Why is it that we tolerate fear in our lives?
The Bible uses the word ‘fear’ in two distinctly different ways. The first refers to a reverence for, and a respect of, God. It is used in phrases about fearing God, or the fear of the Lord – this is the good type of fear. The second way that the Bible uses the word ‘fear’ is the way that we use the word, to mean to be afraid of something – this is the bad type of fear. The phrase “fear not” appears 63 times in the King James Version – God does not want us to be afraid. So why is it that we tolerate fear in our lives? Why is it that some of us, as Christians, even invite fear in?
We flicked through the channels and often watched a horror movie.
I used to enjoy watching horror movies. It was a common occurrence after attending the church youth group, to go back to the house of someone who’s parents had a big lounge and satellite TV. We flicked through the channels and often watched a horror movie, usually something along the lines of ‘Friday the 13th’ or ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’. We were always watchful to steer clear of anything that was obviously satanic or occult orientated, but did not see a problem with these other types of horror movie. Some of you who are reading this may have never even considered watching a horror movie, whereas others may not see it as being a problem, provided that there are no obvious side effects, such as a fear of the dark or nightmares. Over time (long after I had grown past the age for the youth group and had gotten married), God showed me that fear is behind all of these movies – which may be obvious to some, but not to others. For me, I needed the revelation that fear is never good, and that whilst the movies did not have any obvious effect on me, their main aim is to produce the sensation of fear and should therefore be avoided.
Fear has no place in the life of a Christian.
As a result I went through my DVD collection and threw away many movies. Some were very obvious, but I was also prompted by the Holy Spirit to remove films such as Jaws, which may not necessarily fall into the category of horror movie, but is nonetheless firmly rooted in fear. I am not saying that anything that has a element of fear is bad. If you watch something about David and Goliath, part of the story involves the Israelites being terrified of Goliath. What I am saying, is that fear has no place in the life of a Christian and we should allow the Holy Spirit to show us where we may have given fear a way into our lives through what we watch. This is not about stopping your enjoyment of movies, it is about being diligent to slam shut the doors that give Satan access to our lives. There are plenty of things that you can watch, that do not use fear as the primary base for entertainment. But anything that is centred around fear is a wide open door for the devil to come in. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind“. God has not given us the spirit of fear, and we should not be giving the spirit of fear easy access into our lives. Don’t get offended or defensive about this, be obedient to God and if you need to remove some things from your life – then do it.
Christians are not supposed to be normal!
But what about the more subtle ways that fear attempts to get into our lives. Satan knows that fear tolerated is faith contaminated, which is why fear is one of his favourite tactics. There are many situations where fear is a natural or normal reaction. But Christians are not supposed to be normal! We are a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9), we are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). In John 17:17 Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified, or set apart. Just because certain situations produce fear in those around us does not mean that they should produce fear in us. We must be watchful to recognise fear and to refuse to give it place. James 4:7 says that if we resist the devil he will flee from us and the same is true for fear. If we refuse to fear, in some cases actually saying out loud, “I refuse to fear!”, then that oppressive feeling that fear produces, will have no option but to flee from us. The revelation that God loves us, desires the best for us and has promised to protect both us and our families, if we will trust Him, should be enough to stop fear in its tracks. If God is on our side (and He is), then what do we have to be afraid of? As Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?“
We must have a zero tolerance policy towards fear.
In Luke chapter 8, when the servant arrived to inform Jairus that his daughter was dead, Jesus immediately told him not to fear. Jesus knew that if Jairus allowed fear to take root in his heart, his faith, with which he had come to Jesus, would be gone. There is no situation in the life of a Christian, where fear is an acceptable response – we must have a zero tolerance policy towards fear. Make a determined decision that your days of fear are over, then confess it out loud, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, so I refuse to fear. My days of fear are over – for good“. Every time fear rears it’s ugly head, every time you sense those dark, oppressive clouds gathering, look fear in the eye and say “Fear, get out of my life in the Name of Jesus“. If all you can manage is to just say “Jesus” (in faith), that is enough. Fear will run away with it’s tail between it’s legs.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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