The Unexpected Cure for Fear: Facing Fear Series
F.E.A.R. It’s a four-letter word. A word I associate with two other words. DO NOT. God does not want us to fear. Truth. Solid truth. And because I have lived in an anxious world of “what ifs” fearful thoughts have been known to overtake me.
I have been on a mission to understand fear. I feel like I am in a biology class dissecting every part of the word. I have spent hours looking up every reference to fear in my concordance and writing out each verse. I want to know…
What is healthy fear versus unhealthy fear?
How can I know the difference?
Understanding fear will help me to know when fear becomes unhealthy, resulting in anxiety and lack of trust in God.
Is all fear sin? Of course not. Healthy fear isn’t sinful.
I’ve discovered through counseling that I have a tendency to label all my negative emotions as sinful–the raw human emotion that is felt naturally. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Fear. When these emotions arise it feels like I am sinning. And most of the time, I am sinning. When I allow my feelings to take over and let anxiety rule, then I am not trusting in God. But there are times when it’s part of the natural human response to circumstances.
Healthy fear protects us from harm
Like that natural instinct that prevents us from getting too close to a bear. I felt that fear as my husband took this picture from our car! Being afraid of a bear is a normal human reaction. Being afraid of fire prevents us from getting burned.
During the transfiguration of Christ, when the glory of God was revealed to Peter, James, and John, the voice of God spoke through a cloud and said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
I believe the disciples’ reacted the way anyone would upon seeing the glory and power of God. And yet, even though it is a normal human reaction, God does not want us to be afraid.
Jesus touched the disciples and told them not to be afraid.
Fear that turns into worry, stress or anxiety can be a result of not trusting in God’s ultimate provision and care for us. This kind of fear is unhealthy. And that is why the Bible tells us over and over again not to be afraid.
The Hebrew word for fear is yare, (Strong H3372) and it carries a number of meanings. There is both the definition of being “terrified” along with the definition of having “reverence” and “awe.”
The Greek word for fear is Phobeo (Strong G 5399). It, too, carries similar meanings with references to “being afraid” and “having reverence or awe.”
A healthy fear of God respects his power and majesty with an attitude of reverence and awe.
Proverbs 2:1-5 says that in order to understand the fear of the Lord we must fervently seek God.
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord.
After studying the references to the word fear in the Bible, it became clear to me that…
There is one healthy fear that is the cure for every single kind of unhealthy fear out there–and that is the fear of God!
This truth astounds me.
Leave it to God to cure fears with fear!
It reminds me of how firefighters use fire to reduce the amount of flammable material during a wildfire.
It can be difficult to understand how the word fear is meant when the Bible tells us to fear God. We associate the word fear with anxious feelings that something bad is going to happen to us.
In order to understand its distinction, we must look to the Word of God for answers. Every time the Bible refers to the fear of the Lord, it’s always meant for our good.
The fear of God is healthy and leads to life!
The fear of the Lord leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble. (Proverbs 19:23)
The fear of the Lord is pure enduring forever! (Psalm 19:9)
Fearing the Lord is healthy and good.
We don’t need to be anxious in our fear of the Lord because everything He does and allows can be trusted to bring about our spiritual growth.
It is not a false fear that believes “God is out to get you” and strike you down every time you sin. Most people turn their back on God with this false belief in who He is.
Fearing the Lord is good and it will always draw a believer closer into a loving, trusting relationship with God.
says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
The more you get to know God, (hence the knowledge of God) the more you understand His immense love for you. His power over your life. His care for you. His control over every other area of fear that has plagued you.
Fearing the Lord is beneficial because…
It helps us to know His power: Joshua 4:24 explains how God dried up the Jordan River so the people would know that the Lord is powerful and fear Him. The display of God’s power shows that He is in control and that we have nothing to fear.
It gives us wisdom: Psalm 111:10
It’s the beginning of knowledge: Proverbs 1:7
It adds length to life: Proverbs 10:27
It provides instruction for our lives: Psalm 25:12
Those who fear him lack nothing: Psalm 34:9
God will hear our cries: Psalm 145:19
God delights in you: Psalm 147:11
Evil is avoided: Proverbs 16:6
It leads to life: Proverbs 19:23
So, how do we fear the Lord?
The more you seek and search to know God, the more you will grow in your knowledge of him and develop a deep respect for who he is. The more we understand who God is, the more we will revere him and live our lives to honor him.
Deuteronomy 10:12 gives some great examples of what fearing the Lord looks like in our lives.
And now Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving to you today for your own good.
A healthy fear of God trusts in God’s power and control over our lives.
A healthy fear of God trusts in His love for us.
A healthy fear of God is evident by our desire to obey Him and love him with undivided hearts.
If we want to overcome fear in our lives, we have to connect to the source of power that will enable us to conquer our fears. That source is Jesus.
It’s time to fight fire with fire!
And when we do we will see that…
We need not fear anything because God is greater and more powerful than any fear we struggle with! Click To Tweet
What fears do you struggle with?