“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, Saturday, March 4, 1933
Fear is a complicated emotion. While we slip into it effortlessly we struggle to leave it behind. It is an emotion that protects us as much as it causes us harm. We need fear to be safe, yet when we allow fear to dominate, we create a new danger.
Fear changes our brain; it opens sensory memory and floods the workbench, impeding learning. When the brain is in this state it gives the body signals that heighten our awareness and make us feel nervous and jumpy. When we are in this state, we are good at making quick life-saving decisions, but not carefully thought out judgements. This mental state hinders our ability to trust in God because we are focused on ourselves. Oddly enough, our fear turns our trust in the wrong direction and fools us into thinking we can handle things on our own.
Fear is a useful emotion that turns bad when mixed with sin.The only way to tackle a mixture of fear and sin is to fear boldly.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You and worked for those who take refuge in You, in the sight of the children of mankind! Psalm 31:19
To fear boldly is to fear God. We have seen His power and know that God is infinitely bigger than anything we might fear. The remedy for fear is to direct our thoughts to the One who deserves to be feared; the One who turns fear into peace.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify Him,
and stand in awe of Him, all you offspring of Israel! Psalm 22:23
To fear boldly is to praise God. Read scriptures and be reminded of all that God has done for His people. Sing your favorite hymns and let the gospel message work its way into your heart, nudging fear out of the seat it occupies.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, Psalm 33:18
To fear boldly is to look toward God. We do not need to deny what is causing us to fear because that is only a different kind of fear. When we see God behind that fear, we remember God’s power, steadfast love, and mercy. This gives us the courage to do what keeps us safe, and to refrain from dwelling in our fear.
Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose. Psalm 25:12
To fear boldly is to ask God what He would have you do. Read through the Psalms. Study one a day, reading it over several times. God will work lessons into your being that will drive out fear and encourage you to serve.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:11
To fear boldly is to serve God. Turn your heart away from fear and toward the people God has placed in your life. Can you offer comfort? Is there a way to provide help? When we serve others, we reduce our anxiety because our focus is in the direction away from our fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. I John 4:8a
To fear boldly is to know God’s perfect love. God’s power, like His plan for our Salvation, never fades. Fear grabs hold of us and tries to turn our trust in God into a makeshift belief in ourselves. The truth is that we are never able to save ourselves – not from the fears of the world and certainly not from our sin. God is perfect love that casts out fear, casts out worry, casts out the sin. And there is no fear found in that perfect love.