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. ~ Matthew 10:28
Fear is a powerful motivator – it can stir us to great heroism and quick reaction in crisis. It can also immobilize us or drag us into the miry pit of worry. Fear, in sensible doses can even be healthy – a fear of the dangers of driving reminds us to put on our seatbelts and drive the speed limit, a fear of heights warns us not to walk to close to the edge of a cliff, and so on.
What are you afraid of? Sometimes, we are afraid of the wrong things. We fear what we think “might” happen, things we have no control over and we forget we have a choice over something that will last much longer, all the way to eternity. We fear the things we can see, when in fact, the surest things are invisible, hidden to the human eye, but emblazoned by the eyes of faith.
What does God have to say about fear? Repeatedly, he says, “Do not fear” (and in other passages, he talks about fearing HIM, instead of other things: Proverbs 1:1-7, 9:10, 15:33, Psalm 111:10, Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, ~ 1 Peter 3:13-15
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. ~ Revelation 2:10
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
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. ~ Joshua 1:9
If it were only up to us, we would have good reason to fear. But when God tells us not to fear, it’s because He has already given us what we needed: Himself.
And yet, we question, how?
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me? ~ Psalm 56:3-4
Look at the feeling expressed here and then the choice:
When I am afraid (feeling)
I put my trust in you (choice).
God knows we will feel afraid. He also knows the “place” where fear is banished:
In God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
Perhaps the question is not “Are you afraid?” The real question is “What do you do with your fear?” Do you take it to the Protector, the Refuge of your life? Do you feel the fear and then choose trust? Dear one, we may have to take our fears to Him many, many times, but just as a mother holds her child in the darkness of night to reassure him she is near, so the Lord is always ready to hear His children and hold them close. Fear is banished when we draw near to God.