Living in Fear
Focal Passage – James 3:13 – 18
Henry David Thurough said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with their song still in them.”
How sad, but it’s true, you know. Most of us live our lives in fear. Fear of harm, fear of loss, fear of failure, and fear of death.
The Bible even extolls the virtues of fear, saying, “Fear the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14) This command should be taken literally. It means, literally, to live in fear of God because He is worthy of your fear and respect. Jesus said it best when he told his disciples, “And I say to you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more. But fear Him who has authority to throw people into Hell after death. Yes, I say to you this is the One to fear!” (Luke 12:4, 5)
This kind of fear, however, fear of the Lord, is actually good. This kind of fear is the Shield of Faith, obedience to God’s command that leads to wisdom, all working together to bless your life in the same way that proper fear can save your life, in a moment of danger. But there is another kind of fear that bears no hint of respect, obedience, or wisdom, but only terror, and that kind of fear is Satan’s most effective tool. It is the kind of fear that is harmful to the Kingdom of God, a form of fear that paralyzes the church, keeping us frozen in our pews, silent in the face of evil, failing in our charge to be salt and light in a world of darkness and corruption.
In 2 Timothy 1:6 – 9, the Apostle Paul reprises, “Therefore I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you, (that is the Holy Spirit), through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a Spirit of fearfulness, but One of power, love and sound judgment. So, don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord… Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying [always] on the power of God,
who has saved us and called us
with a Holy calling
not according to our works,
but according to His own
purpose and grace,
which was given to us
in Christ Jesus
before time began.”
Fear, as Satan uses it, distorts who we are by causing us to deny quench and grieve the Spirit of God and thus, we grieve God himself. Fear causes men to close and harden their hearts, eventually responding to fear by becoming fearsome, compensating by creating fear in others.
We worry about the enemies that surround us and close in on us. We become defensive, we arm ourselves and work ourselves up for violence and even war, but this is not the response that I find instructed for us in scripture. Look at the focal scripture in James 3. Where does it admonish us to take up arms, or turn to violence, or war? Where, in the Lord’s Sermon on The Mount do we receive such advice? Where in the gifts of the Spirit will I find the gift of vanquishing my enemies?
So how should we respond to the evil around us? What does the Bible teach us with regard to the threat of evil transgression? I refer you to Joshua 5:13 – 15 as only one of many examples of God’s way. In these verses Joshua is introduced to the “Commander of The Lord’s Army”, who has already chosen, in advance, those He intends to do battle for Him.(Joshua 1:12 – 15) In chapter 6, God gives Joshua and the people of Israel specific instruction on how to do battle with Jericho, everything required for victory. I have to believe He that will do the same for us today. In the mean time He calls us to be fearless, filled with the Holy Spirit, to show our works by good conduct, because, ” …wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Trust in the Lord, in His Holy Spirit, in His Commander of the Lord’s Army. Be at peace, and may the Lord bless your steps each and every day.