Bible Studies for Life
Craig Bowers, pastor
Wynnbrook Baptist Church, Columbus
Fear can grip you like gorilla glue! It can fester inside you and grow beyond your wildest imagination. There is a difference between healthy, godly fear and unhealthy, ungodly fear.
Our world inflames fear. The enemy seeks to paralyze us through fear, but the Lord has offered us 365 “fear nots” in the Bible. The Lord would have us be as courageous as a lion regardless of the danger. Remember nothing can touch us without His permission.
Fear is the opposite of faith. By faith we obey the Lord, and in doing so we open wide the windows of heaven. However, fear will prevent us from stepping out in faith. Fear blockades us from experiencing the blessings God desires to bestow upon us. Fear delayed Israel from entering the Promised Land. Their fear was an expression of their unbelief. Not only does unhealthy fear inhibit you, but it also damages you.
The Psalmist teaches us when we have a healthy fear of God, called reverence, we will not live controlled by fear.
Fear, like lightning, strikes suddenly and randomly. Everyone is gripped with moments of fear. When those moments become monuments, captivity ensues. In those moments when we are overwhelmed by fear, we must trust in our Lord. That means the focus of our thoughts transforms from increasing our fear to increasing our faith — wholehearted trust.
Remind yourself of His great love and power. Dwell on His faithfulness and protection. God is greater than any terror of the night or arrow of the day. We are not afraid of the “pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that lays waste at noon” (verse 6). Why? Because our lives are in His hands. The enemy plants hidden traps along our path that he hopes we step upon. However, in those moments we remember He is a God of grace who delights in His children. Even when we stumble, He loves us.
When Satan tempted Jesus to cast Himself from the highest point of the Temple, the devil quoted verses 11-12. Jesus rebuked Satan by and quoted Deut 6:16. In short, that verse teaches us a presumptuous attitude! The people of Israel demanded Moses provide them water. Their demand demonstrated a lack of healthy fear of God. They thought their obedience obligated God to provide what they wanted. The psalmist teaches us in these verses that God does provide and protect.
However, our Lord does not respond well to an entitlement attitude. We are to trust He knows what He is doing. Banish the thought of making demands of the King. God did rescue Jesus many times. However, He did not rescue Jesus from the cross. We can trust God to protect us in accordance to His will and purposes.
I had finally convinced my parents to let me camp out with a group of guys. They consented. Now I was paying the piper. As an eight-year-old child, I was trapped deep in the woods with a bunch of boys who were bullies. I was their target. I was gripped with fear. It’s a long story, but I was without hope of escape and outnumbered. Deep darkness settled over the night as we sat around the campfire. The intensity of my situation was increasing. Then we heard something in the woods approaching us. Everyone was consumed with fear.
However, to my sheer delight, it was my dad. He put me on his back and carried me out of the woods. Looking back now, I don’t remember my dad reprimand me by saying, “I told you so! Maybe you’ve learned your lesson. From now own, listen to us!” We walked in silence. He didn’t rescue me to chastise me. He recognized I was in a bad situation, so, purely out of love, he came back for me. I gripped him tight, not from fear of falling off his back but out of my sheer love and gratitude! Fear was conquered.
You may be deep in darkness, without hope and alone. Know this: Your Father is with you. He will never leave you alone. Even when you can’t feel His presence, He is with you. He loves you! Walking with him conquers fear!
Nurture an intimate relationship with God by talking with Him, listening to Him, and trusting in Him. Whatever the source of your fear, remember He is greater. You may need to confess your fear to a safe friend. Expose the “monster” lurking in the darkness of your heart through confession. That is an act of humility God honors. Grip tight to your Father who loves you.
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