"Go and make disciples…and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matt 28:19-20)

What is Fear?


     Fear comes in many shapes, forms, ideals, and situations.  There is a difference, however between genuine fear and being startled or surprised.  If someone jumps out of the bushes at you and yells “boo!” then that is being startled, or frightened, or as some say, “scared.”  These things are temporary, and mostly fleeting emotions and responses to situations.
     Fear is something that lingers, much like guilt lingers in our minds and our hearts.  Fear can be consuming, too.  Some people are so full of fear that they are crippled and restricted from living a normal life. There are two definitions from http://www.dictionary.com  I would like to consider here:


1.  *“concern or anxiety; solicitude. ex: a fear for someone’s safety.”

The first definition is concern or anxiety.  This is not truly fear, but merely worry.  This is what the Bible is talking about when it says in Matthew 6:27 NLT, Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Many people would call this fear, but this is just not what I consider to be the full embodiment of this emotion.   

     I believe that fear, the type of fear that consumes and debilitates individuals is best characterized by this second definition: 

2. *“a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”

Remember that our enemy, the devil, is a liar; and he uses this emotion against so many of God’s children.  I have experienced this, you have experienced it, and I’m sure you know others who have, too.  Satan would have us so consumed with something that, as the definition states, could or could not be real.  We are all, at times, far too eager to entertain thoughts about situations and events that may never even happen.  This is a trick of the devil, and we need to recognize this tool of his and “take these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.”  God did not intend for us to be afraid, about anything.
     We are supposed to cast all our cares on Him, and trust that He will take care of us.  We Christians don’t really have issues with fear as much as we have issues with trust; trust in the Lord.  Think about that.  Why would God ever do anything to hurt us?  Remember, every time God sent an angel to speak to us, the first thing the angels usually had to say was, “Fear not!”  That might seem silly to some, but the angel is from God, and we should trust God enough to not fear His messenger, right?
     Here’s my point:  Recognize improper fear as a hindrance to your relationship with God; and strive to remove it from your life.  For clarification, an example of proper fear is when someone pulls a gun on you and you are staring down the barrel.  I am sure that if that happened to me that I would have *”a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger.”  But God speaks to us in the Bible about how we should view fear:

“9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

One man, in particular, understood this view of fear, and he penned these words:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt-First Inaugural Address)

Fear is something we all will experience at times; there is no avoiding it.  But, I believe we are responsible for how we react to it.  Keep it in the proper perspective, and remember that it is nothing more than a tool used by the enemy to hurt us, deter us, to distract us, and (if allowed to take root in our lives) to destroy us.  Remember this promise of God whenever you start to feel fear:

“7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”(2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)

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Citations:
*“fear.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 May. 2011. .

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