectively lost the fear of a holy God? Yet many people today fear death, sickness, poverty, helplessness, loneliness, future, commitment, failure, etc.

So, what is the answer?

How do we deal with fear? Here is a practical approach.

Firstly, we need to get ‘historical not hysterical’ {1], in other words, we need to review the Lord’s track record in our lives, in our previous times of trouble, in previous trials or difficulty. If you keep a diary or journal, you will find that God keeps coming through for you, He is a faithful God!

If you have no written records, then just meditate on God’s track record in your own life- He has got you through it all up to now and He will take you through this present challenge as well.

Remember God has not changed, His truth has not changed and still sets us free, His character has not changed, God is still on the throne, God loves you and is there for you to take you through each attack of fear.

Do not let fear cause amnesia of all that God has said and done.

Do not allow fear to cause you to forget your identity in Christ.

Fear is like a virus and can rapidly spread between people! The fear virus may have done more harm than did the pandemic.

Let us distance ourselves from all sources of the wrong fear and bring the disinfectant of God’s word to others who have succumbed to the fear virus.

Let us continue to take every thought captive through the lens of the bible.

We need to avoid being overpowered by our feelings.

Do not let the culture condition your mind but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Prayer, Lord we ask in Jesus’ name, that you teach us to develop the right kind of fear in our lives and that you also teach us how avoid the evil fear in all its forms and disguises. May you cause the fear of the Lord to dispel all ungodly fears and make us bearers of hope and love to those around us. Cause us to remember all that you have done in the past to strengthen us for today. Bring those who are paralysed by fear to your people to be set free. Amen

Personal Prayer

Fear not, fear nought but God!

[1] Pastor Ed Young (2020) The Fear Virus

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