Someone made a definition of fear using it as an acronym: “False Evidence Appearing Real”, he called it. I can hardly fault the definition as I go down memory lane to recall my adventures with fear from childhood.
Born into an environment not totally weaned from the fear that characterized life before the advent of modernity and western civilization, everything around me had the capacity to pose a danger to my existence or in the least to my wellbeing.
I was told thunder was dangerous and in personification could angrily strike me dead. An improper disposal of my milk tooth could prevent its replacement with an adult tooth. My uncles threatened my knack for swallowing orange seeds with the fact they were growing into trees within me and would soon grow out of me with branches sticking out of my ears and oranges growing on them. You don’t whistle at night because you might attract evil spirits and the list of superstitions and fables were endless.
All these fallacies threatened my peace and gave me lots of trepidations. My imaginations were fertile with endless possibilities of harm. There were enough victims of superstitions in my childhood neighbourhoods. They added more fear to mine and validated my false imaginations.
I still remember how many times I froze at the sight of my dad’s cloth rack often with hanging clothes looking like demons or masquerades. Only the dawning of the day freed me from my fears as I was then able to see clearly.
Fables apart, life presents real fears at times. The psalmist talked about his enemies coming upon him to eat up his flesh (Psalm 27:2). There are truly sworn enemies who do not want to see us alive nor see us succeed at times.
However whether real or unreal, fear is not an emotion God wants us to embrace for long. His Will is that we live our lives in total tranquility. Regardless of what is going on around us, God want His children free from all of their fears(Psalm 34.4). That fear is not of God is clear from 2 Timothy 1:7 – ‘God has not given us the spirit of fear..’. God is not the source of fear.
The concept of the fear of God is more that of reverence for him and holding Him in the Highest esteem and awe that He deserves as the supreme being. My enlightenment through education has liberated me from many of my fears today, but I must admit I find many reasons to be afraid from time to time. I have however learnt several antidotes that I can apply from God’s Word when I am afraid.
The greatest one is to rest in our heavenly fathers Perfect love. One of our greatest fears is that of judgement. A picture of a dreadful God sitting on a massive throne in heaven with eyes darting like fire and looking for the next person to punish has been sold to us. This is contrary to the living, compassionate, all together good God that introduced Himself to Moses in Exodus 34. A God who is merciful and gracious, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands…. He only brings judgement when His mercy and kindness has been rejected.
He sent His son into the world, He laid all our judgement on Him on the cross of Calvary and sees us in Him as holy and without blame(Ephesians 1:5).
We have no fear on the day of judgement anymore because as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17-18). He is happy with us, delighted in us and not out to judge us nor condemn us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we can die in peace and assurance that we have boldness on the day of judgement because of the cross of Calvary.
We are forgiven our trespasses and have passed from death to life. We are the objects of the fathers love and need not be afraid. We have been adopted as children and no longer slaves. We have not received the spirit of bondage(like slaves) to fear, but we have received the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15). We are free to love the Lord and serve Him as freeborn children. The devil tries to play tricks of guilt, shame and condemnation on me, but I am no longer a slave to fear(Hebrews 2:14-15). I will continue this discussion next week.