I have written several posts on fear and God’s command that we are to “fear not”.
Fear causes anxiety and worry. Fear shatters our peace. Fear can also cause shame when it’s fear that we have disappointed God and that we are going to feel His wrath. (Click HERE to see the series Fear Not Is A Command).
Yes we know that God is love and we quote;
1 John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We quote that Scripture when we "blow it", but deep down we are afraid. We're afraid that God is going to “get us”. That kind of fear cause shame. Fear and shame can cause us not to open up to God when we pray because we feel that we are unworthy, and we are afraid of what He will say or do. We forget that we are God’s friends and that He has already forgiven us of sin. All we need to do is acknowledge it. That’s what confession is, it’s agreeing with God.
Fear And Shame Don’t Define You
Here is something written by Brandon Hatmaker in his book “A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith”. In his book Brandon urges readers to think bigger and go deeper into faith. It asks the questions; Do you feel like you're just skimming the surface of faith? What if the Gospel we've come to know is even deeper than we imagined?
The following is from a section of that book “Gospel Identity: Overcoming Your Fear and Shame”
One of the things important for any believer to understand is how fear and shame impact our identity. Whether I could verbalize it or not growing up, too often I envisioned God sitting on the clouds, waiting to throw thunderbolts at my every sin. I looked at my own shortfalls and could only imagine a God who was frustrated with humanity, especially my humanity. Why wouldn’t He punish me or be disappointed in me? That would make total sense.
It’s uncanny how we allow fear to seep in. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of being found out. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of judgment.
Fear leads to shame. Shame causes us to doubt. We begin to doubt God’s love and we begin to doubt God’s grace. Ultimately, we begin to doubt the ability of the gospel to work in our lives.
It’s good to remember that God is no stranger to the response of fear. Throughout Scripture, whenever God revealed Himself directly to His people, either as an angel of the Lord or as the risen Jesus , the people’s first reaction was terror. There was something about experiencing the true presence of God that was incredibly revealing and confronting.
God’s response every time: “Fear not.”
From there He would explain why.
Fear not, for I am with you. Fear not, for I am your God. Fear not, for I will strengthen you and I will help you. Fear not, for I bring you great news.
Isaiah 41:10, 13 (NKJV)10 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.' 13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
Isaiah 43:5 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west;
Luke 2:10 (KJV) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
In order to take our gospel identity seriously, we have to stop fearing our inabilities and start believing in God’s ability, that He is with us and that He is for us, and that His view of us and our circumstances is more expansive than ours. This has nothing to do with what we can accomplish; it has everything to do with what we can surrender. Our fear is unnecessary and our shame is unfounded.
Excerpted with permission from A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker, copyright Brandon Hatmaker. Published by Nelson Books.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.