“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). What a passage of scripture- what a promise from God! Fear is common to humanity; it’s a reality of life in this world. Yet God’s word repeatedly admonishes against fear, encourages us to not be fearful, assures us that we need not fear, as long as we walk faithfully with God.
In Isaiah’s text God gives the instruction “fear not” followed by the assurance “for I am with you.” He further exhorts “be not dismayed” followed by the simple reasoning “for I am your God.” He then lays out a three-fold promise of assistance- “I will strengthen you…I will help you…I will uphold you…” With such promises from God one might logically reason that there is no reason for us to fear. Yet, as already noted, fear is an emotion that is familiar all of us.
We experience all kinds of fears- fear of danger, pain, suffering, failure, rejection, losing our job, fear for our family’s well being, fear of economic collapse and on and on goes the list. Truth is, most of the things over which we experience fear probably never happen. But we fear for them anyway.
Perhaps our greatest fear is fear of dying! The great unknown. Yet even in the face of physical death Jesus exhorts us “Let not your heart be troubled” and “neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14:1-2, 27). It is appointed by God that we will die and, after death, face the judgment (Heb. 9:27). If we are saved in Christ we need not fear death (Rom. 8:1). If we live faithfully before Him we’re assured of a “crown of life,” which is descriptive of eternal life in Heaven (Rev. 2:10). Why, then, do we still fear death?
The reasons for most all of our fears may well be listed under two main headings:
1) Lack Of Faith In God and 2) Lack Of Faithfulness in our daily lives. A big part of faith is trust. Do we trust God to keep His promises to be with us, to strengthen, help and uphold us? One of our big fears, if we’re trying to walk with God, is fear of temptation. Yet, once again, God has promised to be there to help us overcome whatever temptations the devil might throw at us (1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Pet. 2:9). We’re assured that our faith can serve as an effective shield that can “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6:16). Of course, faith in God is key to being able to stand on God’s promises.
Perhaps our greater fear is that we’re not living faithfully before God. In order to truly walk with God, we have to “resist the devil” (Jas. 4:7-8). That means we have to actively, determinedly turn away from sin. We have to not only profess faith in God, but we have to live a life that demonstrates faith in God. That means faithfulness to Him, exhibited by our obedience to His teachings (Eccl. 12:13; 1 Jn. 5:3). Key to obedience is our repentance from sin (Acts 3:19). We realize that “the wages of sin is death…” If we also realize that we’re living a sinful lifestyle, then we know we have reason to fear. The answer is to turn away from sin and walk in obedience to God.
When we truly have faith in God and we also live faithfully before Him, then we’ll be better able, as we live each day, to “Fear not…”
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Gary L. Hutchens