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.