We live in turbulent times, for sure. One cannot look over the daily headlines without being struck by the incredible fear rising among people as they wonder what it is going to happen next, especially in the financial realm. Fear causes people to adjust their lives dramatically and forces them to do things they would normally never do. Of all the enemies, fear is the greatest because it disrupts and destroys more than anything else.
What is fear anyway? Fear, more than anything else, is the feeling of anxiety or apprehension brought on by either the presence or anticipation of DANGER. Whatever a person perceives to be DANGEROUS is what they fear. Fear feeds off the sense of danger and perceived dangers feed off fears. Of all the fears, the greatest and most prevalent have to be the following, in no particular order:
FEAR OF DEATH
Without question this is the greatest fear in life. Most people, if they are honest, dread the idea of facing death for they do not have the assurance of what happens after death. This is a pity, for Christians, since we have been assured by Jesus that we have eternal life. There really is no reason for a believer in Jesus to fear death, yet believers tend to have just as great a fear as unbelievers. Why is this?
It comes down to trust. Do we honestly trust God’s Word when it says that we have eternal life or not? If the trust and confidence is there, the fear of death has to vanish. If the doubts linger, then so will the seeds of fear. The only way to eliminate the fear of death is to force the mind and heart to believe what God says in His Word. God has promised us that when saved, we have the gift of eternal life.
FEAR OF FAILURE
Both the fear of death and the fear of failure play upon the human need for self preservation. When a person feels threatened, they do whatever is needed to stay alive. The fear of failure is the response of the mind to the possible loss of what is needed to live. Fearing the loss of food, water and shelter would be the ultimate fear of failure, but to a lesser degree, this fear creeps into just about every area of life.
Fear of failure and fear of loss are about the same. To combat this fear, people get overly protective and hoard what they have. They clam up and refuse to give. They take a “hunker down” mentality to things and move to caves or other “safe” places. The end result of this fear is the attitude of excess caution in everything one does. Taken to an extreme, this fear produces more bondage than any other fear because it forces people to live in a tiny box where they feel safe.
FEAR OF THE FUTURE
Again, this fear is tied into the previous two fears. The unholy trinity of fear (death, failure and future) is the god to which most people in this world are slaves to. The vast majority of people plan their lives and determine what they do and don’t do by what this unholy trinity dictates. The resulting bondage is both entangling as well as destructive. Those whose god is fear spend their whole lives running away from life. Put together, these three fears cause people to devote their entire existence into avoiding anything which could result in failure or death.
FEAR OF REJECTION
This fear, also known as the fear of being alone, is very similar to the fear of failure, but deals with relationships. Just about every teenager goes through a stage where they must address this fear. Amazingly, this fear destroys more relationships than any other. A person afraid of losing a significant other in a relationship becomes over protective and usually ends up driving the other person away.
The fear of rejection forces people into tight cubicles where they feel safe and secure. They rarely will say or do anything “outside the box” for fear of being ridiculed or cast off as a fluke. Again, as in most fears, the end result is to look for the “safe way out” in every situation. The fear of being alone is a huge fear which causes far more psychological problems than can be addressed here. Needless to say, it is a fear which has disastrous results in people’s lives.
FEAR OF GOD
I put this fear on the list not in the sense of “reverence” but as a true fear. It is absolutely horrible how many of God’s people are scared to death of Him. This breaks God’s heart. As a loving Father, God does not want His children cowering in fear of His impending judgment and wrath. Yet, this is precisely how many of children of God live. They live in the same condition Adam and Eve did after they sinned in the Garden. They hide from God and hope He doesn’t find them.
There is no fear in love. If we love God, then we will eliminate the fear which destroys our relationship with Him. We are to love, respect and show great reverence toward God; but there is no profit in fearing God as one fears a coming hurricane. If sin is causing the fear, then get rid of the sin. If ignorance is causing the fear, then get knowledge. Regardless of the reason; do not let the fear of God keep you from receiving and living in the LOVE of God which overcomes fear.
Trust overcomes fear. If we place our complete and wholehearted trust in God and His Word; we will find release from the bondage of relentless fears. If we will simply accept what God has said in His Word then we can calm the storms which arise in our hearts through dread of what we think is coming. If we can quietly and confidently place our hearts into the care of our Heavenly Father, then we can have full assurance He will take care of us for eternity.
No matter what happens next in the course of history; we have the assurance from God Himself that “all is well”. No matter what may become of our earthly body; we have the promise of eternal life. No matter how dark the times get; we have the light of God’s Word to guide us. No matter what, we are never alone for God is with us and Christ is in us and nothing can separate us from the love of God.