“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” (II Timothy 1:7).
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love,” (I John 4:18).
There are certainly times in our life when we become fearful: a diagnosis of cancer in us or the life of a loved one may initially fill us with fear; the forecast of an oncoming tornado or hurricane that has wrought devastation in its path may give us foreboding; the invasion of our privacy by identity theft may leave us shaken and fearful and seed in us a lack of trust. Frankly, there are hundreds of reasons for us to live in absolute terror constantly.
But God’s Word says,
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
And it says,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though it’s waters roar and be troubled. Though the mountains shake with it swelling,” (Psalm 46:1-3).
And I love this:
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God (I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm (56:3-4).
God’s Word is replete with admonitions to not be afraid or with confident statements of trust in God in the scariest situations, which means He recognizes it as something toward which we humans are prone. Psalm 46, quoted above, sounds like an earthquake! I’ve been in one of those. Not fun! Definitely scary.
Does this mean we should never be afraid or we’ve sinned? No. But it does mean that when we recognize fear in our life in any circumstance, we are also exhorted by God to trust Him through the circumstance that is inciting the fear. That may take prayer without ceasing, but He’s up for that! .
Here is what I think is the most important thing for the child of God to remember:
God has not given us a spirit of fear.
God doesn’t incite fear. He’s about peace. Jesus said:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (John 14:27).
What — or rather Who — has He given us specifically to counter fear in our lives?
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Galatians 4:6)
And God’s Spirit is not a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7).
He is the Spirit of power. He is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Ephesians 19-20)! That’s a lot of power!
He is the Spirit of love. In fact, not just love, but joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
He is our Teacher, too (John 14:26), Who brings to our memory God’s Word through which our mind is renewed (Romans 12:2) and thus becomes increasingly sound — disciplined and controlled (by Him as we surrender ourselves to Him!)
So we who are indwelt by God’s Spirit have the capacity to live fear-free!
Will that happen automatically? No. It will happen as we submit ourselves to God’s Spirit in us, take comfort and instruction from His Word, recognize His presence with us always, and ask Him to remove fear from our life.
I want you to be encouraged today. We do not have to live in fear. We who know Jesus personally have His Spirit in us with which to combat all the fear that we ourselves easily generate, as well as the spirit of fear that pokes at us from the enemy of our souls. We can live in peace and joy in the middle of this increasingly troubled world and, by doing so, be a testimony to the power and love of God to those around us!