By | 1 Dec 2023
woman showing fear photo

Ever since the Rebellion in Eden, God has spoken through His Word a single, consistent message to scads of people over several millennia: “Don’t be afraid!” This command is recorded hundreds of times in Scripture. Someone claims to have accurately counted 365 such verses. This means we literally have 1 for each day of the year.

This seems also to be the single hardest command for mankind to assimilate and obey. While some may contest that claim, stating that idolatry is the hardest. Actually we’d both be right! Why can I say this? Because we worship whatever we fear (more on that later!).

Afraid human hiding behind the dark board. Monochrome photo. Film noir effect addedFrom my perspective, I can see basically 4 categories or types of fear:

  1. Fear of imminent danger
  2. Fear of the unknown
  3. Fear of man
  4. Fear of God

Let’s address each of them in turn and see what God’s Word has to say about them.

Fear of Imminent Danger

This is the natural emotion which we feel when a criminal comes along and sticks a gun in our face, or a drunk swerves from the opposing lane into ours, and all other such occasions where our life is somehow threatened. Sometimes a threat lacks the presence of a human agent such as an animal attack, a natural disaster, or similar events. But regardless of how that danger presents itself (real or imagined), we occasionally perceive a threat of immediate grievous bodily harm to ourselves, our loved ones, and/or to a lesser extent the loss of our property and the aftermath of such a loss.

This kind of fear is the inevitable reaction.

Psychologists and physiologists call this type of fear the “fight, flight, or freeze” emotion. In other words, our immediate physical and mental reaction to an imminent threat will see us either getting angry and fighting back with abandon, running in terror for our lives, or being paralyzed into inaction like a deer caught in the headlights.

This kind of fear is absolutely normal. From the moment of Adam and Eve’s Rebellion in Eden, God somehow rewired us with that capability. Lizard-brain fear is actually a gift from God — a blessing, if you will — because, out of His love for His highest creation, it’s designed to keep us alive and undamaged instead of crippled or pushing up daisies.

Such fear causes us to take safety precautions to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our property. It leads us to not touch extremely hot things because it will damage us through burny-burny. It keeps us from playing with poisonous snakes (unless we’re being colossally stupid on YouTube) because their venom is extremely toxic, even deadly. We lock our doors at night. We fasten our seatbelts when we drive. We consider safely ratings when selecting cars and other goods. We employ the proper methods and use the necessary tools to secure our foodstuffs from bears when camping. We don’t walk down dark alleys in the inner city. We use the safety mechanisms on our power tools and take appropriate care when using them.

We call that “wisdom.”

Our tendency to run or freeze can be mitigated — even programmed out of us — through quality instruction coupled with diligent practice. This is why all military personnel and first responders undergo intense training. They do this so they will immediately “do the right thing” when faced with a situation presenting a real and present danger to their mission, unit, vehicle, or folks in their care.

Pilots frequently train in simulators where various in-flight emergencies are repeatedly presented so they will instinctively take the corrective actions required to keep both themselves and their passengers alive if/when the real thing ever arises (unless you’re skydiving, your number of safe landings should always equal your number of takeoffs! You don’t need a parachute to skydive; you only need one to skydive more than once. 🙂 ).

All that being said, you can train until the cows come home yet you will never truly know how you are going to react to bullets flying past you until bullets are actually flying past you. Training simply stacks the odds more highly in your favor when the proverbial effluent hits the proverbial oscillating air circulation device.

In summary, those who harness their fear and react with skill and elán statistically tend to survive better than those who cower or flee.

All this carries over into the spirit realm. Since I’ve covered this thoroughly in several articles here on Miscellaneous Ramblings, I’ll let them carry that ball over the goal line:

Here are some promises you can stand upon. Memorizing and meditating on them will help you when disaster appears imminent.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?…Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
Psalm 27:1,3

Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;Proverbs 3:25

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YHWH, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.
Isaiah 12:2

I’ll summarize them here by saying that, if you have the opportunity to speak in the face of such circumstances, shouting “JESUS!” instead of “OH, SH-T!” is a far more effective response. Here’s my scriptural support for that statement:

For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 AMP

saved (sozo)
to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save one (from injury or peril)
to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health
to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance

You can indeed have what you say!

Fear of the Unknown

woman showing fear photoThis type of fear is purely spiritual in nature. Ultimately, it boils down to a lack of confidence in the goodness of our Heavenly Father and His promises to either bless us or protect us from evil. That insufficient trust can result from any or all of the following listed here in no particular order:

  • A crippled or non-existent personal relationship with God
  • Ignorance of His Word
  • Little or no faith in His promises found therein
  • A greater level of input from the world system than from His Word
  • A refusal to humbly surrender to Him
  • A corrupted understanding of the things of God due to the encroachment of man’s religion and empty tradition

We all meditate on something. We are either meditating on:

  • God’s Word, or;
  • The lies of the enemy (aka worrying).

