Have you ever experienced fear in your life? Well I’d like to debunk the myth of fear. Here is the truth. Are you ready? Fear is not your problem. How you handle fear is the real challenge.
Fear is actually perfectly normal. It’s something that everyone experiences. So many characters in the bible knew what fear was all about. We could talk about Moses, David, Ruth, Noah, Gideon, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Esther…the list could go on and on. They all felt fear at some point. Their vulnerability and humanity is not hidden from us. So if you’ve ever experienced fear, you’re not alone. Plenty of great people have encountered it.
Fear can often be perceived as a negative emotion which is to be avoided. However to hide from fear is to be afraid of fear, which itself is a manifestation of…fear! This is simply unhealthy. It’s never the kind of culture we’d want to develop at the Junction Church Leicester and Loughborough.
Let’s be clear. It’s not wrong to feel fear. So stop trying to avoid it. No-where in the bible does it tell us to flee away from it. Fear can actually be healthy in that it makes us aware of risk. This is good. The bible strongly encourages us to develop a healthy fear that keeps us moving forward. Proverbs 9:10 says ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’. Interestingly, ‘fear’ in this context is a positive word, not a negative one. It’s a reverence and respect for God. It urges us to believe that God is FOR us – and to dare to believe in his ultimate goodness rather than the verdict of life’s challenges. This ‘fear’ helps us live with God’s perspective. It’s good, really good.
Fear only becomes a hindrance when we allow it to feed our insecurities and hinder us from moving forward. This is never helpful. Many people make the mistake of crowning ‘fear’ as their God instead of submitting to God who reigns over their fears. It’s not wrong to experience this kind of fear. However it is never good to surrender to it. Wise people always submit to God, not fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 says ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear’. A ‘spirit of fear’ is what develops when we allow our lives to be governed by that which we are afraid of. Fear then becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy. When this happens, our behaviour lines up with our negative expectations and we tend to live in a way that invites fear to rule over us. This then has a debilitating affect on our lives, preventing us from trusting and serving God because we are always afraid of what will go wrong. But God has NOT given us this kind of spirit. No way. He gives us a spirit of ‘power, love and a sound mind’. This is a promise which is to be taken very seriously.
The anti-dote to a spirit of fear is a spirit of faith. Faith doesn’t deny fear’s existence. However it denies fear of it’s negative influence over our lives. Faith knows the risks, but chooses to trust God anyway. This is REAL faith. This is what God really wants from you and me.