by Keith Carroll
What is fear? The Dictionary defines fear as: the feeling one has when danger, pain or trouble is near; feeling of being worried or excited or of wanting to run and hide.
What are a few examples of what we tend to fear?
Harm – fearing something bad will happen to you
Embarrassment – fearing you will do something others think is foolish
Failure – fearing you will not be successful
Loss – fearing you may lose what you have
The Future – fearing what will come
The Unknown; God – the judge
There is a healthy type of fear which we refer to as concern and caution. These are not really fear.
There are many motivations causing us to fear. The Scriptural use of the word fear usually comes from two basic meanings. One is a “dread” producing worry, anxiety, and stress. The other is a “reverence” producing feelings of respect, trust and love. The following are examples of both, given as a fear of God.
A. 2 Chronicles 20:29 NASB: And the dread (fear) of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. This dreadful type of fear has many ill side effects like worry, anxiety and depression; placing huge restrictions on our ability to live in peace.
B. Proverbs 9:10 NASB: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. The Hebrew word translated fear here means reverence, which is a deep respect mixed with awe and wonder. A reverence of the Lord creates in us a trust and confidence in God.
We can observe each of these fears in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s first relationship with God was in reverence. After God formed Adam into male and female, Genesis 2:25 describes their life experience as; the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Their reverent trust and confidence in God brought feelings of love and respect, left no room for dreadful fear, and kept their exposure from producing fear and shame. Proverbs calls this fear: reverence, the beginning of wisdom.
When Adam and Eve accepted the tempters word over the Word of God, they developed a different life focus (me centered, I am as God). When they allowed a “me first” focus to became predominate, they lost the intimate relationship they had with God. A dreadful fear quickly developed. No longer knowing God as before, they shrank from His presence and allowed a dreadful fear to replace their reverence. We are not God and are created with a deep need to rely on God as our Father, protector and provider.
Scripture records their change in Genesis 3:7-10 NASB: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked. . . And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God . . . Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound Thee in the Garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
Now their nakedness relates to fear and shows they no longer have a reverent trust in God. God had not changed, but they had. Adam and Eve now feared the Lord as the nations noted above feared, thinking surely God will hurt, harm or destroy us. Fear uprooted their reverent trust and confidence in God.
The Good News Jesus Christ proclaims is a call back into a reverent trust of God. A reverent trust in God actually counters fear and is our most basic remedy to fear. As our relationship with God develops and matures, our reverent trust and confidence in God uproots all dreadful fear factors, restoring our Father’s intention for us.
Our release from fear can come in phenomenal leaps and bounds, and it can come a little bit by bit. The stronger our reverent trust and confidence in God becomes, the less we will fear other factors.
Joseph’s testimony capsules the real over-riding affect God can have on anything that happens to us.
Genesis 50:19-20 NASB: But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result.
How does this affect our everyday life? Our reverent trust and confidence in God can and does affect how we respond to daily situations, circumstances, challenges, trials, and each other. How fully do we trust in our God’s ability to bring good out of our life experiences? The level of our reverential trust and confidence in God is what keeps us from falling under the fear of worry, stress, and anxiety.
The following Scriptures will encourage our confidence in God, and turn us away from fearfulness.
Psalms 56:3-4 NASB: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, who’s Word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Psalms 34:1-4 NASB: I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Hebrews 13:5, 6, 7 NASB: For He Himself (Jesus) has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I shall not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” . . . Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, and forever.
2 Timothy 1:7 NASB: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.
Luke 12:32 NASB: Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the Kingdom.
What is the Kingdom? His rule and reign in your life, producing reverence and trust.
Isaiah 44:1-2, 8 NASB: “Thus says the lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob my servant; . . . . Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are my witnesses. Is there any God besides Me?’”
Romans 8:28, 31 NASB: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God . . . . What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Proverbs 3:19, 21-25 NASB: Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence.
Read: Matthew 6:25-34
1. How and why did “dreadful fear” become part of the human experience?
Fear came as a result of Adam and Eve loosing their reverent trust and confidence in God.
2. How can we overcome fear, and keep from being its victim?
Develop more confidence and trust in God. In each other?
3. How do we approach our existing fears? Such as: Harm; failure; loss; the future; the unknown; God
Copyright 2004, KEITH CARROLL 717-423-6621