You’ve been there and done that. You’ve misplaced your wallet, your keys, and more importantly, your sunglasses. Yesterday, it was your chapstick and the checkbook. And how you lost your phone, you don’t know, as it’s practically attached to your body. But, yes, it happened. Socks and umbrellas? You only wish they were cheaper.
What about fear? Have you misplaced your fear?
Fear plagues humanity. Fear of bullies, spiders, thunderstorms, and darkness. Fear of tomorrow. Of evil, and pain, and suffering, and death. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown.
May I argue that we shouldn’t get rid of fear? Fear must simply be kept in its rightful place.
A few observations on whom, what, where, when, and why we need to fear.
Do not fear suffering, but be faithful.
And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:8-10
Do not fear for your safety, for God is with you.
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Acts 18:9-10
Do not fear what men can do. Fear what God can do.
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy. 1 Pet 3:14-15
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves . . . they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my name’s sake . . . and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matt 10:16-31
For he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Heb 13:5-6
Do not fear sickness or death. Only believe in the Healer and Lifegiver.
Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.
There came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:22-36
Do not fear while doing good. Fear God’s judgment of evil.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Rom 14:1-4
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest. Heb 4:1-3
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Pet 2:17
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the spring of water.” Rev 14:6-7
Does fear have its proper place in your life?
The above points provide just a few examples taken from a study of the New Testament’s usage of the word “fear” [phobeo/phobos].
[image credit: theaa.com, journeyoftheword.com]