We have all faced fear. At some point in your life you have feared something or someone. Fears can range from mild in severity to shear paralyzing terror. Overcoming fear can be a lifelong pursuit but can fear be overcome, and should it? There are certain fears that are healthy, the first being the “fear of the Lord.” There are other fears that are healthy fears as well, the fear of things that could harm you, rattlesnakes and copperheads immediately come to mind as do heights. Most people tend to steer clear of venomous creatures, others, such as construction workers who fear heights but are required to work high, take extra precautions using safety equipment and safe practices. There are also unhealthy fears, fears that can cause the fearful harm. For example, people who are so afraid of dying or losing a loved one that it causes severe physical and emotional responses even life-threatening illnesses. A milder form of this fear is people who are so afraid of failure that they will not try or participate, choosing to remain in a shell of protectivity. Consider a Bible study in which you remain silent for fear of sounding stupid.
As I look at fear, I see it can be brought down to three types: physical, psychological, and spiritual. These three groups should sound familiar to the believer, it is the image in which God made us, a triune being. Therefore, fear can come in each aspect of our image.
Physical fears are healthy fears if it does not paralyze. Many years ago, I used to ride a bus to and from Camp Lejeune and home which required a change in carriers in Washington DC. The carriers Greyhound and Trailways were always adjacent to each other. On one trip back to base, I discovered that Greyhound had moved. Lacking money for cab fare, I decided to walk the streets of DC in the wee hours of the morning. Over a mile to walk in downtown DC, I feared being mugged. Senses alert, scanning in all direction to see where the inevitable attack would come from. But then God. God sent a compassionate taxi driver my way telling me to get in then explaining I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he drove me for free. This as a healthy fear, a healthy respect for my surroundings. The same could be said for heights, spiders, snakes, and sharks. A self-preserving instinct that all living beings possess.
Psychological fears can be the most troubling. Fears about the future, being alone, the unknown, losing a friend or loved one are all fears that human beings face. Psychological fears or anxiety can motivate or terminate action. Fears about financial security cause us to endeavor to make ourselves employable whether it be college, trade school or other types of education or practice to prepare you for the best paying job. The fear of being alone causes us to seek a mate. People experience anxiety, believing that there’s no one out there for them. Rest assured God has someone out there suitable for everyone. We have to wait; we have to trust that He will provide.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
The fear of dying or losing a loved one can be debilitating. The anxiety associated with both can cause health issues and accelerate what is feared. Or, if we’re worried so much about others, the anxiety can cause numerous ailments some of which can lead to a premature death. See https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body
The Cure for Earthly Anxiety?
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather crops into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more important than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single day to his life’s span?
Spiritual fears have many aspects to them as well, the first and greatest is the fear of the Lord. The remedy to spiritual fears is surprisingly simple yet elusive. Our response to spiritual fears is first determined by our raw “spiritual condition.” Are you spiritually alive or dead, have you only been born once or have you been born again. If your spiritual condition is dead, meaning that you are not a believer your only remedy begins with your salvation, being made alive, being made a new creature in Christ.
Spiritual fears for all, even for the believer can consist of:
Our future, what is God’s will for my life?
Pleasing or displeasing God, Am I living in obedience, what consequences am I suffering due to my disobedience?
Dying, is what I believed in real, what will my first moments of the next life be like?
Heaven or hell, am I thoroughly convinced in my faith?
Losing a friend or loved one, where will they go in the next life?
These are all fears that cause anxiousness which can lead to living a defeated life here on earth. The root cause of spiritual fear as with most other fears is a lack of faith or a lack of trust that God can and will do exactly what He said. Ouch, that statement can be offensive to some but let’s break it down scripturally.
1 Peter 5:7
having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.
Hebrews 2:17-18 tells us that He, Christ was made like us, to be tested like us, so that He is able to help others who are being tested just like He was. Humanly speaking, Jesus suffered physical and psychological anxiety when face with the cross to the point that He sweat blood yet, He fully trusted in God’s plan of redemption. He trusted that the father knew what He was doing even though physically and psychologically Jesus would have to endure immense pain and suffering. That’s faith, Forsaking All I Trust Him. Jesus let go and let God have His way. How can this be done? This let go and let God thing? Don’t you worry God knows our needs, every need. Last week’s blog was about troubles and related to troubles and how they are sometimes sent for our perfecting.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
I have a very dear friend that once said, “I don’t know why God keeps testing me this way.” I ask how have you responded, knowing that he had been responding negatively. God continued to test him until he finally let go and said “God, I trust that you know what you are doing, and I accept whatever your will is for my life.” Let go, let God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.