Fear is a powerful human emotion. And each one of us has experienced it at some time or another. Also consider the many different examples of fear that we read about in the Bible. Adam hid himself in the garden because of it; Abraham lied about his wife, saying “she is my sister’’ because or it; Jacob spaced others between himself and Esau because of it; Elijah fled from the face of Jezebel because of it; Peter denied his Lord because of it; and on and on the list could go.
Today it is not at all uncommon to hear of those who have fears which to us may seem completely groundless and in some cases even very foolish. For example, you hear of those who are so afraid of germs that they stay indoors at all times, a prisoner of their own fears. Perhaps they even fail to realize it, but the “fear” itself was far more devastating to their life than any germs they may have avoided ever would have been.
Many of the fears which we are to experience are groundless. They spring from our imagination more than from reality, and we ought to do our best to simply put these fears behind us quickly and firmly as possible.
This is not to say, however, that all our fears are groundless. Many real possibilities for pain, injury, and loss in our lives do exist. And we really never do know what tomorrow will bring. But at this point we take a different path; while the world sees only doubt and confusion, we see the hand of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is He who holds the future.
With that thought then as our constant focus, let’s look at three fears which we all share, and which if not dealt with properly, can have a very negative influence on our Christian walk.
A major fear which is experienced by almost everyone is a fear of being disliked. Perhaps this is especially true of you young people. It is so very painful to be rejected or disliked by
those around you, those whose favorable opinion you most want. We all have a very strong desire to be accepted by our peers. And this desire often causes us to do things which we know are wrong simply to gain acceptance.
The first question which ought to be asked when a decision is being made shouldn’t be what will others think or say, but is it right? We should be concerned about what others think. It’s natural to want people’s acceptance and approval; not at any price however.
A strong commitment to Christ is exactly what we need to rid ourselves of this kind of fear. Doing what is right in Christ’s eyes will be our greatest desire. He is our Light and Salvation, whom shall we fear?
Another fear which is quite common among all of us is a fear of failure. No one wants to strike out with the bases loaded. Failure can be embarrassing. We admire those who are successful. But we all have to make mistakes. We shouldn’t forget that we all must go through a learning process. However, we must be willing to take the initiative when it comes to the learning process. After all, you cannot expect to pass a History test if you don’t study the assigned chapters in the book.
Fear of failure can immobilize us, and we certainly don’t want to rush headlong into any situation before considering all the possibilities of failure. But neither can we afford to be paralyzed by our fear of failure.
Another fear which is very common among us is a fear of the future. Will we have a good job after school? Will we have enough money? Suppose our health fails. Will we be getting married?
Christ, however, knew that these concerns would be very real to us; and He addresses them for us in Matthew 6 and Luke 12 where He says, among other things, not to be anxious for your life, but rather “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you’’.
It is not God’s plan for us that we wring our hands in fear about tomorrow. We should work and plan and do all that we can about tomorrow, but then we should just leave the rest at the feet of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
And this is exactly where our confidence comes from. We know that it would be wrong to say that if we just serve the Lord our future will always be bright and totally free from sorrow or pain. The Lord has not promised this. Often the Lord does send His children through some deep water. Why, isn’t always clear to us. We do know though that God cares so much for us that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. So we cast ourselves upon Him, placing our future in His hands. It is simply a matter of trusting Him to do what is best. When this is done, our anxiety over the future will go away, and we are overcome with peace.
As Christians it is inconceivable that we would both trust and fear at the same time. Fear and trust are like water and oil, they simply do not mix.
Fear cannot be removed with a simple operation. There is no medication we can take to rid ourselves of it. But trust in the Lord can. “I will trust’’ said the Psalmist, “and not be afraid . . .1 sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears”.
Peace comes from knowing that God is in control and through knowing that He has a purpose for allowing everything that touches our lives.