Eastern meditation as taught in Hinduism, Buddhism, and the New Age attempts to remove worry by having devotees empty their minds. This is a satanic deception. Far more than nature abhors a vacuum and this practice tragically opens its practitioners to demonic influence and oppression, even possession (see Matthew 12:43-45).

Biblical meditation as described in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1 is the precise opposite. Rather than emptying our minds, we instead fill them with God’s Word. We speak Scriptures aloud to ourselves until our faith in His goodness and mercy and grace and greatness supersedes any fears we may bring to the table resulting in our making good, wise, and courageous choices.

Worrying can be defined as our spending vast amounts of time and mental energy contemplating outcomes which may or may not happen in a future where we cannot visualize the goodness of God prevailing over the situation. Such negative meditation literally attracts what we so greatly fear (see Job 3:25) whether by:

  1. Attracting and empowering demonic influences, or;
  2. Pre-programming our minds to make the stupid decisions required to produce the results we had so obsessively feared.

Worrying literally attracts the ungodly information required to support itself. That false information masquerades as “wisdom” and appears perfectly reasonable and rational. The trouble is such deceptive data points — points which we are clearly commanded by NT Scripture to resist and cast down — exalt themselves against our relationship with God and His Word.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (emphasis mine)

Let’s take a look at some of the words in the emphasized portions of that passage:

casting down (kathairesis)
pulling down, destruction, demolition‭
strongholds (ochuroma)
a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness‭
anything on which one relies‭
of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent‭
arguments (logismos)
a reckoning, computation‭
a reasoning: such as is hostile to the Christian faith‭
a judgment, decision
knowledge of God (gnosis theos)
a deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of the Almighty
moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living‭

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.Genesis 3:1 (emphasis mine)

Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made.
Genesis 3:1 AMP (emphasis mine)

Now the serpent was more astute than all the animals of the field which the Lord God had made.Genesis 3:1 JUB (emphasis mine)

The Hebrew word translated as cunning, crafty, and astute in Genesis 3:1 is aruwm. In addition to these adjectives used in the translations cited above are also the words “sensible‭” and “prudent‭.”

Satan’s lies to Adam and Eve appeared to make perfect sense or they would never have been suckered by him.


The Antidote for Worry

The antidote for fear of the unknown is one of my favorite NT passages:

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
Philippians 4:4-8 AMP (emphasis mine)

Rejoice in the Lord always…

Think of rejoicing as “re-joying,” an act of our will. If it came naturally, then the Holy Spirit wouldn’t be commanding it of us, now would He? If it were not within our capacity to choose joy, it would be unreasonable and manifestly unfair for the Lord to require it.

Here’s the spiritual logic:

  • Joy comes through our surrender to the Most High (see Romans 14:17), not by human effort.
  • The “Kingdom of God” is where Jesus the King has His dominion. In other words, wherever He actively rules and reigns.
  • Jesus said His Kingdom is within us (see Luke 17:21).
  • Whenever we surrender in humble submission to Him, we then receive and experience His “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

So when we choose to obey Him by rejoicing in Him, we actively receive His peace and joy through that surrender to Him.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything…

To be anxious is sin, period. I’m not saying this to condemn anyone but to clearly and directly communicate this is a divine command, not a suggestion. Worry is not an acceptable option available to Christ-followers. By the way, I checked the lexicon and the Greek word translated “anything” — amazingly enough! — literally means “anything.”

So what are we to do instead of worrying?

…in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.

Again, a quick check in the lexicon reveals the word translated “everything” means precise that: everything without exception. This leaves zero wiggle-room for us to mentally categorize various possible outcomes by the severity of their impact upon us, then pick and choose what deserves our attention and priorities in prayer.

Again prayer and supplication (entreaty) here mean precisely what they say. The Holy Spirit then adds the word “thanksgiving” to the mix. I’ve already dealt with that topic in another article here, so I’ll let you peruse that at your leisure. That being said, thanksgiving is an inseparable component to this equation. It’s not enough to merely pray, though that aspect is not at all to be minimized, but to thank God for the answer in advance, receiving the answer as our own.

An what is the result of our obedience to all this?

The Peace of God

More specifically, “…the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…”

Yeah, that peace! Woohoo!

This is a mind-blowing peace we cannot fathom with our corrupted human understanding. We cannot successfully analyze, define, categorize, or otherwise process it mentally. It is divine; a divine mystery, if you will. That means it is well beyond our finite understanding or ability to express, like trying to define beauty or a dozen other such superlatives.

It cannot be grasped intellectually, only experienced.

And that is what is promised us for our obedience to verse 6.

And how do we occupy our minds afterwards?

Meditate on the Positive

You cannot stop thinking about something simply by willing it — you must replace it with something else. Please allow me to demonstrate:

Stop thinking about elephants. I said stop it! Stop thinking about their big flappy ears, and their rough gray skin, and their long trunk which they use both as a nose, an appendage for manipulating their environment, and a straw to drink with. Quit thinking about their sharp ivory tusks and their flat-bottomed feet, and their tails with tasseled ends. Cease thinking about how incredibly intelligent they are and how they can communicate over long distances using low-frequency sounds. Stop it, I tell you! Stop it now! STOP!

