Greek word "phobos" which we get in English as "phobia" meaning Fear. The literal meaning of fear is to be afraid of or anxious about something. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger. In Bible two types of threat is mentioned, fear of God and worldly fear, which includes fear of losing someone in your life, fear of losing God's blessings, fear of enemy, fear of situation etc.
Fear I think, is the greatest enemy of man that can come between him and God.Therefore, throughout the Bible, beginning from the book of Genesis and continuing throughtout the book of Revelation, God reminds us to "FEAR NOT."
For example Isaiah 41:10 encourages us, "Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Often we fear the future, thinking what will become of us and forget God's words, His promises and sometimes even God.
Let us see what the Bible says about fear.
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear,do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you, He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand" and says to you, "Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13
"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed, neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame." Isaiah 54:4
"Therefore, do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known."
For He himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
So we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6
"Who is going to harm you, if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened." 1Peter 3:13-14
Even Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds in the air, so how much more will He provide for His children. "So don't be afraid, you are worth much more than many sparrows."
All these verses cover many different types of fears. God tells us not to be afraid of being alone, of being weak, of not being heard and of lacking worldly things. These admonishments continue throughout Bible, covering many different aspects of the spirit of fear.
But the truth is this that God has not given us these fears or the spirit of fear. He has given us all a spirit of fearlessness.
"For God has not given you a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power, and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
A spirit of fearlessness and timidity doesnot come from God. However, sometimes we are afraid, sometimes the spirit of fear overcomes us and to overcome it, all we need to do is to trust God completely.
In Psalm 56:11, David writes, "In God I trust, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?" An awesome testimony to the power of trusting in God. Regardless of what happens, he trusts in God because he knows and understands the power of God. The key of overcoming fear then is total and complete trust in God. Trusting God is the only way to give in to fear. It is believing in God even in the darkness times and trusting Him to make things right. This trust comes from knowing God and knowing that He is Good.
As Job said when he was experiencing some of the most difficult trials recorded in the Bible," Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Job 13:15
Once we have learned to put our trust in God, we will no longer be afraid of the things that come our against us. We will be like David who said with confidence ," Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You." Psalm 5:11
I find this verse to be very heart touching.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not in perfect love." 1 John 4:18
We often say that we love God but is our love, fit to be called perfect love? Perfect love comes when we trust blindly in God without having any sort of fears in our hearts. We can either have God or fears in our hearts.
If we have fears or a spirit of fear then it can be removed completely by turning our fears and doubts to questions, questions to prayers and prayers to God. First we have to acknowledge that fear is too strong for us, so only God can handle it. We have to turn our fears over to Him, remembering that He is all-power, all-knowing, and all-control. Secondly we have to replace a bad habit -fear thoughts with a good habit namely prayer and confidence in God. We may be able to switch thoughts with lighting speed but we can't think of two things at once. If we are praying and thanking God for His help, we can't be thinking about fear at the same time.
"FEAR IS A LIFE LONG BATTLE, BUT GOD IS OUR LIFE LONG PROTECTOR." He promised never to abandon us or to forsake us. We are secure in love and salvation, nothing can snatch us away from Him,not even death. By holding tightly to God, no matter what, we will make it through, inspite of fear. If God is with us we can conquer fear.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"
(The author is member of Pakistan Christian Congress and leader of Church group in Karachi)