Years ago, I was on a weekend trip with a group of friends at a place called Greenwood Lake. One night, a few of us decided to go to a drive-in movie. The movie playing was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not exactly an edifying movie, but that’s what was playing (and I didn’t really know the Lord yet) so we went to see it. Later that night, when we were back at the house where we were staying, the entire group was engaged in a lively game of Charades when, all of a sudden, we heard the sound of a chainsaw start outside the house. The reactions of the group varied from crying, running into the bathroom and locking the door, and even laughing. My reaction? I sat there, paralyzed with fear, muttering, “Oh, God, oh, God…”
Fear is an emotion that is aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain. It can exist whether the threat is real or it lies in the imagination of the person experiencing the fear. All of us likely have experienced fear at some time in our lives. Our fear may be caused by the unknown, by past experience, or it may just be a phobia of some sort, such as fear of a certain type of animal or fear of the dark. Fear can be crippling. It can cause physical illness. And it can prevent us from doing things that we need to do. For those of us who are followers of Christ, fear can keep us from stepping into the plans God has for us, the calling He has on our lives. So, what does the Bible say about fear?
When the Israelites were hesitant to cross over to the Promised Land in fear of the enemies who resided there, Moses reminded them that God was with them, that He would go before them, that He would not fail them or forsake them. He told them that God would deliver their enemies into their hands (Deuteronomy 31:5-6). In Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB), Moses said, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” This is just one instance where God reminded His people that, with Him beside them, they should not be afraid.
Jesus taught that we, His flock, should not be afraid. Why? Because our Father in heaven has chosen to give us His kingdom as an inheritance (Luke 12:32). Rather than fear, rather than worry, Jesus taught that we should seek God’s kingdom first. When we do, the things we worry about, the things we need but are afraid we can’t obtain, will be given to us (Luke 12:29-31). In 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT), Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” God has given us His Spirit, and it is through His Spirit that we are able to overcome our fears. And when we are able to overcome our fears, we can step into all that God has for us and serve Him without hesitation.
Oh, by the way, you may be wondering about what exactly happened in my chainsaw experience. Earlier that day, we had met a guy who was from Queens, NY, where all of us were from and told him that we were going to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that night. As a joke, he and his friends decided to come by the house where we were staying and scare us by starting up that chainsaw. So, our fears were unfounded but, man, did they feel real!
God does not want us to be afraid. We need to remember the words of Romans 8:31 (NLT): “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
So, what are you afraid of?
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.