Fear is such a common emotion that many of us simply live with it instead of facing it head on. Oh, sure, there are times when fear is good. For example, if you are being chased by a bear, fear shuts off your unnecessary senses and bodily functions to funnel all resources into your escape. Fear (and the body’s response to it) is a good, and potentially life saving, response in that instance.
But most of us are not running away from bears in our every day life. Some of us live like we are, however, and it’s not a positive thing.
Long term fear causes all kinds of negative things to occur to us. When we are in a constant state of fear, we have adrenalin pumping through our veins with regularity. A state of being that includes constant adrenalin leads to adrenal gland fatigue at a minimum.
Living with fear also causes us to be in “fight or flight” mode. People who suffer from PTSD often live in a state of fight or flight. There is no relaxation. No calm. No contentment. Instead every situation is looked at as a battle to be fought or an opportunity to flee. As you can imagine, it’s not healthy to feel this way and it’s infinitely hard to live with folks suffering in this way.
What does God say about fear? Sure we have the knowledge that the fear of God is the beginning of understanding. What does that really even mean? Have you considered it? In my limited bit of studying and understanding, it means that if we don’t believe in something bigger than us, we will never be all we were created to be. But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about.
Fear keeps us from doing things. Sure, it keeps us from jumping off a bridge or walking into oncoming traffic, but it also keeps us from seeking the better job and asking the handsome guy out on a date. It keeps us from our full potential….our best self.
2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God fave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (Emphasis mine) We were created to be powerful, but to control that power with love and self-control! We do not have to hold back in fear. The only time we should be reserved is when we are acting in love and self-control. Fear should literally not be a factor.
What does fear, then, keep us from doing? It keeps us from serving others. Right now, in the midst of a pandemic, fear is keeping us from little things like sharing smiles and opening doors. But it’s also keeping us from bigger things like serving at a soup kitchen or going to church.
Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Did you catch all those things that apply here? Be courageous. Don’t be frightened. God is with you. Shouldn’t that give us peace enough to go do the good stuff? Aren’t we letting fear rule the day?
How do you know when it’s fear or God speaking to you? It’s really easy, my friend. Fear shouts. Fear screams. Fear makes you uneasy in all the wrong ways. God’s voice is quiet and brings you peace. God’s voice might make you a little uneasy, too, but the feeling is different. It’s not uneasy in a way that is panicky. It’s uneasy in a way that says, “you know what the right answer is….now do it.”
Last verse I’d like to bring up, though there are certainly dozens we could talk about here. Proverbs 29:25 says “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
All the information coming your way is not meant to help you and keep you safe. If it was from God, there would be peace. But there is not peace right now. There is incredible division. It’s loud. It’s judgmental. And I believe the enemy is laughing.
Good people. Rise up and do good in the world RIGHT NOW. Stop living a life of fear that keeps you from community and communion with God. Only when we act in that God given power of love and self-control will the enemy be stamped out. It’s our calling. It’s our birthright. It’s our time.