You probably thought I was simply going to give you the definition of fear and wish you on your way, didn’t you? Well, the definition of fear in the dictionary only shows what fear is but not what we decide to allow fear to become.
Here is what the Merriam Webster dictionary has listed as the definition of fear:
1 a : an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion
2 : anxious concern : solicitude
3 : profound reverence and awe especially toward God
4 : reason for alarm : danger
I love number three on the list! That is my favorite fear. I will get back to that type of fear in a moment. Fear has become a great killer of many things and many people. When one chooses an action based out of their own perceived fear it usually ends in a negative result. I don’t mean the choice to defend yourself when in danger. What I mean, such as, when you suddenly have become afraid to ask someone a question because you are afraid of what they might think of you. Or it is that moment when you want to quit your miserable job to go to another one but because you fear to do something new. Maybe, like I did for years, you fear to be yourself because you worry about trying to please everyone else and if you show who you are then they won’t want you around. By now, I am sure you can think of a few things you have feared that are well out of the true definition of fear.
There are absolute things and people who do cause fear and anxiety. We are human after all. Denying that this exists will not relieve them. This is why you hear people use the popular phrase, “Face your fear”. Turning away and running certainly does not solve it. I promise you, the fear will be chasing you and be right on your heals. The way we are to face them is to not fear man but put our trust in God for He is our strength and He will keep us safe!
Psalm 27:1(KJV) says: “The Lord is my light, and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength if my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Then Proverbs 29:25 (KJV) says: “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
Ungodly fear is a trap. It keeps you from doing what is right and what God has called you to do. We must deal with our fears or we will never reach the blessings waiting for us. Every fear that we have outside of the definition I listed is a fear that we have created all on our own. You have the choice to let it go or hold on to it. Holding on to it will keep you in bondage. It will have you tied down so tight that you will not be able to breathe. Have you ever had a panic attack? I have. It comes on so quickly and your body goes into a fear mode, your heart races, and you can barely breathe. Our bodies are fearing something that is non-existent. If you haven’t experienced one, its hard to understand. I use that as a picture of what choosing to hold on to a fearful thought does to your spiritual walk and your physical walk on this earth. Why would you choose to spend your life walking in that kind of fear?
Fear also causes other life-altering and hindering emotions such as negativity, procrastination, prejudices, pride, self-sabotage, lack of wisdom, carelessness, unloving, unforgiving, laziness, desperation, lack of self-control, demanding, and the list goes on. I believe at the base of each one of these emotions is fear. Take “unloving” for example. You may fear truly showing love for others because of your fear of them not loving you back. Imagine for a moment if Jesus feared whether we would love Him back or not then allowed that fear to stop Him from dying on the cross for us because He just couldn’t bare the thought of us possibly not reciprocating the love He showed to us by His death? (Side note: Jesus did not have fear in this way and we know that He loved us enough to die for us anyway even though He absolutely knew we would not show that we love in Him in return like we should by choosing to sin continually and not heeding his Word. The only reason we are even able to love Him in the slightest is because He first loved us.)
We must recognize our source of strength, our shield, and our encouragement. That is why number three, in the definition of fear, is my favorite. When we fear God and recognize Him as our ultimate source we having absolutely nothing and no one to fear.
Psalm 56:1-4 (KJV) says:
Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
David recognized his source. David had many enemies but he knew the Lord had it all figured out for him and would protect Him. If God is in it, then you don’t have to sweat it! Go after your calling and go after the blessings He has waiting for you in your obedience to His calling. Whether is the little callings such as changing a bad habit or if it is a bigger calling like starting a non-profit that benefits someone in need or maybe something that would change your family’s life for the better but others will think you are crazy for doing it because it doesn’t make sense to them. With each calling, there is a purpose and we must follow and not be afraid! Define your fear and give it to God who is the only one who can give you the ability to overcome it!