Fear is a common human experience. Everyone struggles with it, though not all fear is equal. Some types of fear can paralyze us, keeping us from walking in the abundant life God desires for us.
Four fears that can paralyze are fear of man, fear of failure, fear of loneliness and an unhealthy fear of God.
The fear of man keeps us more concerned with what people think about us than what God thinks. Every time we wonder if we can measure up to someone else's standards or think in terms of "have to" in order to please someone other than God, as though their opinion of us is determines our value, we have let the fear of man rule us. God is the only one who can determine our value and He's already shown how much He values us by sending His Son to die on the cross for us.
Proverbs 29:25 says, "the fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted." God wants us to trust Him with everything in us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we shift our trust entirely on the Lord, we have humbled ourselves. God's promises to then lift us up (James 4:10).
Loneliness tries to take away from our lives, but that should not necessarily be the case. Consider King David. He spent a lot of time alone before the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king. Then he spent time on the run from King Saul because Saul wanted to kill him. King David's times of loneliness pushed him closer to God until he ultimately became known as "a man after God's heart" (1 Samuel 13:14).
Moses also spent considerable time alone in intimate times with God. It was through that very intimacy we received the Ten Commandments. When we are lonely, we are at a place where we can either run away from God, straight into the arms of depression, or we can run to God and experience His presence. The best place to hear God is in a secluded place with no distractions. Jesus knew this, so he sought solitude. The night before his crucifixion he withdrew from his disciples so that he could receive the grace needed to finish the task set before him (Matthew 26:36-46).
God promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 11:5-6). Jesus said that he will be with us, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20). Loneliness is not something to fear. Instead, we can embrace it as a gift from God that draws us closer to Him.
In much the same way, failure is not something to fear. Proverbs 24:16 says that though a righteous man may fall he gets up. He doesn't stay down. The fear of failure is rooted in the belief that it is up to us to accomplish something and that we will face some sort of punishment if we are unsuccessful. But God says that it is by His Spirit that things are accomplished (Zechariah 4:6).
When we align our lives with the Word of God, failure is no longer an issue because God sees our heart. Men judge by externals, but God does not (1 Samuel 6:7). He knows our frame, that we are dust, and yet He still has perfect love for us (Psalm 103:13-14; 1 John 4:17-19). King David knew what it meant to struggle with fear. Frequently he asked the question, "what can mere man do to me?" (Psalm 53:3-4) Yet throughout everything he trusted God.
The fear of man, the fear of failure and the fear of loneliness all have to do with how we see man. The fear of the Lord has to do with how we see God.
Scriptures refer to the fear of the Lord many times. In Deuteronomy the Israelites were commanded to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:13). But the word "fear" doesn't mean that we are to associate dread or horror with God. When we do associate horror with God we are dealing with an unhealthy fear of God.
We are to honor the Lord above all others. We are to respect Him. Above all else, we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).
The love of God, which we reciprocate because He loved us first, is the key to overcoming the fear of man, the fear of loneliness and the fear of failure. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:30-32)
Ask the Lord to show you where you have let fear rule in your life. Reject fear and ask the Lord to cleanse you and empower you to live fearlessly. Search the Gospels for all of the times Jesus says "fear not."
"Heavenly Father, thank you that I need not fear because you are with me and for me. Please let me experience the bold power of your love in a way that breaks the shackles of fear in my life.
Adapted from Fearless Living by Edward John for LIFE Today with James and Betty Robinson.
The fear of failure [when maintained] "kills" spiritual intensity [godly desire] - and produces a state of "inertia" [laziness and procrastination] that makes it very difficult for one to function on a daily basis. The key for one to rise above this attack is entrance into the "inner chamber" at the beginning of each day - for in that place there is a "certain" empowerment [impartation] that will cause one to not only rise above the attack [oppression - heaviness] but it also allows My Spirit to both expose and eliminate every last ground of fear from their heart.
...."Love NEVER fails".... 1 Corinthians 13:8a NASB
...."This book of the law [the Word of God] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success".... Joshua 1:8 NASB
...."God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]".... 1 John 4:16-18 The Amplified Translation
Closer To Love - Mat Kearney