Amber Hermes, Former Chaplain, MDiv, BCC, Pastoral Care, CTCA/Southwestern Regional Medical Center
"Fear not." This phrase is used nearly 200 times in the Christian Scriptures. Its frequent use implies that fear is often present, even when God does not want it to be. Fear is a complex emotion that comes in many forms. Another may not fear what one person may consider cause for fear.
What is fear?
Fear: Dread or alarm in facing danger; timidity. This definition is lacking to say the least.
2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
What part does fear have in your life?
Is it a constant companion or a thief that comes and goes?
How did you learn to fear?
Can you learn not to fear?
Fear: To have reverential awe of God; to have a tender conscience. This definition is also lacking. It is critical that we obtain a deeper definition of this fear (of God), because it is the only true way to remedy the other.
And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.
There is nothing truly new under the sun. Fear is a powerful motivator and a powerful ally when it is confined to its proper place. In any other circumstance it is a hindrance and a thief.
"The biblical writers were honest about actions and emotions. They defined the world and human activity by the yardstick of God and only by that measure was fear to be correctly perceived. The Bible is a book that calls us to fear and not to fear. Between those two commands hang the tensions of human life." (Edward E. Thornton & Gerald L. Borchert, The Crisis of Fear, 22.)
The presence of God is an awesome thing. Until we see Him and enter into a personal relationship with Him, we won't comprehend fully the "awe and holy fear" that the Bible speaks of concerning His holiness. Also, until we see Him and enter into a relationship with him, we cannot help but to fear the things of this world because our perspective comes from the world.
The first and most important step in disarming fear is to TRUST God. Complete TRUST represents a proper fear of God.
List your fears. Then consider God's authority in each situation. Let's be honest, God knows our hearts.
Is it death? John 5:24Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Is it pain? Psalm 23:4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Is it the unknown? Romans 8:27And he who searches hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Lack of control? (Often an illusion anyway) Hebrews 2:8 Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
Separation from the ones you love? Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Things left undone? Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Naming fear and dragging it out into the open in order to give it to God is the way we learn to replace fear with TRUST. Sharing this fear in a community of faith is essential because the Enemy uses isolation to keep us fearful. This is the beginning of being transformed by the renewing of your minds — learning not to fear.
Father, help me to cast all fear aside and put my trust in you. I can only do this by the power of your spirit. Lord, transform my mind so that trusting you becomes my first response in life rather than my last resort. Thank you that your word tells me not to be afraid but rather bids me to rest in your care. In Jesus' powerful name, Amen.