Fear appears to be a universal part of the human experience. Our fears stretch from the mundane to the profound. Fear of spiders and thunderstorms grows up into fears of failure and rejection. We’re afraid of people who are different from us. We’re afraid of things we don’t understand. We’re afraid of an uncertain future.
Some fears are understandable. Groups like ISIS in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Nigeria spread brutal violence and unsettle villages and local governments. Economic uncertainty plagues some, as they wonder what will come of their jobs and their families. Elections—in the United States and elsewhere—have been fraught with fear over who will come to power and what havoc they may wreck once they’re there. Some Christians profess fear over losing religious liberties or watching a secular culture encroach on their lives.
In scary and uncertain times, it is easy to make decisions or shape our attitudes based on fear (even if we would like to call it by another name). When these fear-based decisions and attitudes encroach on opportunities to live out faith, hope, and love, we have lost sight of something very important. Because at this point, our fear has taken us to a place beyond the realm of a reasonable sense of caution or the desire to make wise decisions. Fear has made us lose sight of the God we worship and the Savior we follow, as we begin to compromise on living as faithful disciples of Jesus for the sake of assuaging our fear. When fear compromises our discipleship, we are succumbing to a faulty view of reality. This sort of fear, which we so often see expressed, should not have a place in the Christian.
In the Bible we read hundreds of times the command “Fear not.” Always, God’s people are told “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid of political forces that are swirling out of control. Do not be afraid of your adversaries. Do not be afraid of that which you do not understand. Do not be afraid when people speak ill of you or when injustice prevails. In fact, I cannot think of a single instance we’re instructed to fear anything—besides God himself.Read More