2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1John 4: 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
Let’s talk about fear.
No, please, not that.
(Maybe you could just hide under the bed, cover your ears, leave the room, pretend you cant hear me, or go to your “happy place”. La, la, la, la, la…….I’m not listening!)
Keep reading, you might change your mind about this subject………
Fear is not a popular subject, because no one really wants to admit when they’re afraid of someone or something. Maybe we could just avoid the subject and it will go away?
There are different kinds of fear, and different words for fear, but they all mean and are the same thing.
Some words and definitions for fear are…….
Anxiety, uneasiness of mind, a fearful concern; an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension often marked by physiological signs ( sweating, tension, increased heart rate)
Agitation, disquiet, fear, unease, nervousness.
Worry: to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping; to touch or disturb something repeatedly; to subject to persistant or nagging attention or effort; to afflict with mental distress or agitation- make anxious; to feel or experience concern or anxiety; fret.
Fear: to be afraid of, frighten, to make afraid; bother; worry; fret; fuss; stew; stress.
Stress (noun): a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation; intense effort or exertion; pressure, strain, tension.
( verb): to subject to physical or psychological stress: bother, fear, fret, fuss, stew, worry, sweat, trouble.
Are you getting the picture yet??! Many, many, many words all describing a very similar feeling and effect on the body and mind. And none of them are pleasant or good.
The Word of God states that there are two different kinds of fear: the fear of God, and the other kind.
We will talk about the fear of God first, and then we will discuss the other type of fear.
Psalms 111:10 The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they which do his commandments.
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of The Lord (fear of God) is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward ( perverse, lying, deceptive) mouth, do I ( God) hate.
These are just a couple of verses that speak about the fear of God. The fear of God leans more towards respect and awe than actual quivering, quaking fear. If we fear God, we will have respect and awe for his ways and his knowledge. We will want what He wants. He hates evil, pride, lying and deception, so we will hate evil, pride, lying and deception. He says this is just the beginning of wisdom. I don’t believe that God actually wants us to fear Him in a quaking sort of way; He created us for a relationship with him, then sent His son to die as a sacrifice for our sin, and is constantly speaking to us through his Holy Spirit. He really desires a one-on-one relationship with us, in which He can talk to us closely and frequently. So I think we can safely say that the fear of God is an okay kind of fear.
Let’s talk about the other kind of fear. The quaking, quivering, nervous, hands-shaking, sweating, heart-pounding, screaming, I-can’t-breathe kind of fear. If you have anxiety – you have fear. If you have anxiety attacks – you have fear. If you worry – that’s fear.
Worry is fear?? Yes. ( read 1Peter 5:7 and Matthew 6: 26-34).
Firstly, I’ve never met a person yet that didn’t have a fear about something. Some people have generalized fear and can’t leave the house. Some have a fear of heights or enclosed spaces like closets or elevators. Some people have a fear of dogs, or spiders, or ladders, or hospitals, or dentists, or needles, or icy roads. Specific fears are usually called phobias: they are still fears, and often they are irrational fears; which simply means there is no real reason or cause for the fear. Most kids are afraid of the dark, and the number one fear of adults is public speaking. But just because we are all afraid of something, doesn’t make it okay, or even something we should accept as “normal”.
Why do we all fear so much?
John 10:10 says…..The thief cometh not but to steal, kill and destroy. I ( Jesus) am come that they( all believers in Jesus) might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly ( excessive, beyond measure).
The thief in this verse is our adversary, the devil himself. He would like nothing less than to kill all of us; if he can’t kill us, he will try to destroy our life in some way, or steal something from us. Fear is his main weapon. And fear is a lie. Satan doesn’t have real power against believers; he just uses fear to keep us from doing things and following God’s perfect plan for us.
Fear holds you back from doing things. Sometimes it’s slightly crazy things like bungee jumping or sky diving or zip-lining ( Um, are you getting the impression I have a fear of heights?!) but sometimes it’s something you really would like to do, but just don’t have the guts to do it. Like not going to a party because you’re too shy, or not taking a college or university course because you think you’re not smart enough, or not asking a girl out on a date because you think that she thinks you’re a geek.
Fear holds you back from doing what God wants you to do.
I’ll repeat that………
Fear holds you back from doing what God wants you to do.
Proverbs 29:25 says….. The fear of man brings a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in The Lord shall be safe.
A snare is a type of trap ( a noose made of thin rope or wire) used to kill animals. It is NOT a live trap. It chokes the life out of its victim by strangling it. It has been used for all types of animals, but the most common use was to catch rabbits. Think about a rabbit dangling in a snare; that’s YOU when you’re afraid – the breath of life being choked out of you; unable to speak, move, or function. If you dangle there long enough, you die.
If we are afraid of what other people think of us, it strangles us. We can’t even breathe properly. Sounds like an anxiety attack to me. Oh boy, more fear.
The verse above in 2 Tim 1:7 ( For God has not given us the spirit of fear….) is preceded by a statement where Paul says to Timothy: ” wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the laying on of my hands.”
It sounds like Timothy has been hesitant or reluctant to exercise his spiritual gifting (apostleship, teaching, prophecy, miracles, etc??), and Paul is saying “Hey, man, start using those gifts that you got when we laid hands on you; they’re being wasted. You haven’t been given the spirit of fear from us, but rather power, love, and a sound mind” (all through the Holy Spirit). Timothy was requested by Paul to stay with the church of Ephesus ( the Ephesians), to continue to teach and oversee them, while Paul went on to Macedonia. Maybe the Ephesians weren’t listening to Timothy like they listened to Paul; maybe they didn’t respect his teachings, or maybe they didn’t even want to gather to hear Timothy preach or teach. If Timothy had that issue, it’s not surprising that many believers in our culture hesitate to use their God-given gifts to teach, preach, edify, and bless others. We need to get over that reluctance. It’s fear at work. The devil does not want us to edify and bless each other. We also need to help each other get over that reluctance and fear by encouraging others to “stir up the gift” that’s in them. Maybe they need to “wake up and smell the coffee”. Give them some coffee and wake them up.