Greetings precious people. In today’s article I would like to address another area of life that we have all experienced at one time or another, fear. Fear as it is defined in Webster’s Dictionary is a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, ect.; timidity; dread; terror; fright; apprehension. The two Greek words most often used in the New Testament for fear are ‘phobeo’ and ‘phobeos’. From these words we get our English word phobia. Phobia is an intense fear of a particular thing or situation, real or imagined.
To fear something is not always a bad thing. To have a fear of venomous snakes is not necessarily a bad thing to have. In fact it could be quite healthy. Knowing the inherent danger that venomous snakes have it would be a good thing to steer clear of them.
To be fearful is a different matter. To be fearful is to be full of fear. Fear can and does control many people in our society today. To be fearful is to be controlled by that fear and this is not what god would have for His children.
Let me cite a personal example. There were many times as a police officer that I was in situations that brought on fear. On one occasion, as a SWAT team member I was elected to be the first one to go through the door where a very dangerous criminal that was believed to be hold up. He had made it known he would never be taken alive and would kill anyone that tried to take him in. As it turned out, he was not in the apartment when I entered, but to say that I did not have an element of fear at the time would be a lie. On another occasion I was searching an apartment for a suspect that had just beaten someone with a baseball bat. As I entered one of the bedrooms, I looked under the bed, then noticed the closet door was ajar. As I opened the door, they’re stood the suspect. We both let out a sound of surprise and I quickly closed the door in his face. I soon opened the door again, pulled him from the closet, and handcuffed him without further incident. He was as surprised as I was.
Now if in any of these incidences, I allowed the element of fear to control my life, I could not perform my duty as a police officer and would have to leave the department. Unfortunately, many people allow fear to control their lives; thus not enabling them to live an enjoyable live.
God’s Word, the Bible, has much to say about fear and how to deal with it. First let us understand that nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to be fearful. In fact, He tells us that we are to fear only one, and that is God Himself. In Matthew 10:27-31, Jesus tells us, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."
Jesus is telling us that we do not need to fear anyone, anything, situation, or circumstance. We even need not fear Satan himself, but we are to fear God. In a moment we will look at what it means to fear God, but right now let me direct your attention to the reason given in the verses above why we do not need to fear anything but God. Because God, your Heavenly Father, cares for me and has promised to take care of me, I need not fear or be fearful. Rather than allowing fear to control my life, I can let God take control and have perfect peace.
Now let’s address the issue of fearing God. There are two ends to the spectrum on this subject. Both are extreme and unbiblical. The first is the notion that many religions convey. Namely, God is terrifying and unapproachable. God is angry with all of mankind and is just looking for an excuse to slap him up along side the head with a 2x4. A person can only approach God through one of the religious leaders of a particular cult or religion. The other extreme is that which the modern day church portrays God as being a ‘Good o’le boy, one of the guys, your good buddy in the sky, the man up stairs’, to name just a few.
Both of these views are wrong and blasphemous. God is the Creator of the universe, He is Holy, He gives life to all, everything is His, and all honor, glory, and praise is due Him. We are to have a reverential fear and respect of Him. We are not to treat Him like we treat one of our friends.
Let me give you a few scriptures concerning the fear of God. Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." 8:13, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverse mouth I hate." 14:27, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death." Psalm 19:9, "The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever." Hebrews 11:7, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
The song, "What a friend we have in Jesus", is true as the Scriptures bear witness. In John 15:15, "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
The term friend, as used here, conveys the meaning of approachable, able to have fellowship with. It does not mean to be "buddy buddy". God is approachable. He is knowable. Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples one day, John 14:1-9, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know." Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
I do not have to go to some religious leader to get to God. I only have to come to Jesus. He is the mediator between man and God. Because of Jesus Christ and what He has done, I am able to enter into the presence of God and have fellowship with Him and He with me. What an awesome privilege!
Have you trusted in Jesus Christ today as your Lord and Saviour? If you haven’t, you’ll never know the fearless life that God has intended you to have. Trust Him today and in every way and you’ll begin to know the freedom form fear that comes with having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine