By Bill Brandstatter
We are all afraid of something. Some are afraid of snakes. Others are afraid of spiders. The Greek word is phobia. We know about claustrophobia and hydrophobia. Have you ever heard of phobia phobia? It is the fear of being afraid. Many today have this. As we look at our nation and the lives and deaths of neighbors, friends and family, fear seems to be part of our lives on a regular basis. There were Bible characters that may have been afraid. Being afraid is not the problem. The problem comes when we let fear control our lives and consume our thoughts and actions.
“God did not give us the Spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7). Perhaps the young preacher Timothy had some fears as he ministered in the city of Ephesus. I can identify with some fears young preachers might have. As an older preacher, I still have some. In the text above Paul mentions love and a sound mind. This simply means God wants us to think correctly. Fear often warps and changes our thinking.
God wants us to fear but not be fearful. There is a right and healthy fear. Solomon wrote: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13,14). The fear of God includes reverence and respect. It also includes the justice of God upon those who disobey (Matt. 10:28). We should have fear of evil and what it can do to us if we are overtaken by it.
God wants us to not be afraid of other people. The writer of Hebrews states, “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Heb. 11:6). Do we fear men? Sometimes we may fear those in positions of high authority. We might fear a boss, a governor, or a president. We might fear someone who is aggressive and threatening. The Bible says not to fear them.
God wants us to place our trust in Him. We need to pray to Him and He will take care of us (Phil. 4:6). We need not be fearful but faithful.
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/