What Is the Opposite of Fear?

Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of rejection. Fear of losing.

Fear freezes the gears of our lives. We shut down, become immobile, stop advancing.

Fear causes us to remain silent when we should speak, to sit when we should stand, to settle for the comforts of today when we should work towards the glory of tomorrow.

Someone recently asked an audience, “What is the opposite of fear?” The general reply was “love,” as the Christians in the room knew 1 John 4.16-19:

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

Remember that one-talent man in Matthew 25.24-25? He hid his talent in the ground because he was fearful of what the master might do to him if he lost the money. Instead of taking some risks with it in order to work hard and increase the wealth of his master, he froze up and sat on the talent. The master became angry with that servant. God has no place for kingdom citizens who operate from a platform of fear. If he had loved his master and realized his master loved him, he would have felt free to do the master’s will.

However, fear has another opposite in Scripture.

When the waves tossed the disciples so badly they thought they would die, Jesus stilled the storm. Afterwards He chided, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark. 4.40).

Faith is the opposite of fear!

When we don’t enter difficult conversations because we don’t want our feelings hurt or we don’t want to lose our job or we don’t want pain, we fall victim to fear. When we don’t discipline our children because we don’t want to lose their friendship, we react out of fear. When we don’t tackle the addictions in our lives because we know it will cause pain and discomfort, our decisions are based out of fear. When we don’t speak the gospel to our neighbors because we don’t want them to think we are weirdos (who actually believes dead people can rise from the grave?), fear freezes our mouths.

The fact is, we don’t have enough FAITH to face these sins or these God-given tasks! What we need is an increased faith.

A distraught man once begged Jesus to cast a terrible demon out of his son “if You can do anything.” Jesus replied, “All things are possible for one who believes.” With gripping honesty, the man exclaimed, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark. 9.22-24)

I want to understand God’s love to the point that I don’t fear this world. I want a faith so strong that I know God undoubtedly loves me and is with me no matter what trial I face. I want a faith which walks through death’s door with great anticipation and conviction. I want a love and a faith that casts out fear.

Sermon: Holding Up Each Other’s Hands

From the life of Moses, three events clearly expose the leader’s need for help at different points in his life. How did God help Moses when he was fearful, weary, or overburdened?

AUDIO: Healing a Woman; Raising a Girl from the Dead

We recently enjoyed Mark 5.21-43, in which Jesus healed a woman who had endured a flow of blood for 12 years and raised a girl from the dead.

In this amazing series of events, Jesus shows His great compassion towards women, continues His habit of touching the unclean, and leads people to conquer their greatest fears! Enjoy.

Playing It Safe

Living or ExistingSome folks habitually “play it safe.” They won’t board an airplane. They won’t go overseas. They won’t step too far out of their comfort zone. In their minds, life is too precious to jeopardize it in such frivolous ways.

Jesus told a story in Luke 19.11-27 which included a man who played it safe. It’s the story of the ten minas (one mina was about three-months’ wages) which a nobleman distributed evenly among ten servants, telling them to “Engage in business until I return.” When he returned, the nobleman found several servants who had multiplied his money. But one fearful servant returned the single mina he’d been given, saying, “Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man.”

The nobleman-now-king took the mina away from him and gave it to another servant who had most-successfully multiplied his money. Everyone was dumbfounded that he would take away what little the one servant had and give it to the one who had the most, but he answered, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Safe!The fearful servant tried to play it safe, but too late he discovered he had done exactly the opposite. The king told him he should have at least put the money in the bank so it would have earned a little interest! Do SOMETHING, even if it’s small.

Fear freezes. We must not let fear control us to the point that we fail to DO SOMETHING. Everyone knows there is something wrong with the lady shut up in her house, refusing to come out because of her phobias. But many live that way, holding to their daily routines, their safe routes, their points of protection, their comfortable zones, and woe to the one who would nudge them off course!

Whole churches play it safe for years. Comfortable pew warmers smile, sit, chat, and go home. Did the preacher say something about helping the poor? Can we just write a check for that? Did someone encourage us to teach the gospel to our neighbor? Well, we have such a good relationship with the neighbor, it would be a shame to ruin it with talk about religion. The whole world around us is dissolving into an ethical and moral nightmare; are we content to watch it crash and burn and not speak the words of life necessary to fight against evil? We’ll complain amongst ourselves at the deterioration of society; then we’ll go home and allow Netflix to entertain us with the same filth we protest against.

Rock ClimbingMen play it safe by not addressing sin in their own lives, by not confessing sin to other faithful men who can support, pray, and help. We don’t address sin in our families for fear of straining relationships…yet the relationship is really strained because of the sin! We play it safe when we don’t stretch ourselves to grow in the talents and abilities God has given us to use for His glory.

We need to stop playing it safe. When the King returns, will He find us working to increase what He entrusted to us, or will He find us sitting on our couches, eating ice cream, and immersing ourselves in the world’s entertainment? I hate to admit I do way too much of what’s in that last sentence.

Jesus didn’t die so we could watch Netflix. Jesus didn’t die so we could play. Jesus didn’t die so we could increase our wealth. He died so we could have life and that we, in turn, could become life givers and producers in His kingdom!

Jesus didn’t play it safe…and He doesn’t want us to, either.