Have you ever noticed how enticing fear can be? Just watch the “teaser” they give in the midst of the news report before they go to a break. You will be given a snippet of a story that induces a bit of fear because the producers know you will stay tuned because there is something that draws us to this negative emotion called fear.
Wait a minute you say; don’t we find the command in Scripture to “fear not?” Yes, we do. Among other places we see God assuring Abram with the command and a promise. God spoke to guarantee protection to Israel before the went into the promised land. God even comforted King Jehoshaphat who was about to go to war.
Genesis 15:1 (ESV) — 1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
Deuteronomy 1:21 (ESV) — 21 See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’
2 Chronicles 20:17 (ESV) — 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
Likewise, we take the promises of God to heart to drive away fear as we take note of what God says we mean to Him and how He guarantees us a reason to “fear not.”
Isaiah 41:13 (ESV) — 13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 43:1 (ESV) — 1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Therefore, we can speak with confidence in facing life, often to ourselves to overcome the fears of life, reminding ourselves of the real place of strength and safety, which is greater than any other reason to fear.
Psalm 27:1 (ESV) — 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 56:3 (ESV) — 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
On the other hand, there is a reason to fear in a healthy way. What? Fear is good? Oh yes, a healthy fear of God means we understand that God is the eternal judge and whatever we do against His word is against Him. Jesus put it this way:
Matthew 10:28 (ESV) — 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
There are those who try to downplay this type of fear by telling people that God is not to be feared in this manner. Hence people downplay the eternal judgment of God, whereas Jesus points to the fact that looking at the judgment of God is a healthy to override the fear of man. Having a fear of the eternal judge means we seek out a hiding place from His judgment that all of us justly deserve. That hiding place is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 119:114 (ESV) — 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
Isaiah 32:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. 2 Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Romans 10:11–13 (ESV) — 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 (ESV) — 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
When a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, God delivers that person from fear – the fear of judgment, death, and anything this world can set before them.
1 John 4:18–19 (ESV) — 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
Hebrews 2:14–15 (ESV) — 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Romans 8:15–17 (ESV) — 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
This is the reason Jesus was able to comfort John after He fell as dead before the risen and glorified conqueror. John saw his greatness and Jesus comforted him by reminding John of his status before the risen King of Kings.
Revelation 1:12–18 (ESV) — 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
May we ever learn that the fears we face in this life are traps to hold us captive. Whereas, the fear of the Lord is a trap that actually opens the door to real freedom, freedom from the fears of this life and assurance of the glory of the life to come.