For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
|When you get out of bed do you take a little jump, just to make sure that no hands reach out from under it and grab you? Or avert your eyes whenever you’re around that girl you find so attractive? Maybe you get shaky when hanging Halloween decorations from high atop a ladder, or the maybe thought of getting a bad grade on a test gives you an anxiety attack. Fears can come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone is fearful of different things. During this time of year it is fun to be afraid, but in our life of faith, what does God say about true fear, like the instances just described?
Fear can be the doubt that God won’t protect you, fear can be the doubt that in the end, everything won’t work out. Fear can also be a realization that we are vulnerable, mortal, and not always in control. Fear is: To be afraid of (something or someone); to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant); an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger; reason for alarm; a feeling of respect and wonder, reverence and awe, for something very powerful, i.e. God.
So fear can sometimes be a good thing, depending on where it is directed, or how it is triggered. Being fearful of doing something wrong can be good because it protects you from doing harmful things, or fear of a punishment or a parent can also be good, because it fosters respect for your parent. Then there is fun fear! When Autumn and I went to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens last week I loved it, even when I was screaming my head off because zombies were chasing me! Why could I enjoy being afraid? Maybe because I knew deep down that I was safe, and that the zombies were really actors. God should make you feel that way too.
We have been talking a lot about dominion, the covenants that God made with us, and how we are powerful, unique, and made in his image. The first part of this verse tells us not to be “afraid”, some translations say “timid”, and that God has given us a spirit of “power”. The earth and everything in it is our dominion, so remember that promise next time you feel afraid. Also, as God’s children we have power, there is power in what we say and do, but don’t forget to temper that with the last two things mentioned in that verse, “love” and a “sound mind” (also translated as “good judgment” and “discipline”). So shape your decisions and actions thoughtfully, and also remembering to love. That no matter what is happening, however bad things are, or however fearful you can be of a future outcome, God is there and loves you, and in the end this life is just passing, and what matters isn’t what is happening to you, but how you respond, and that you remember God is there:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.