The most common emotion in the lives of human beings is fear. Fear, by definition, is a response that seeks to avoid threatening danger. Fear is our reaction when danger threatens. Irrational fear (fear that goes beyond the scope of common sense) are sometimes called “phobias”
Two basic fears are already present at the time of birth. One is fear of loud noises; the other is fear of falling. Even a very small child has those fears built into the bodily constitution. And then as we grow older, we begin to have many additional fears. Phobias are common to all people. Psychologists name more than 200 of them – each of them having a technical name. There is “acrophobia” – fear of high places; another called “ claustrophobia“ – fear of closed places; there are fears of the dark, fear of dirt, and decease, even the fear of number 13 and black cats, many fears are really superstitions, but all phobias are very real to those who fear.
The Far Reaching Effects Of Fear
Wrong kinds of fear can produce effects. Scientists do experiments with animals. For ex, they feed cats some barium sulfate and then watch the muscle waves in the stomach as the food is mixed and the process of digestion takes place. The muscle waves are even and smooth. But if a dog is brought into the room, immediately something happens. All the smooth even muscle waves in the cat’s stomach become pulsating ripples, and the digestive processes are upset. Fear can produce paleness of skin, rapid heartbeat, an upset stomach, and nervousness. It can cause high blood pressure and arthritis, and intense fear can even lead to blindness. This does not mean that everyone suffering from these physical problems is a victim of fear (and lacks true faith), but fear can be the springboard (the starting point) for many physical ailments.
The physical effects of fear can be serious and devastating, but it is far more serious to realize what fear can do to our spiritual condition. Fear can lead to instability, unhappiness, and a lack of contentment. It is the enemy of faith. It’s saps spiritual vitality and it can paralyze the soul.
Imagine if their were two lions blocking the path to a heavenly city. The lions are ready to tear anyone to shreds should anyone come their way. A Christian who is traveling on that path toward the city grows increasingly fearful, but slowly presses on. As they get closer to the lions, they discover that the lions only growl. God has the lions changed, and the Christian passes between them unharmed. Faith has many enemies, but one of the greatest enemies of faith is fear.
The Principle Kinds Of Fear
A careful study of the Scriptures indicates that there are several kinds of fear. There are several Hebrew words (in the Old Testament) that are translated “fear.” And in the New Testament, there are several Greek words which are sometimes translated “fear.” In summary, there are three basic kinds of fear.
- Reverential Fear. Which is a holy fear. It is really an awe and respect for the majesty and holiness of God. It is a godly reverence. Reverential fear is an awe for the Heavenly Father. It is a fear of displeasing God.
Reverential fear is a good kind of fear. It is always right. David speaks of this fear as being clean and pure (Psalm 19:9). The writer of Proverbs says that godly fear is the beginning of true wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). It is this kind of fear the enables human beings to respect God’s authority and to obey His commands. Psalm 2:11 says, “Serve the Lord with fear,and rejoice with trembling “ Proverbs 16:6 says that “by the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil.” Therefore if someone says “You should fear the Lord?” This is what their speaking of.
In Hebrews 5:7 we read that Jesus was feared. The scripture says, “Who in the days of His flesh, when He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears… was heard, in that He feared.” The Bible says that Jesus Prayed fervently because He feared. But in the word that word means “reverence.” Jesus was heard because He had reverence for God. We too (in Hebrews 12:28) are admonished to “serve God with reverence and godly fear.” This is not the fear of the cringing coward, but the fear of reverence.
- Constitutional Fear. This is the fear that is necessary for the perforation of the human race. Constitutional fear is a normal God-given emotion. God has built into each one of us and instinctive alarm system which is designed to protect us from harm – from drunken drivers, rattlesnakes, hardened criminals, and fierce storms. These are normal fears which are necessary for our protection, and for the preservation of life. There is nothing wrong with holding these fears.
A preacher was 10 minutes late for a preaching appointment. He apologized to the audience and explain that he got into traffic but we’re heavier than usual. He said, “I simply decided after a long period of frustration, that it would be better could be 10 minutes late in this world then he’ll be several years early in the next world – and so I drive carefully.” That was a constitutional fear. The preachers fear of an accident helped him exercise proper caution. This is a normal God-given emotion and very nothing wrong with it.
Fear is one of the greatest teachers in the world. Fear of sickness often causes people to practice good healthy habits. Fear sometimes causes students to prepare well for final exams. We are cautious drivers to drive cautiously on the snow-covered highway. We teach children who fear somethings. We warn them about hazardous traffic, hot stoves and high places. These are proper kinds of fear. There is a limit of course. Some parents go beyond the boundaries of a reasonable limit, And as a result, there are children who are horrified at the side of a spider, and may become almost hysterical, because one or both of their parents have reacted that way.
