Fear can be debilitating. Fear can paralyze. We have all faced fears in the past. Some healthy, some not so healthy. Most of us learned at an early age to “fear” the burners on the kitchen stove – that’s a healthy fear. Fear of the dark, however, though real to many, is not a healthy fear. For the person struggling with a fear of the dark, or any type of unhealthy fear, God wants to remove the root of the fear and associated phobia.
Years ago, our church was handing out free turkeys to the needy before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Some of our youth were dressed as clowns, to entertain the children of families who had come. I was in the serving line giving away frozen turkeys and food, when a middle-aged woman came before me to receive her turkey; she was shaking and trembling. I asked her what was wrong. She said, “I’m afraid of clowns. When I was five years old I was terribly frightened by a clown. I’ve been afraid of them ever since.” For this woman, her fear of clowns was real and was paralyzing her at this moment. I prayed with her, led her through some forgiveness and ministry to the trauma, and she received healing and freedom from her fear of clowns! She was able to hug our two youth dressed as clowns without any more fear or trembling. Fear can be real and debilitating for many. But, in Christ, we don’t have to live in fear.
John tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 (CEB) The believer in Christ does not have to fear God nor circumstances in life. Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her (Eph. 5:25), His love frees and drives away fear. We are secure in His love, adopted, no longer spiritual orphans with no security in this life.
Jesus is the way, the Father is the destination. The fullness of love and the freedom from fear it brings is found in the Father’s embrace. God’s deepest desire is to draw each of us near, to be secure in His love, as children who are cared for and secure. He is the Father many of us never had. God’s love is self-giving, unconditional, and pure.
The enemy thrives on crippling God’s people with worry and fear. We live in a world filled with fear. Fear of lack and poverty, fear of economic collapse, fear of terrorism and war, fear of sickness and disease, etc. For many Christians, fear of the “end times” has even gripped them. Yet, God’s word tells us not to fear, not to worry, but to trust Him in all things. Paul told young Timothy, who was the overseer of the church at Ephesus during a time of persecution of the church, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Tim. 1:7 (NLT)
Our revelation of the Father’s love and the security of His love for us will determine if we are free of fear or debilitated by it. As Paul tells the Roman Christians, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Rom. 8:38 (NLT)