Life is a series of choices, each one shaping the path we take and the person we become. Yet, there are moments when the path
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Fear is an uneasy feeling that something terrible is about to happen. Fear can fit the situation, or not. When appropriate, it can keep us out of potentially dangerous situations. When not relevant, it can cause us to feel uncomfortable and react irrationally. It can literally keep us from doing what we would otherwise do.
Childhood fears are usually outgrown as the person matures. Fear of the dark or monsters under the bed is common for children, though they’re sometimes still present in adults. Other common phobias can last a lifetime.
Some of the top fears of any age are:
Of small or enclosed spaces;
Of heights, airplanes, and helicopters;
Of various animals such as spiders, snakes, chickens, birds, dogs, and even germs;
Of storms, including lightning and thunder;
Of abandonment, loneliness, and being alone;
And of clowns. Clowns are an intriguing phobia.
A few years back, people dressed as clowns and appeared publicly, to purposely cause fear. People called 911 and alerted the police when they saw them. Dressing as a clown in public became so socially unacceptable that it’s rarely even heard of anymore–though they may appear in less threatening venues.
The list of known phobias seems endless. There is even Theophobia, which is:
A relentless and harmful fear of God. This fear affects the way people live and the people around them.
Terror: This is usually a greater level of objective fear, it’s not subjective.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon (Psalm 91:5-6).”
Fright or Alarm: This is a response to a sudden or unexpected threat, and it describes feeling fear over a shorter time.
“The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm (Nehemiah 4:17-18 NLT).”
The trumpeter sounded the alarm when danger approached.
Horror: This word describes a deeper level of fear, similar to terror but horror is an intense fear that affects the subconscious. It’s like how the gospel writer Mark uses the word “amazed” in a positive way to describe how people reacted to the supernatural nature of Jesus’ miracles.
“Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces (Genesis 12:15-17).”
Dread: This word describes how someone feels when they anticipate that they’ll fear something.
“Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves (Daniel 10:7).”
Foreboding: This word describes anticipating a fearful situation. It’s how a superstitious person feels after breaking a mirror or having a black cat cross their path.
“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11).”
Apprehension: This word is less foreboding but usually lasts longer without the superstitious element.
“People will faint from fear and apprehension because of the things that are to come on the inhabited world, because the powers of heaven will be shaken (Luke 21:26, ISV).
“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.”
― Germany Kent
“The louder the dogs bark the less a lion feels threatened.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
“Don’t be afraid of criticism; the tallest trees are always confronted by the strongest winds.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
(the three above from Goodreads) Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
(from positivity blog)
“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious to even fail.” – Bruce Lee
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt
(the two above from success.com)
I have no fear of the gallows … They’re going to shoot me.
“Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him (Psalm 2:11-12)!”
God warns the nations of future judgment for those who don’t take refuge in the Son (Jesus). The verse below is an extended passage telling the Hebrew Christians how dangerous it is to not acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice as the final sacrifice for sin:
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31).”
The two verses below compare the authors’ feelings about human threats when trusting God. Fear God instead of man.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? All-day long they distort my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil (Psalm 56:4-5).
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).”
The wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God differ. The wisdom of this world cannot learn about God (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The wisdom of this world sees God’s plan of salvation as foolishness. The foolishness of God is the cross of Christ, which saved the world (for those who believe). Worldly wisdom only sees the shame of the cross and not its victory or how it eliminates boasting.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).” The proper fear of the Lord leads to humility. The wise person loves instruction. The fools believe they already know–about everything.
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate (Proverbs 8:13).”
“Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).”
We see that sometimes evil will succeed in the short run. God assures us that evildoers don’t fear Him, and the evildoer’s life and achievements are like a flickering shadow. Those who fear God will live lasting lives, and their achievements will follow them into the afterlife.
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”
“And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters (Revelation 14:6-7).”
Wise people understand that God sees everything we do and knows everything we think. He will judge us justly on the day of judgment. They understand these things and live their lives on earth in light of that.
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love (1 John 4:17-18). “
The perfect source of love is God. So, we need to tap into His love. The Apostle John wrote 1 John, and John writes in absolutes. We need to understand his absolutes to hear his meaning. Evil is darkness, good is light; he contrasts truth and lies, and He uses love and hate to describe the source of both God and the evil one (Satan). He contrasts love and hate and love and fear to describe how believers relate to each other:
“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him (1 John 2:9-10).”
John tells why he wrote his letter in the third verse: So, we can have fellowship with him (John), and the other apostles and their fellowship is with God the Father and God the Son.
The source of love is God. God has loved us (believers) through Jesus. We have fellowship with Jesus and our brothers and sisters by loving them. He gives a simple contrast saying the one who hates his brother is in darkness.
John talks about having confidence in the day of judgment. God will judge believers, not for whether they go to heaven or not; all believers in Jesus go to heaven. The review for believers will be about loving their brothers.
If they do and relate to them in love, they will be confident and not fear in the day God will judge them. In general, we have no reason to fear even before a human judge if we’ve dealt with our brothers in love. How much more is that true with God.
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14-15).”
Every person except Jesus is a sinner, and when Adam, the first man, sinned, Satan had the power of death. And he held that threat over our heads which caused us to serve him.
However, Jesus has lived as God the Son from eternity past. But He humbled Himself and took on flesh and blood; He was still God but human too. By dying on the cross and rising to life again, Jesus removed Satan’s power over death. That freedom from Satan’s power allows us to freely choose to serve God.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).”
The enemies of the writer of the Psalm quoted above threatened him with death. Death’s shadow hung over him. Yet he took comfort that God was with him. He wasn’t alone, and he knew who he’d be with if he died. No one can or should take comfort in death if they don’t belong to God. For someone without God, death will make everything worse; for someone with God, everything is better. But we remain here (alive) to represent Him.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble (in fear) or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).”
Somehow someone said the Bible tells us 365 times not to fear. That sounds nice because then we could have a verse every day of the year to read that would tell us not to fear. But there aren’t that many verses that say that.
People who’ve checked this out usually produce a number of just over one hundred. It’s challenging to get a precise number because the Bible uses diverse ways to express this same idea. The Bible authors originally wrote in Hebrew and Greek.
The many modern translations of the Bible phrase the verses that teach this idea by choosing slightly different English words. However, plenty of the verses tells us not to fear because God is with those who trust in Him.
“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).”
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell (Psalm 27:1-2).”
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