Constitutional fears or God-given emotions that are designed to protect us from harm. A young boy got a job in the zoo, and the keeper told him one day we go into the wind cage and clean it out. The young man said, ” No sir, boss, i’m ain’t goin into no lions cage and clean it out.” The Keeper told him it was he would have to go in and do the job, and then he added, “ after all, that lion is a teen lion and he won’t hurt you.” The boy thought for a moment, and sad, “That may be so – he might not hurt me – but he could make me hurt myself.” The keeper said, “Come on – call write on it, just Lion with race on milk.” The young man thought a moment again and said, “ I was raised on milk too, but I eat meat now!”
Young man described above was a good thinker. You see – Fear is a wonderful protection from harm.
- Carnal Fear. Carnal fear is a senseless dread and nagging anxiety. This is a fear that is always evil. It is a craven and a base kind of fear. This. Greek word carries with it the idea of an unhealthy destructive kind of dread. Many examples of carnal fear are found in the Bible:
It is a fear expect by Adam when he had sinned. Adam ran and hid himself, and when he was asked why he was hiding, he said “ because I was afraid” (Genesis 5:10).
It is this kind of fear expressed I was children of Israel when Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the rebellious people to leave Kadesh-Barnes and go on up into Canaan. In Numbers 14:9 The Israelites were told not “fear the people of the land” because their protection was gone. The Lord promise to be with Israel.
It is the kind of fear expressed by Felix after he had heard the apostle Paul Preach about righteousness and temperance, and judgement to come (Acts 24:25). The Bible says Felix was afraid and said, “When I have a convenience season, I will call for thee.”
Arnold beer is the kind of slavish dread which causes one to be unduly afraid of death. One French movie personality said, “At time I wake up in the middle of the night, and my hair stand on end when I think I am going to die someday.” The writer of Hebrews speaks of those who “through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).
Down through the ages, Death has been a source of fear. One of the reasons people fear death it’s because of the fear of loneliness. God created us with a built-in need for love and companionship. Most normal people do not desire to be hermits. Solitary confinement can drive a person insane.We all cry out for the comfort of another person’s voice in that bracing grip of another person’s hand. We like fellowship with others. Even people who are shy and backwards in nature, are glad we’re friends. But what could be more lonely than death? A preacher is talking with his little son dying of a dreaded disease. The little guy looked up into his father’s face and said, “ daddy – am I going to die?” The broken heart with trembling lips, the father said, “ yes son – the Doctor says so; are you afraid?” The child said, “No,, i’m not afraid, but I wish someone could go along with me.”
Part of the fear of death lives right here. When we breathe our last breath, and when we close our eyes for the last time on the things of earth – we slip out into the future- seemingly alone. Loved ones at stand by our bedsides. They can stay there until the very end, but they cannot go beyond the veil of death. However, for the Christian, the loneliness of death is not what it seems! We are alone – yet not alone! Jesus is with us in the hour of death! He promised not to forsake us. In Psalms the scripture says, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”No I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). When we come to the valley of death, we will find our good shepherd is with us still.
These have been kind of fear: The reverential awe which inquiring just you OK God’s commands; The constitutional fear which causes us to be careful about giving particularly dangerous thing; and those carnal fears which rob our piece of mind and cripple are usefulness and spoil our normal healthy living. Carnal fears include fears that we might become ill with cancer, or that one day our children might become crippled for life, or that the enemies nation’s might destroy our country. These unwholesome kinds of fear can cause people to live in a constant state of anxiety in misery. These fears are really the result of unbelief in the fatherly care of our creator. And so there are right kind of fear and the wrong kind of fear. Fear can be good, but it also can be evil.
The word “fear” Can we use either way in the Bible. Whether it is good fear or a bad kind of fear it’s often determined by just setting in which they were used. In 1 Peter 2:17, we read, “ honor all men; Love the brotherhood (and sisterhood); fear God.” Fear in that sense is used in a good sense. It is the godly, reverential fear. The Bible also says perfect love casts out fear. And that burst into using the bad sense. Perfect love does not pass out all fear- constitutional fears nor reverential fear – But the unwholesome and carnal crimes of fear artist filled by the true love of the Lord.
The Remedy For Conquering Fear
We sometimes fall victim to fear either because we lack knowledge of God’s promises in the Bible, or because we lack faith to believe that those promises are true.
We can conquer fear by learning the power of love.
Our remedy of overcoming the wrong kind of fear, is true love for God. A fearful child loses fear when he nestled in his mother’s arms. We are not afraid to fall asleep if we are surrounded by those who love us. Just so, when a person loves God, and have faith in him as a controller of the universe, he does not need to be a slave of superstition and fear.
There are all kinds of abnormal fears that can grip us.There is a fear of nuclear war, fear of being attacked by a criminal, fear of losing a job, but want to be hauled to the fact that God is our concerned father. One who sincerely cares for us and loves us, our lives can be swept clean from harmful fears.