Healthy Fear

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

Fear exists all around us. I have feared vulnerability, food, rejection, infertility, loss, and death. I struggle daily to manage the anxiety that so often cripples me. Fear (anxiety) makes our ability to think rationally vanish. And yet, it’s important to recognize that God created fear. In fact, it is merciful to us. If we never feared we would never flee danger. More importantly, if we never feared we would fail to fear the One who could destroy both body and soul (Matthew 10:28). So fear is good and a gift from God, but Satan perverts this truth.

There is a healthy fear that I hope to clearly share with you. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Yes, God is the One who can (and has the right to) destroy our soul, and without Christ we are left unclean and guilty at the judgement of God’s wrath. This should cause us to tremble. But hear me friends: with Christ, this should cause a trembling-trust. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has made a way for us to approach God not in dread, but with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).

So, we don’t fear the Lord by cowering toward his throne — or by believing in him and his fury; the demons believe in him and rightly fear his wrath (James 2:19). It is believing him that counts; believing him at his word. Brothers and sisters, we do not tremble like the demons, but as those who understand that Jesus has satisfied the wrath of God toward us in a moment. Fearing God is recognizing that he is both our loving Father and that he is in heaven with a name above all others. We fear the Lord by responding to his unmatched glory, and we respond by offering God “acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is an all consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29). This is the fear of the Lord and the beginning of wisdom.

Here is our hope: We are eternally safe in Jesus!, but fears in this life can still darken our confidence and comfort in him. They are real and tangible and painful. But I believe if we knew the the size of God’s love for us in the cross, we would never have to fear anything. When you feel anything but safe, cling to this solid and secure truth from Psalm 27:1:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Lay aside the weight, sin, and fear that clings to you (Hebrews 12:1). You do not have to be enslaved to food, image, pride, man, porn, anxiety, fear, or death. Keep your life free from these things and know that Jesus is with you (Hebrews 13:5). Life is too precious to spend it fearing the wrong things. Let’s learn to fear the Lord like no other. Only then will our fear of man and self cease to exist and our confident fear of God be magnified.

 

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