There are many different things out there that might make 'most of us' shudder, whether physical, emotion or spiritual. Fear is something that comes knocking again and again. But why do we have fear: what benefit does having fear offer us? The answer... None.
God did not design us to have fear or to be afraid, as Paul wrote to Timothy; "...God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). Knowing fear does not come from God, lets explore what fear brings in our daily walk.
Firstly, fear cripples. It puts us at a place where we say no. Many people will say that some fears are rational and fear is bought on because of reasons such as self protection. Does God think fear is rational? Seeing as God has not given us fear, rather God gives discernment, and that is very different to being afraid. Being able to discern whether something could be harmful to you is totally different to being crippled by fear. Discernment brings peace, it allows you to say no because you know in your heart that God us this fact, that he has not given us a spirit of fear, decision clouded in fearful thoughts are not from Him.
God wants us moving forward with him, if you allow fear to cripple, how might we follow Him? When God fills with his light, his strength and his wisdom, fear will not be able to cripple as we walk along the road of salvation, as the Psalmist writes, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps 27:1).
Secondly, fear makes us prisoners. God has offered us his freedom through his grace, "... you live under the freedom of God's grace" (Rom 6:14). God does not want us chained to fear but instead to be anchored to his hope and freedom. Only true freedom extinguishes fear, and the only true freedom offered is that of God's undying love and grace. If we believe in God's love and in the freedom he offers, Satan cannot fill your heart with fear or anxiety. Just like those close to you who you know love you, fear is generally not a part of the relationship. So if God, who offers us the most perfect, purest form of love has called us to have a relationship with him, you can be assured that fear will not be a part of it, as John wrote; "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 Jn 4:18). So break off the shackles of fear and break the bars of uncertainty and become free in the promise of God's love and grace.
Finally, fear makes us miss opportunities. What if Gideon was too fearful to trust God, what if Noah was too fearful of the ridicule he would receive, and what if Jesus had been too fearful to take on the Cross? Satan uses fear to make us miss the great promises and plans that God is trying to hand over to us. Satan uses trickery, lies, deceit and fear in all sorts of forms to convince us miss the wonderful blessings that God has got planned.
How many times has God presented us with opportunities to share our faith only for us to let fear over rule that chance. How many ministries have been lost because of a fear of the unknown. God wants us to be blessed, he wants to blow our minds with opportunities and plans that we could never have imagined. Don't let fear ruin a chance that God is attempting to place in front of you. God is always with you and he will not let any harm come to you, if you believe; When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? (Ps 56:3-4).
So be aware of fear, it is a tool of Satan. God gives us discernment and wisdom to make decisions, not fear. Life is a journey and with God there is a wonderful and glorious road ahead of us. Do not allow fear to cripple your walk and keep you from following that road. Do not become a prisoner to fear,
God offers absolute freedom in his love and grace so that in Him, we can be assured of his love and peace within our lives. And do not let your fears keep you from the opportunities that God is calling you to. God's plans will far out way the fear that Satan is trying to fill you with. If you trust in God and his love, you will be greatly blessed by all of plans God has laid before you.
Remember that God is love and in love there is no fear, God will protect and strengthen you and he will lead you to righteous and wonderful paths. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Is 41:10).
Tim McDonald lives and works in Mackay Queensland with a family of four children and is the drummer in his church's youthful band.