Fear of God isn’t the emotion that usually comes to mind when we think of fear. That emotion is fright, which is a sudden intense feeling of fear. Synonyms of this type fear are fearfulness, terror, horror, alarm, panic, dread, trepidation, dismay, nervousness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, perturbation, and disquiet. The fear of God is a reverential respect of God’s power and glory. Fear of God is the result of His love for mankind and the grace that He has given to those who, in faith, believe on His Son, Jesus Christ.
Apart from this fear of God we are commanded to “fear not”. We are commanded to “fear not” because God has made promises to those who believe in Jesus. He’s promised to protect them, to provide for them, and to give them eternal life with Him.
Psalm 91:1-4 (NLT) 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT) 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
John 3:16 (NLT) “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 2:24-25 (NLT) 24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
As I continue to look at fear and its debilitating effect on believers I will add posts to my series “Fear Not Is A Command”. In a devotion that I read recently by Dr. Charles Stanley I realized that fear in addition to being debilitating in itself, it also has side effects. In his devotion, Dr. Stanley identifies these side effects;
- Fear produces anxiety
- Fear stifles our thinking and actions
- Fear hinders us from becoming the people God wants us to be
- Fear can drive people to destructive habits
- Fear steals peace and contentment
- Fear creates doubt.
His conclusion is while fear is real that we should remember who God is and that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He will supply everything that we need.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) 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.'
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Dr. Stanley’s complete devotion follows.
(Editor's Note: the complete text of the referenced scripture was included by the Editor and not Dr. Stanley or In Touch Ministries)
Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV)25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Fear obviously produces anxiety, but it also creates chaos in our lives and even affects those around us.
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Fear hinders us from becoming the people God wants us to be. When we are dominated by negative emotions, we cannot achieve the goals He has in mind for us. A lack of self-confidence stymies our belief in what the Lord can do with our lives.
Fear can drive people to destructive habits. To numb the pain of overbearing distress and foreboding, some turn to things like drugs and alcohol for artificial relief.
Fear steals peace and contentment. When we're always afraid, our life becomes centered on pessimism and gloom.
Fear creates doubt. God promises us an abundant life, but if we surrender instead to the chains of fear, our prayers won’t be worth very much.
What are you afraid of--loss, rejection, poverty, or death? Everybody will face such realities at some point. All you need to know is, God will never reject you. Whether you accept Him is your decision.
The Bible tells us that God will meet all our needs. He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass with the splendor of lilies. How much more, then, will He care for us, who are made in His image? Our only concern is to obey the heavenly Father and leave the consequences to Him.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
For more from Dr. Charles Stanley go to our Resources Page.