“Are you afraid?” This is a really loaded question, and it’s possible that the quantity of fear you have might depend on what’s happening in your life at this moment. For myself, there have been seasons in my life where I was more fearful. These seasons would include: scared that my kids would get hurt, fear about the future, frightened about a difficult situation and lots more.
I think that all of us have varying base levels of fear in our lives, and some of us are more prone to fear than others. To be sure, I think it’s good to have a little bit of basic fear so that we have a reasonable perspective on the frail nature of our existence and the reality that we are not bullet-proof. As an example, based on the concussion that I had from snowboarding some years ago, I now have a healthy outlook that I’m not invincible. Having some fear related to my physical frailty isn’t a bad thing for me as I’m now in my early 50’s. And it’s also good to have the fear of the Lord which is spoken about a lot in Proverbs.
With that said, when I think about fear in relation to various people in the Bible, I’m reminded of Saul in 1 Samuel and what seems to be his continual default to fear. I say this because there are almost ten occasions in 1 Samuel where Saul is scared, or the people around him are scared. This is noteworthy because fear can be contagious. If you have a bend toward fear, then you might find yourself most comfortable in the company of fearful people and very uncomfortable around people whom you might consider to be foolish or imprudent.
It’s also significant to notice that the pivot point for Saul as Israel’s king happened around fear.
In 1 Samuel 15:24-26, we read:
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. 25. “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26. But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (emphasis added)
These verses reference Saul’s disobedience to God’s instructions to annihilate a particular enemy. Rather than obey God, Saul chose fear, and it was a tragic turning point in his life. To Saul’s credit, he recognized that fear made him chose to disobey God.
So what could this mean for us? I think we would be wise to ask ourselves some important questions to consider the possibility that fear might be too much of a controlling influence in our lives. To think about the fear quotient in your life, ask yourself some questions such as:
- Does the “worst-case scenario” control your decisions?
- Does “wisdom and prudence” masquerade or justify fear in your thinking?
- Are you afraid of failure? People? Making mistakes? Being wrong? Someone else’s opinion of you? What are you honestly afraid of?
If you come to realize that fear is too powerful in your life, consider memorizing a few Bible verses as a counterweight to the domination of fear:
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
1 John 4:18a, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, . . . .”
Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
I pray that as your finish this blog, God helps you to grow in peace and genuine love so that fear doesn’t control your life! If you know someone who struggles with fear, feel free to send that person the link to this blog!