Fear is a powerful emotion. There is good fear and bad fear. Good fear will keep you from doing things that are foolish and dangerous. It will also keep you in a place where you rightly fear God, which is the beginning (or foundation) of true and lasting wisdom. Job was said to be a righteous man, thus he was a person who "feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:8). The writer of Proverbs says that a noble wife is one who "fears the Lord" (Proverbs 31:30b).
But the wrong kind of fear can cripple you and keep you from God and your duty. The beloved apostle wrote: "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment; In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:16-18).
Recently I read this quote, which I assume to be anonymously cited: "Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain." The thing I think we fear the most is often love. Strange as it is we fear that if we love deeply we will be deeply hurt but this is how we grow, through the love and the hurt. We must do what we fear and fear will slowly die. In the middle of great difficulty there is often great opportunity. Look for the opportunity and wage war against your fear.
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I just did something big I was afraid to do. Now to wait and see how this turns out. Exciting and scary times.
Thanks for this post, John. I admit that I struggle all too often with the “wrong kind” of fear. Faced now with some upcoming big and intimidating decisions, I find your thoughts here to be a real encouragement. This Tennessee pastor appreciates your ministry and friendship!