We encounter fear every day. It is natural to be afraid. I can’t believe how many scenarios that I can come up with over one given situation. Most of us learn how to down-play our fears; we have to in order to function. The problem is that if we are simply burying them inside, they will come out somehow and usually in ways that we don’t connect to the original fear such as addictions, anxiety or depression.
Fear takes on many disguises like cruelty, anger, anxiety and others. The phrase “do not be afraid” was found 42 times in the English Standard Version Bible. The word fear is mentioned 437 times. Obviously, it is an important topic for our lives and one that God knows we face. He tells us over and over that there is no need to be afraid. It’s hard to make the jump from fear to fearless. The best advice I can give is to do it afraid.
God is compassionate in relating to us. He totally gets our fear. He understands our propensity towards fear more than we do. He is the steady, loving hope no matter how freaked out we can get. Moving from being afraid to not being afraid centers on grasping God’s love. In her book The Way of Perfection, Teresa of Avila stated: “Love and fear of God! These are two strong castles whence we can wage war on the world and on the devils.”
God knows us and knows how He made us so the answer to fear is the opposite of what we might imagine. We think the opposite of fear is control. We want the opposite of fear to be everything going our way. We know that what will alleviate our fear is not having to face the circumstance that stirs up our fear in the first place. That is not God’s answer. When we are afraid, God gives us an answer to confront our fears, but it is not what we think. The answer to fear is love. I John 4:18 says:
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. It’s only as we live out of touch with love, God’s great love for us, that we become afraid.
Love has such a transforming effect on fear that it turns fear to a virtue. Please don’t feel ashamed if you are living in fear. Rather, feel God’s love for you. When you have fear in your life, it is a signal that you need the love of God to pour into your soul even more.
Fear is our natural response to living in a fallen world. Sin creates all kinds of circumstances for fear to fester. Don’t be surprised by your fear. Don’t try to push it down or avoid it either. Face your fears head-on, full force. Come to see your fears with God’s great love! It is your true, long-lasting, no- side-effect remedy for fear.
When I am afraid, I will trust in God’s love. I will believe that it is strong enough to sustain me. I will learn how to live in love in spite of my fears. I will do what I fear based on God’s love for me. At the point that I turn my focus from what I fear to God’s love, my fear becomes a virtue. When my fear of losing God’s love is more important to me than what I feared, I receive the virtue of fearing God—a truly blessed fear.