Fear. This one small word is packed with so much influence that at times I am overtaken or paralyzed by it. It is an obstruction that distorts the direction which is being laid out and appointed for me to go. It is a shadow that causes the light upon my path to grow dim and seemingly unknown. It is a heaviness that causes my heart to quiver and my mind to race. This fear has gripped my life for many years, strangling chance after chance for me to step out in faith and move courageously. Have you ever felt like this or experienced this at any point in your life? I can’t go there. I can’t do that. What will become of this or result of that?
There is an endless array of fears that my mind continually ponders like a hamster wheel, of what can happen, what will happen, what should happen. I tend to trust my own but what if over but God. My inabilities become amplified where my God should be magnified. The Scripture that is a constant anchor in my life to transform my mind in times of fear, is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (NLT).
I love the exhortation Paul is giving young Timothy here. He is encouraging Timothy in his faith and his spiritual gifting. Telling him…to not be afraid…to fan the flames of that which the Lord has given him. Paul’s exhortation was out of love for Timothy and a desire to see Timothy grow in his calling. Knowing this, think of how much more our heavenly Father loves and desires that we fan the flame and grow in what He has called and equipped us to do. If only we believed. If only we would step out in faith. This is encouraging to me because I am reminded that fear and timidity are not from God. The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me, upon me, and with me. His Spirit has given me the capacity to love, to have self-control, and to have the strength to conquer or face whatever it is the Lord has allowed to be set before me. The fear I am to put off, or rather take off like a cloak, is all that encompasses my old self apart from Christ. What I am to put on are the gifts, attributes and promises of God as a new creation set apart to do HIS will.
So, is there anything I am to fear?!?! The answer is: Yes! Although the Bible repeatedly says the phrase fear not, do not fear, or do not be afraid, it also says fear the Lord countless times. Why are we to fear the Lord after we have just been told not to fear? I believe FEAR NOT was never mentioned in the Bible regarding God. IT was regarding all that was around us, about us, and in us. Fear not because we fear God.
“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – Proverbs 9:10a (KJV)
“The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life” – Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)
Where the fear of God is, there is humility, reverence, and awe of who God is, what God can do, and how He is able to move. We serve and love a God who says what He means and means what He says. In that alone, we should find great comfort, safety, and power as His child. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He cannot and will not ever change.
God required holiness to approach His throne. He required sacrifice to atone our sins. He required obedience when it came to His commandments. The thought of that can cause us to tremble at such a requirement and expectation. But God has given us a way to come boldly to His throne. He has provided a sacrifice to make us clean before Him. He has given us a Helper to walk circumspectly in this life. Because I fear God, I know the depth and the gravity of who I am apart from Christ and who I am in Christ. God hasn’t changed but rather He has given US a way to change.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT)
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
Because of the truths above and what I have come to know and experience of God and HIS Word, I will Fear God and Fear Not. I will take steps of faith. I will obey boldly what He has asked of me. I will trust Him with the outcome. I will believe what He has promised.