The Valid Fear
There is only one fear that truly matters; one fear that has eternal significance, that is, the fear of the Lord. Jesus often told His disciples, “Do not fear.” The Scriptures continually encourage believers to fear not, fret not, and be not dismayed; rather, the Lord tells you to have courage, take heart, and put your trust and hope in the living God. Isaiah wrote, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Believers are not absent of fear, rather, they place fear where it belongs, upon the Lord God Almighty; like Abraham and Isaac, He is your fear (Gen. 31:42). Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). This is the one valid fear that possesses eternal significance. The Lord dealt with the fears of the patriarchs and all those who walked in faith, including Peter’s deep fears, then certainly He will also deal with your fears till He alone is your fear.
Fear is always in the heart of man; no one can escape fear’s presence; it is ingrained in every human soul since the fall of Adam and Eve. Human beings fear losing their life and fear missing out in some way. They fear not be accepted and they fear every decision’s fall-out. They fear failure as well as another’s perception of success. Humanity fears disease, destruction, and anything or anyone that makes him feel diminished in some way. Fear plagues every scenario and relationship, everywhere. Fear is the dread that comes with losing something or someone you value, such as your own life or your family’s affection. Hence, fear demonstrates your value system, or the who and what you actually worship. Whatever or whoever you value most receives your attention and captures your concern.
When a person is natural, there fleshly ways give place to their fears. One may appear fearless, but it is only because their true fear is hidden for the moment. Anxiousness and anxiety stir depression, anger and irritation cause panic-attacks, and the soul reaches out to anything for escape. Fear is the core of the human heart and it surfaces in a variety of ways; fear displays and reveals your true love, desire, and trust. When fear is not hounding you, stirring in you, then all is going as you like it or you have no interest or care, and place no value in that person, event, situation, scenario, or thing. You give it no place. Hence, maintaining your own life is the greatest fear.
The natural man is riddled with fears and never gains victory. The natural-minded man only learns to cope with his fears. There is a litany of itemized fears plaguing the undegenerated soul; it seeks release in someone or something that brings some level of soothing comfort. Hence, anxiety, depression, and panic-attacks plague the natural man.
Entire spheres of study are given to investigate fear and its consequences, and much research is given to discover various ways to cope with fear’s destructive and debilitating effects on man’s soul. These fears can be real or merely perceived threats, either way, they can devastate entire families; lives are ruined through the terror that fear stirs in the soul. Fear effects depression and anxiety that grip the heart of a person’s soul, bringing him or her into the dark abyss of aloneness and isolation, indifference and callousness. The human being is in a constant state of fear and experiences a form of fear each and every day; it is a relentless taskmaster.
The Lord reveals our fears and calls for His people to trust Him and fear Him alone. As David prayed, “Put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men” (Psalm 9:20). The Lord reveals your fears so that He alone becomes your fear. Believers are those who know they need the strength of God, thus leading them to fully trust Him. They do not excuse their fears or weaknesses, rather, they know His grace is the strength to live soundly in His security. The believers greatest fear is to be displeasing to the Lord; hence, believers relinquish all things for the sake of God’s will, word, and ways.
The Lord must be your only true fear, unhidden and fully confessed. Hence, you shun all things that are contrary to Him; you do not want to be disqualified nor ashamed at His coming; you want nothing to do with backsliding and you desire obedience to the faith at all costs. You are a believer, not someone trying to believe.
Over the years, I have ministered to many who were stricken with some sort of fear in their life, and I also had to confront my own fears, whether it was a sense of insecurity, inferiority, or inadequacy. In each case, victory and freedom from fears came only by believing God. A person must begin believing that God Almighty truly can empower you to live in His sovereign presence and power.
If you are placing fear upon anything or anyone other than the Lord, then that someone or something becomes your focus of worship. You fear losing that relationship or being diminished in someone’s eyes; you may fear loss of finances or you fear loss of life; you fear sickness, or you fear harm to your body. Gaining freedom from fear is not the absence of fear, rather, it is knowing there is only one worth fearing; to fear the Lord God is the only valid fear for the soul who believes God. Overcoming fear of all things, whether real or perceived, whether from the natural or spiritual spheres, can only take place for those of the new creation in Christ who completely relies and fully trust in the Holy Spirit.
When you begin truly believing, you go pass merely agreeing with doctrine; you apply truth to your life’s issues. A believing life conquers one form of fear and lives free, then when another aspect of fear surfaces that requires attention, you believe God’s word once again and place your security and value system in Him alone. The Holy Spirit brings you through a process of believing God and trusting in Him as He did with Abraham; you learn to place all hope in the Lord’s goodness and grace. I have seen many falter at this point, not wanting to surrender a particular fear unto the Lord. Here, they will justify themselves, and will explain and excuse their decision in order to hide their lack.
The person who believes God overcomes the fear by realizing that God is sovereign over all things, all the time, and He is faithful to His word and cannot be hindered or thwarted in any way. As a believer, you know that He cares for you. Freedom from fear and all its anxieties come by trusting that truth—God controls all and He cares for you. Peter told the church, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Since this is true, then believing God is trusting Him with all things and at all times. Be a believer and make Him your only fear! Amen!
I encourage you to print this out and read it with others in the family of faith.
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In the Service of Christ,
Dr. Gary H. Cote