Isn’t it amazing how we can press our fears on other people. What I mean is we become fearful when we see someone doing something we fear. Take for example my children. Every time they do something that I am afraid of I become supper aware of the situation. Now my children are not afraid and probably no one else is, but I am afraid and so I do my best to change the situation so that my fears are relieved.
When I was growing up my older sister, Heather whom I love, used to pin me down and swipe her long hair over my face. She would also trap me underneath the blankets. Now I am not claustrophobic, but now I can not have things covering my face. I know my sister was just being a sister, but she put the fear of suffocation in me. So anytime someone covers their face with a blanket or shirt or any material I begin to get the sense of fear. Now that I have children it is even worse. Both my children like to sleep with blankets over their heads. It drives me nuts. Anna, who is 7, I can’t do much about. Judah who is almost 3 I try my hardest to do something. In fact I wake up in the night still to check if he is still breathing or has anything over his face. Now the possibility that he will suffocate is pretty low, but there is always that chance. It seems like our fears have a driving reaction in our lives, hence I have not had a good nights sleep since Judah came into our lives.
According to psychology when we face fear our brains give us two options; fight or flight. This is how we deal with fear, we either fight for our lives or get the heck out of the situation. My making sure that Judah does not have his blanket over his head probably fits into both. Do we really want to live like this because it seems that our brains only do this to preserve our lives? Fear is a very selfish emotion or attitude. Fear cares nothing for others, it only cares for self. Even if we choose to fight our personal lives are still the subject of the fear. I have seen families cling and fight for loved ones lives not so much for the benefit of the loved ones, but because they fear letting go. How are we supposed to live as Christians who are willing to give up their lives for others when we have fear?
Don’t get me wrong. The two options that the brain gives us are good things, but is their ever a time we stop fearing? As my father was facing death I remember the conversations we had. One conversation we had was when I was cutting his hair for the last time. I asked dad, “are you afraid?” He said, “No. I am afraid of the pain I will endure, but not of dying. I got to serve God as a pastor, I have a family and friends that care for me, and most important I have a God who loves me.” I will always remember those words. They cut me as a knife going through butter. Especially the last part, “I have a God who loves me.”
My favorite verse in the Bible is 1 John 4:19, “We love because God first loved us.” Powerful words to remember. Right before that in 4:18 the words are just as powerful, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” Perfect love drives out fear. God revealed in Jesus Christ is Perfect Love. I know this because Jesus did not let fear control his actions, choices, and teachings. Jesus did not fight or flight, but willingly give up His life on the cross. I have a God who loves me. Does God want us to live in fear?
I lot of people want to quote Proverbs 9:10 to this question, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD…” Notice what the Proverb says, “fear is the beginning of wisdom” not the end. Of course we could talk about the different meanings of “fear” like respect, honor, amazement, but most people equate fear as one thing. I agree God is God. God can do anything because He is All Powerful, Creator of all things, Master, and King, but this is not how God has revealed His heart. No, His heart was revealed in Jesus Christ who loves us. “I have a God who loves me.” I believe that a lot of people come to the knowledge of God through fear, but I also believe this is not how God wants us to be in relationship with Him. God doesn’t want us to fear Him, God want’s us to love Him. As Jesus teaches us, Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor. This is why the Good News of Jesus Christ is Good News based on Faith, Hope and Love. Faith, Hope, and Love stand in opposition to fear.
When perfect Love comes into your heart, what have you to fear? When we start to deal with our fears our lives as Followers of Christ begin to shine brighter. The reason I am willing to sacrifice my life for others is because I do not fear death, “I HAVE A GOD WHO LOVES ME!!!” Yes, I still have a fear of suffocation, especially drowning, but if my suffocation or drowning meant someone would know God’s love I am willing. I am willing to lay down my life for all people. Not because of my own convictions, but because Perfect Love dwells in me. What do you fear? Are you living in fear of God? Fear Not, God loves you!!!
“But you, Israel my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham, whom I love, you whom I took from the ends of the earth and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant; I chose you and didn’t reject you”: Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” Isaiah 41:8-10