The Bible has a lot to say when it comes to fear. We can find hundreds of instances of fear in the Word of God. However, by carefully examining the scriptures, we find that not all fear is the same. In fact, there are two types of fear that the Bible specifically talks about.
The first kind of fear that we find in the Bible is the fear of God; the second is the fear of everything else—objects, emotions, creatures, people or ideas. The first kind of fear, the fear of God, is beneficial to us. The Bible encourages us to fear the Lord. This is because the fear of the Lord brings many benefits and blessings to us Christians. The Bible says that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) and such wisdom can help us live an abundant life.
Fear of the Lord
When we say fear of the Lord, it doesn’t mean a “servile fear”, wherein we act as fearful prisoners being tortured by a captor. What we experience is “filial fear”. Filial fear is like the fear of a son or a child who truly loves his father and does not want to let him down or offend him in any way. Our fear of the Lord should be born out of respect. Such fear is born of awe, reverence, and adoration. The fear of the Lord is also a form of respect of the highest magnitude. This type of fear doesn’t mean that we need to be scared of the Lord. When we fear the Lord, we exhibit reverential awe of Him. We stand in total awe of God’s power and glory. Furthermore, it also means that we have proper respect for God’s wrath and anger. This kind of fear is good, and the only way for us to correctly fear the Lord is to know Him more. Knowing God and His attributes develop our fear in Him. For us to know more about God, we need to read the Bible.
Fear of the World
The second kind of fear that the Word of God speaks of relates to our desire to control the people, world, and situations around us. We fear that we might lose something, like our family, jobs, health, prestige, money, or reputation. This kind of fear is unhealthy. Christians must ensure that they avoid this kind of fear. Many people who have this fear are manipulative, because they want to control every detail of their lives, so they become selfish. You don’t want this kind of fear, as it pulls you away from God. It can cloud your judgment and blind you from spiritual blessings. At times, our fears in life become so big that we forget about God and His promises.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power and of love and of a sound mind (For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7). Fear of life and the world is discouraged by God, as this fear makes us forget that joy, peace, rest, and contentment is found in Jesus Christ. Let us encourage one another to fear the Lord instead of anything else. In Proverbs 14:27, we read that the “Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.” (NLT)
Joy in Fear
Remember that God is love, and perfect love drives out fear (There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18). The Bible encourages us not to dwell in the “spirit of fear”. In Isaiah 41:10, God told us to “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) Fearing life and the future is not good; as Christians, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus cares for us. He cared for the birds and other creatures, how much more us His children? Jesus said that we are “worth more than many sparrows”. (Matthew 10:31 NIV).
Let us begin fearing the Lord and not man and the world. Remember what the Psalmist says in Psalm 56:11, “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Trusting God, regardless of our circumstances, is very important. There is no better way for us to overcome fear than total and complete surrender to God. God is powerful enough to turn our darkest hours into beautiful days. By learning how to fear and trust God, we will no longer be afraid of the things that rise against us. Always remember that whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge (In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:26). The fear of the Lord leads to life; anyone who has it rests satisfied (The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. Proverbs 19:23). If you want to be more joyful, it is time for you to praise God and fear Him.