Everyone has fears. Fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of the dark. We fear death because it always wins. We fear bosses because they regulate our income and we are afraid of not being able to pay our bills. We are afraid of the opinions of others. We fear the unknown and we fear the known. Fear rules many hearts and guides many decisions. Fear dominates many industries like insurance, the stock market, and war. (yes, war is an industry).
To have fear means you believe the thing you fear has power to hurt you. When we fear we abdicate victory. We do not fear what we rule or own or control. We fear cancer because we feel helpless and overwhelmed by its track record. Fear always appears larger and more powerful than reality. Fear weakens and paralyzes the heart. Fear clouds our thinking and limits our choices. Fear herds the fearful deftly into a high walled box canyon with no apparent way out. Fear torments your mind and stifles hope.
Fear vs Love
Fear is attached to and contained in and released by words. Words are used deliberately sometimes to manipulate and words are used sincerely with unintended consequences. Parents manipulate children through fear but children manipulate parents the same way. A company makes a general statement about their situation but the wording may allow fear to attack the hearts of the employees most affected by the statement. The fearful thoughts that invade your mind began in something else, somewhere else, as a thought which was released by words. You heard those words and believed them, and so now you fear. The things we fear have no power to hurt us unless we believe the words they say, or the thoughts they project, or the threat they represent. It all can be reduced to words. The things we fear have power over us because we gave them that power.
Understanding fear and being free from fear begins with realizing what it is not. If fear always leads to loss of control, loss of supply, loss of status, reduction in capability or freedom, or pain and death, what is the opposite idea? Something that never hurts you, never takes from you, never diminishes you. Something positive, something encouraging, something true and genuine and sincere. Since fear affects all of us, the opposite must be true too. The opposite to fear is love. I believe it can be expressed like this: fear is from Satan and love is from God. Satan cannot love anyone or anything. He is completely void of love. And God cannot use fear on anyone, because He has no fear to use! Satan’s tool is fear because it is his nature and character. God’s instrument is love because it is His nature and character. Look at this description of love from the Bible.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (AMP) 4) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. 5) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. 6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love is the opposite of fear. Fear gives the devil power to work in your life. Love gives the Lord Jesus Christ power to work in your life. Love always seeks the best for others. Love always adds to you and encourages you. Fear limits and controls but love causes increase and liberty. Fear binds you but love sets you free. Look at these verses that contrast fear and love. It will help you see the truth about the origins of both.
1 John 3:10 (NASB95) By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
If we do not have genuine sincere honest love for every human being, no matter their status or lifestyle, we are not acting in righteousness (God’s state of being-and the state we come into at salvation), and we are not acting for or like God. What is the other possible source of our attitude and perspective towards our fellow human being? (clue-not God!)
1 John 4:18 (NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
The Bible declares that God is love. Love is not just a characteristic of God. It is Who and what He is. God has mercy but He is love. God has wisdom and power, but He is love. All love comes from God, and all fear comes from Satan. They are two different fountains, two un-mixable streams from infinitely separated sources.
1 John 4:7–8 (NKJV) 7) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
People who do not express love well or often or consistently do not know Jesus Christ. To know the Lord is to love Him, for He is love! When we do not love others, it proves we are not connected to and flowing in the love of our Father. How do you treat others? How do you speak of government leaders? What about drug addicts and drug peddlers? We may not agree with their lifestyle but if we truly know the Lord personally, we will be more merciful, somewhat kinder and more patient, and more forgiving, about people who live differently than we do. God is the source of love. All those who trust and obey God walk in love to the best of their understanding according to the level of the living Word they know and live by. In other words, the more of God and His Word you know and live by, the more love is evident in your life.
1 John 4:16 (NKJV) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Everything God does is rooted in love. Everything He has ever done or ever will do flows out of His love. It is impossible for God to not love you. This means that all His words are in love. All His truth is bathed in love, rooted in love, and is always consistent with love. The Bible begins and ends with the love God has for His family. The doorway into understanding the Bible opens when you believe the love of God as He unfurls the story of His family.
How To Fear The Lord
What does this have to do with fearing the Lord? Without clear insight into fear and love you cannot understand what the Bible means when it tells us to fear the Lord. A common religious concept is that we must act in fear toward an unknown unknowable Supreme Being just like you would be afraid of a grizzly bear in the back seat of your car as drive to work. A primal rule of fear is to fear the unknown, so people who do not know God personally will fear Him in a fuzzy disconnected way, if they ever think of Him at all. But those who have a personal friendship with their Father, who spend time in intimate reciprocal communion with their Redeemer and Friend their Counselor and Lord, who have come into a deeper understanding of truth and grace, mercy and love, blessing and curse, cannot possibly fear God that way. Yet, we are commanded to fear the Lord!
Think of the one person on earth you love and trust more than anyone else. Your spouse? A parent? A childhood soul mate who is still your BFF? Honestly, are you afraid of him/her? Afraid like you would be if you saw a crocodile under your bed or a black widow spider on your forehead in the mirror? I think not. When we love and trust someone, we want to please them. We are considerate of their desires, what they like to do. We put them first and respect their wishes. We do not do things that are contrary to the parameters of our relationship. A man who truly loves his wife the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25) cannot possibly commit adultery! How can you do that to the lifelong covenant partner you love with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind? When a marriage is broken, or a business partnership dissolved, or a friendship fractures, it is always because the one did not actually LOVE the other.
The rules of fruitful enjoyable mutually beneficial profitable relationships are these. They apply to every possible human relationship.
1) Love suffers long
2) Love is kind
3) Love does not get jealous or envious
4) Love does not exalt itself
5) Love always values the other party more than itself
6) Love is not puffed up, or headstrong, or demanding
7) Love is never rude
8) Love is never selfish, never demands its own way, never self-seeking
9) Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful
10) Love takes no account of the evil done to it
11) Love pays no attention to a suffered wrong
12) Love does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness
13) Love bears up under anything and everything
14) Love believes the best of every person
15) Love hopes endlessly in all circumstances, no matter what
16) Love endures everything.
This is how the Lord Jesus Christ loves you. This is how the Father God loves every person on earth right now. This is how the precious Holy Spirit loves you no matter how you respond. Now you go and do likewise.
Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!
1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.
Say this prayer out loud.
Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without You. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!
If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.