1 John 4 : 18, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. NKJV
When you were a sinner out in the world did you take risks because you sought the thrill of doing something exhilarating? When you think of the foolish things that you once did as a sinner and how you could fly by the “seat of your pants” and didn’t take a second thought, doesn’t it make you shake your head and wonder how you made it? Even though many born again believers use to “live it up” while in the world as sinners, now that God has saved them from their careless ways, when the Lord asks us to obey Him we sometimes refuse because of fear.
What has changed in us now that we’re saved that we become so afraid that we sometimes disobey God because we fear what man might say or do? Satan had us blind to the pitfalls and the dangers of living in sin and now we have been enlightened to the dangers of both. There’s another explanation that gives us an even deeper understanding about the fear we face as Christians when stepping out. As carnal humans we have lived our entire trusting in our senses and not in God but when we became born again, God required us to forsake our senses and trust in Him to lead our steps. Now we are out of control and must listen diligently to God’s voice and trust that He won’t lead us astray. It’s very challenging to trust in someone whom you can’t see and to listen to His directions when we’ve been conditioned by the hurts of the world not to trust anyone.
This is what the Apostle John is addressing in today’s scripture. Even though we were once owned by the spirit of fear when we were lost, we had no fear of the Lord. Now that we fear the Lord we also realize that wrong actions produce harsh consequences. Now we have to overcome the fear of man and learn how to develop a healthy fear of the Lord. Moses tells us in Exodus 20 that the fear of the Lord will keep us from sin. The fear of man, which is really self-preservation or self-protection, can cause us to disobey God and this must be defeated through our faith in Christ.
God has given every person the measure of faith that empowers us to overcome the spirit of fear. We must face our fears through obedience to the Lord’s commands and as we practice this principle, we are at the same time perfecting love in our heart and casting the fear out of our heart. Have you ever heard the old saying, “Can’t never could and won’t never will?” It’s bad grammar but it gets the point across. If we allow fear to hold us in bondage so that we never obey the Lord then love won’t be developed in our hearts. Job tells us in his writings that the thing he GREATLY feared had come upon him. God will allow us to face the very thing that we fear the most which holds us back, to show us that He is still God and Lord over our lives, in spite of what we fear.
The flesh nature or self will cause us as humans to react in fear when God commands us to step out in faith and we will have to make a decision to either trust Him or draw back in fear and unbelief. If we choose to draw back in unbelief God has said that His soul will have no pleasure in us.
Another way to look at this dilemma is to see fear as a way of self-protection or preservation. Jesus tells us in the gospel of Matthew that if anyone loves his life, he shall lose it but if we lose our life for Christ’s sake then we will find it. God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear but has instead given us His Holy Spirit who gives us power, love and a sound mind. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commands.” Show fear who’s boss of your life by obeying God in the area that you’re most afraid.
Trusting in God’s love,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery