Many things and situations of life provoke fear. Fear can grip our hearts as we suffer from illness or the loss of employment. Wars and pandemics that bring death and uncertainty about the future affect many lives. Fear grips us as we wonder what will be the end of these things. Fear enters the mind when we feel that we have lost control of important areas of our lives.
STABILITY IN THE FEAR OF GOD
Fear is a natural, God given reaction to harmful events, whether real or imagined. It can vary from a mind filled with uneasiness to outright terror depending on what is feared and the perceived intensity of difficult circumstances. In the Scriptures, we learn that it is the fear of God that drives out all other fears. In the Bible, fear has two meanings when it is related to God. It has the idea of reverential awe and submission that leads to worship for the people of God, and fleeing and hiding from God for those who anticipate God’s judgment.
As the people of God bow before the true and living God, they remember His greatness, and His power to deliver. He is an awesome God with power unlimited who has manifested His power on behalf of His people. We fear Him because of His never-ending faithfulness. In the Old Testament “Fear” is used to describe God himself. Jacob refers to God as the “Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42). Here Jacob is saying that Isaac had a sincere, reverential submission to God, so much so that for him God was perceived as the embodiment of fear (Merrill, Eugene H. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). When the people of God live in this reverential submission to the Lord, it becomes a sustaining force in times of earthly difficulties. It sustains them when the troubles of life produce the natural reaction of fear. We fear the unknown, and we fear the possible repercussions of the difficulties of life. But we have submitted to a God who will not fail us now or in the future.
As a follower of Christ, we find stability in our souls as we reverence God in our hearts. We find courage in distress because of our hearts that submit to God and worship Him with all of our beings. We find the courage to go on and be victorious because we know that our awesome God is near. Faith arises out of a submitted, worshipping heart. Faith grows through the trials of life as we live in the fear of the Lord. As we submit to the Lordship of Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God found in Him (Romans 8:31-39). Since He is our victorious Lord, we take courage and continue the battle.
GOD GIVES US COURAGE
God told Joshua several times before he led the people of God into the promised land to be courageous (Joshua 1:7, 9). It was a call to fear God. It was as he remembered the awesome power of God in the past, particularly the going out of the Exodus, that he would find the courage to know that God would not fail him. So, we today persevere in fearful times because our hearts are summited in reverential awe to the God who has saved us through the shed blood of His Son. Though fearful times come upon us, it does not paralyze us, because we worship and submit to an ever-present God who shows himself in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We have courage concerning the future because the same God who showed himself as always faithful in the past will be with us, at our side, even in times that lie unpredictably before us. Our future is in His hands as we submit to Him in humble worship and trust.
He has promised us that our little mustard seed faith (Matthew 17:20) will be enough. If need be, He will move mountains on our behalf. Ultimately, we have courage and can face the future with certainty because we know that our home is no longer in this fallen world. Rather, we look forward to the fullness of Christ’s eternal Kingdom, which will be manifested here on earth. We will joyfully fear the Lord throughout eternity as we marvel at his awesome faithfulness and love.
JESUS SETS US FREE
If you are living in fear, know that there is an escape. Jesus came into the world to set us free.
The Bible says that He died on the cross for our sins and that three days later He arose from the dead. It is as we place our total trust in Jesus that God forgives us of our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life. As a forgiven sinner, we must then follow Jesus with all of our hearts.
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