Fear is a problem we should not underestimate. One of the outstanding characteristics of our stressful, modern civilization is that many people are in the clutches of fear. Fear of pain, sickness and death, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown, fear of themselves.
Fear as Enemy
To a certain extent fear is healthy. It is simply a warning system. It tells us to act, or else… But sometimes fear starts leading its own life. It digs deeply into our system and undercuts our happiness, and our mental and physical well-being. The Bible speaks of people who “flee, even when no one is pursuing”, who are “overwhelmed with dread, where there is nothing to dread” (Lev 26:17, Ps 53:5). This kind of fear paralyzes, and is an enemy of both spirit and flesh. How, then, can we fight this enemy?
The unpredictableness of life scares us. Today I know my situation, but who knows what tomorrow brings? We tend to increasingly cling to the worldly security of a job, money, friends etc. And we gradually grow more fearful of changes. But life itself is the story of change. Human existence is fluid, and history is no more than the record of the ebb and flow of a human tide. Recognizing and accepting this can prevent unhealthy feelings of fear. Fear cannot stop the changes from happening. And change creates opportunities as well as a certain amount of danger. We can learn to adjust to the changes of life and turn them to our advantage.
God knows what an enemy fear can be. Throughout the Bible two words stand out like mountain peaks: “Fear not”. These words may seem a simple expression of comfort, but they are more than that. They are a direct and unnegotiable command. The command to prevent fear from crippling us or getting the upper hand. A simple order to truly trust in Him. Isaiah said, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid” (Isa 12:2). David declared, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears” and again, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Ps 34:5, 56:3). David did not say that God delivered him from some fears or many fears, but from all fears. When we really learn to trust and obey God, He frees us from all fear. Jesus frequently told his disciples not to fear. Paul sounded the same note, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again of fear; but you received the spirit of sonship” (Rom8:15). The author of Hebrews put it plainly and resolutely, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb 13:6).
“I am with You”
In short, the Bible teaches us to walk by faith and not by sight. Then, we can be of good courage even in the face of death, the greatest change of all. David testifies to this when he writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Ps 23:4). God who is “with us,” in all stages of life and death. Not just a word of hope, but an iron-clad promise of the Lord. In the Old Testament it is God’s promise for all who walk in obedience, a promise of protection and providence (Ex 23:22, 25). In the New Testament it is the blessing of Jesus to all who follow Him and take part in the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations … and surely I am with you always …” (Mat 28:19-20).
All those who truly follow Jesus will experience his mighty presence with them. Fear will be only a word of the past for all those who obey Him and take up his work. For, as the apostle Paul put it, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom8:31).
Lord, You command me not to fear. I stand on your promise, that You are with me when I obey your will and your Word. Help me to let go of all the fears. For, if You are with me, who can be against me? Amen.