Fear: The Good, The Bad, and The Virus
Have you ever thought of this...God created fear.
Maybe this brings up the question... “Then why does the Bible instruct us to ‘Fear not’?”
I will address that in a moment. First, let's examine fear a bit.
Back in 1902, God created fear. ;)
What is good about being afraid?
Have you ever been at home...very tired... and suddenly smelled something? In a flash, you were up and moving...checking to ensure that your home was safe.
We want our body’s fight or flight system to work the way God intended it...to energize, to direct, to move!
Is this the same fear that God instructs us to avoid? I think there could be a difference. Stick with me!
Consider another example...has there been a time when the hairs on the back of your neck stood up? Did you tell them to? Or did you suddenly perceive something awry?
This alert system is a gift from God, to aid our survival, to enable us to protect our loved ones, to shield us from harm. I do not believe Scripture is instructing us to resist the natural instincts He put in us. But He does expect us to submit our fears to Him.
Fear keeps us safe...kids who fear being hit by a vehicle do not typically run into the street. Babies typically stay close to their mama’s because...well, they’re a bit dependent and experience fear in new settings.
If fear is so good, why does the Bible instruct us not to fear?
I’m convinced that the Scripture is guiding us away from fear. We’ve all seen the difference. It’s ok to have an experience where we feel fear. But God wants us to run to him, as a child runs back to his mama when he becomes afraid. He wants us to put our trust in Him, not in our own ability to rescue ourselves.
Try this. Make a list of the things that cause you fear. Have you talked to God about each one?
Perhaps you agree that some fear is ok. How do we know if our fear has gone “bad”?
If we have a difficult time functioning in our daily lives as a result of fear, it is possible that we have moved out of the experience of fear and into a lifestyle of fear.
If we have forgotten to look to God as the answer to our fear, we have lost perspective.
If we notice we have become a bit fearful, let’s take time to seek God. But let’s also analyze. What is the “good” in our fear? We usually entertain thoughts because of a benefit they bring to us. When we wake up in the middle of the night ruminating on something, it may be because we haven't dealt with an issue that needs reviewed. Or, it may be because we need to pray. There’s usually a reason.
In your life, what benefit has resulted from fear? For example, for someone who has experienced sexual abuse, their fear protects them from future pain. How many times do we allow our fear to protect us rather than God? But God is much more skilled, and putting trust in Him brings peace, which is so much easier to live with than fear!
What if we submit our fears to God?
While the experience of fear is acceptable (and unavoidable)...it is fine to be cautious regarding sickness or even to experience a “pit” in your stomach when you hear about sudden schedule or economy changes. Let’s take time to ask God, “Why am I feeling this way? What can I do about it? And how can I submit my fears to You?”
In Scripture, it appears that God is instructing individuals to look to Him as they face the experience of fear and refuse to walk (live) in fear (Deut. 31:8, Isaiah 41:10, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 43:1, Joshua 1:9).
Do I experience fear? Or do I live in fear? What fears do I need to submit to God?
For further exploration, consider researching verses in the Bible regarding fear, and check out the books Letting Go of Fear by Neil T. Anderson & Rich Miller and The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker.