The Two Fears


While the knowledge and luxuries of this day and age are leaps and bounds beyond what people in past centuries experienced, many and varied fears still beset even the most privileged among us. Fear of financial hardship, fear of loneliness, fear of crime, fear of failure, fear of world instability, fear of death, fear of men, fear of women, fear of the opinions of our peers, fear of getting lost in the shuffle, fear of being forgotten, fear of letting go -- the list goes on.

But these are all the same fear. It is the fear that exists in the absence of a deep commitment to and faith in Christ. It is the fear that comes from the enemy of the Truth. It is the fear rooted in exaltation of Self, of Man.

Proverbs Chapter 29:

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Ah, but what of fear of God? The Bible speaks of the fear of God in many passages. It would seem there are two fears that may guide this fragile creature known as man. In our contemporary culture, the fear of God has all but lost its preeminence. The once oft-heard phrase "God-fearing" has dropped out of the lexicon.

The fear of God has become the one fear that today's people do not have. A person will readily proclaim his fear of anything from germs to large crowds, but he will in the same breath dismiss the "old-fashioned" fear of God.

Proverbs Chapter 19:
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
Franklin Roosevelt famously said in his first inaugural address in 1932: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He could just as easily have added: "And God first and foremost." For the fear of God is not so much fear with a little "F" -- a worldly fear -- but Fear with a big "F" -- a holy Fear. To fear God is to love Him and to submit to His will: "The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever." (Psalms 19:9) The fear of God is empowering; the fear of man is a life filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples when they were fishing by the Sea of Tiberias. All through the night up until Jesus' appearance, they caught no fish. Then Jesus instructed his disciples to cast their nets in an area where they had not tried. They obeyed, and "they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish." (John 21:6)

Many of us fear the path that God has created for us; we are afraid to cast our nets in untested waters. Yet one chooses to either fear the things of this world or fear the Creator of this world. One cannot do both.

David wrote in Psalm 23:
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.