Fear of….holes, long words, spiders, death, people, clowns, water, and darkness are all top searches on Google. Why is fear of, you fill in the blank, such a thing?
Fear is counterfeit love, and if left unchecked, it can make you do some crazy things. Where fear is working, love cannot freely flow. Failing to recognize that we are operating out of fear means losing our footing fast. Fear loves to mask itself as a concern. It says things like, You better get that lump checked out. You know Grandma Joyce died of cancer, which will probably happen to you. Sure, getting a lump checked out is wise, but do you see the trickery baked into that fear thought? There is a difference between concern and worry. Concern moves you to action, and worry stops the action. Concern says I have a genuine problem and need a plan to solve it. Worry says I have a real problem, and the action I’m going to take is to be anxious. Fear makes you feel like it cares by raising concerns, but it tricks you into believing untrue things. On the other hand, love cares and gives you solutions for your worries that calm anxiety and bring about peace.
The fourth chapter of the Book of 1 John contains a foundational scripture that I lean on regularly. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives our fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV). There is no better scripture to describe fear. In some versions, it says fear has to do with torment. In my opinion, there is nothing more tormenting than fear that causes panic and anxiety attacks.
Types of Fear
There is a healthy fear. The fight-or-flight kind of fear protects you from danger and tells you not to jump into the deep end when you can’t swim. When the hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you know you need to get out now. Protective fear is a suitable type of fear, and we need to thank God for it. We welcome and are grateful for it. The fight-or-flight response is a beautiful gift from the Lord that needs to be activated on purpose when danger arises, not because our lifestyles are such that we are always running at supersonic jet speed.
Then there is fear of the Lord. Fearing the Lord is commanded in the Bible. One example is found in Proverbs 14:27 (NIV): “The Fear of the Lord is the fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” Why would God ask his people to fear him when repeatedly he tells us not to fear? Fear, in this sense, is defined as awe or reverence. Fearing our heavenly Father means respecting, honoring, revering, and walking in wonder and delight before him. We should all have this healthy fear for our deep and great God.
The best way to fear God is to know his Word by spending daily time in the Bible. A study by Barna Group in 2021 showed that only 16 percent of US adults read their Bibles regularly. Clearly, the benefits of knowing God’s Word are undervalued in our world today. It’s no wonder that Americans are stressed out and anxious. We are unresponsive to the most essential tool that can bring us peace. God’s Word is not dead and dull. It is quite the opposite. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 NIV). I want something sharper than a double-edged sword judging my thoughts and attitudes; I’m sure you do too! Our problem is that we don’t know God’s Word well enough for it to be able to protect us. Renewing our minds starts with knowing God’s Word. Then, and only then, will we be able to recognize the voice of the enemy speaking lies to us.
You can also surround yourself with Godly people to help renew your mind. Grab a girlfriend and join us for a night of gathering together to nourish our spirits, enjoy a delicious drink & treat from HYGGE, and pour into the desire God has for our wellness; mind, body, and spirit.
Don't let the enemy isolate you in fear. Come into this welcoming space and grow your faith with us! October 13th, 6-8 pm at Hygge in Lake St.Louis. Only $25 per ticket, and it includes teaching, community, and some yummy treats! Register here!