Worldliness or Faithfulness, Part 9 - Fear

Friday, February 8, 2019

The following statement by Dr. Reginald Barnard (professor, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) has been helpful to me: “Fear is the opposite of all that Christianity is to be.” Romans 8:15 says, “You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear” (NKJV). Paul told Timothy, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Unless you fear God—that’s a completely different thing; the fear of God is a good thing—but unless you’re fearing God, anything else, any other kind of fear, has no place in the life of a believer.

What do we fear as believers that we need to stop fearing? Well in one word, we fear the future. No one’s afraid of the past. The past has other problems. And no one’s really afraid of the present. We can be upset about the present, but we don’t fear it because we know it. Fear involves the future—the unknown.

Now here are two main categories of what we fear about the future: we fear loss and we fear pain. First, we fear a loss of people: “Will my husband always love me?” “Will this treasured friendship last?” “Will I lose my kids?” We also fear a loss of possessions: “Yes, I’m fine today, but will I always have enough?” “Will I lose my house?” “Will the kids have enough money for college?” And we fear a loss of position: “I’m in over my head?” and “People don’t believe in me,” and “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to have this job.”

Secondly, we fear pain. In fact, we very often cause ourselves a lot more pain than we would ever experience in our attempts to avoid pain. We fear physical pain as well as the emotional pain of rejection or failure: “How will I be hurt today?” “Will growing old be painful?” “When hardship comes, can I count on anyone?” These are all fears that can immobilize us.

We’re paying a heavy price for fear. Every time God says, “Don’t,” He means, “Don’t hurt yourself.” So when God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isa 43:1b), we need to firmly declare that truth against any fear that comes against us.

Here are some questions I’ve had to ask of myself in the past when I’ve struggled with fear: What fears am I allowing to influence my choices and actions? How would life be different if those fears were exposed to the obliterating power of God’s promises?

Today, what if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and is working out everything for your good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? Just how would believing God’s promises change your life? 

If we simply believed, we would walk into every circumstance, every spiritual battle, with such a sense of confidence, our distractions and attackers would know a truth warrior had entered the war zone.