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FEARFUL OR FEARLESS

God doesn't want us to be afraid - or does He? Paul told the young man Timothy "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Paul was speaking of his imprisonment and urging Timothy not to let such a situation make him afraid to do the Lord's work.

If you had to go to prison for living the Christian life, would you? "I'm afraid . .. who would take care of my children?" we might say. We might be afraid to lose our job, our reputation, or maybe even our life. But God says, "I didn't give you that fear!" Then who did?  Satan did!

Fear is a part of the enemy. Too often we find ourselves like Peter when he was afraid. He sank in the water (Matthew 14:30) and another time he separated himself from the Gentiles whom he ought to have embraced (Galatians 2:12). Fear will cause us to sink in sin and embrace the wrong things. It will also cause us to stay in sin believing we can cowardly hide instead of courageously turning back to God. Adam sinned and hid himself because- he was afraid (Genesis 3:10). The one-talent man never used his talent because of fear (Matthew 25:25). Saul couldn't face the giant be-cause he was afraid (1 Samuel 17:11). Fear paralyzes us from serving and sacrificing our life to God. Paul was pleading with Timothy to recognize God gives us power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

At the same time, there is a fear which we are to develop. It is the fear of God. This awesome respect and reverence for God is spoken of many times, but especially in Psalms (cf. 25:12; 115:11, 13; 146:11). David knew the importance of esteeming God in the highest. David was courageous for God against Goliath when all the other soldiers, including Saul, were afraid. He was fearful of the Lord almost all the time. Let's ask ourselves these questions. When was David afraid of God? Do you remember when he consulted the people instead of God when he had a cart built to move the ark? Uzza died and "David was afraid of God that day" (1 Chronicles 13:12). His fear stemmed from knowing he had disappointed God, but he was not exactly sure in what way. David then read the Law of Moses on how to move the ark and did so "as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 15:13-15). The point is, we ought to be very afraid when we realize we are not standing with God! We are to be fearless with God on our side and fearful if He isn't!

-David Shannon, Mt. Juliet Messenger
Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 10/March 2005
Page 3