All you have successfully accomplished during the entire previous paragraph is think about and imagine the appearance of elephants, despite my repeated commands to the contrary.

Talk about disobedient! Sheesh! 😀

Now let’s change animals. I want you to think about giraffes. Imagine their long, graceful necks which enable them to graze from the highest trees. Because their necks are so long and their front legs are significantly longer than the back ones, they have to splay them widely to permit them to drink from a stream or pond. They have narrow heads with small horns having little knobs on the ends. They have long, pointy, purple tongues. Their coats are kind of a yellowish brown with darker brown spots that are shaped roughly like rounded rectangles or squares.

Now during that entire last paragraph, how many of you had a single thought about elephants?

Unless you are some kind of freak, it’s safe to say none of you!

And that is precisely what God has commanded us to do when considering the future. We are to replace those dreadful possible negative outcomes with “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”

The Fear of Man

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
Proverbs 29:25

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.…There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Romans 3:10-12,18 (emphasis mine)

And Jesus [repeatedly and expressly] charged and admonished them, saying, Look out; keep on your guard and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod and the Herodians.
Mark 8:15 AMP (emphasis mine)

As we’ve just read, Jesus described the fear of man in the Gospel of Mark verse as the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. Let’s explore each of them in turn.

The Leaven of the Pharisees

Not only do we see this demonstrated by the Pharisees, but also by the Sadducees and scribes throughout the Gospels where they are either afraid to act against Jesus or answer His questions “for fear of the people.”

The modern-day equivalent of those folks are pastors and spiritual leaders within Christendom (the institutional expression of Christianity in the earth) who fear the worldwide revival now in progress as well as the supernatural signs, wonders, and miracles resulting from it. Such critics are terrified of disappointments (what if it doesn’t work for us?) and the resulting aftermath (people will abandon our church/ministry!). To protect themselves from such repercussions, they abandon hope (biblically defined as the joyful anticipation of good) and retreat behind walls of false doctrines piously labelled as “wisdom” and “sound doctrine.”

Tragically, in their unbelief, they are also walling out what God is currently doing, thereby excluding themselves and their followers from participating in and benefiting from it. As with worrying, Satan is more than happy to reinforce their position with lies masquerading as wisdom, prudence, and doctrinal orthodoxy.

Their constant mantra of “What if it doesn’t work?” coupled their concerted efforts to distance themselves by attempting to discredit its participants through labelling them as heretics are both prima facie evidence of this very attitude. This is also the primary driving mindset of social media “heretic hunters” who love to bash whoever opposes their personal take on religious orthodoxy.

In almost every case I’ve encountered, such folks are are deeply rooted in traditional non-charismatic denominations founded centuries ago during prior moves of God which have become lifeless hulks of their former selves over the ensuing years. Just sayin’…

The Leaven of Herod

This flavor of the fear of man occurs wherever worldly politics are the primary focus. Here are 3 examples found in the Gospels and Acts:

  • Herod feared the people, so he refrained from executing John the Baptist until his wife Herodias and step-daughter Salome put his back to the wall with no escape for fear of the opinions of those present at the banquet.
  • Pilate crucified Jesus because of he feared Cæsar’s possible reaction to his displeasing the Jewish leadership.
  • When Herod executed Jesus’ disciple James ben Zebedee and saw his actions pleased the people, he next went after Peter in Acts 12
  • We see this fear of man evidenced everywhere in modern politics and pop culture. There’s an old insult about unprincipled politicians that goes, “They’re like kites. They go wherever the political winds are blowing” because whatever passes for their ethics are dictated by results obtained from public-opinion polls and focus groups rather than any sense of right and wrong coupled with common sense.

    Nowadays politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and so-called “Internet influencers” alike are castigated and their careers/businesses/reputations destroyed by the Thought Police and/or the Racial Grievance Industrial Complex for making even a single statement appearing to deviate from the woke agenda.

    Let’s say for example that someone expresses a common-sense reality such as “a typical man is physically stronger than a typical woman. Therefore men, regardless of how they view their own gender identity, should not compete in women’s sports.” From the moral outrage and virtue signaling which immediately follows, you would think that person had publicly tortured and executed someone’s week-old puppy on national television. Spineless “offenders” immediately fall all over themselves in how rapidly they can cravenly express elaborate apologies for daring to speak — much less imply — an inconvenient yet politically incorrect truth.

    This terror of negative public opinion has also impacted corporate leaders, newscasters, educators, modern so-called science, and tragically, even certain pastors and other church leaders. Let one of them stray even slightly from the “party line” and the Internet trolls are all over them like a school of piranha on a wounded capybara.

    Corporations are falling all over themselves to rank well on a “woke compliance index,” the precise name of which escapes me for the moment. Scientists are fudging papers and studies to support ideology rather than reality. Schools have become indoctrination camps where children and young adults are taught what to think rather than how to think. Whole denominations have abandoned the clearly expressed tenets of Scripture to embrace the Siamese-twin false idols of “diversity” and “tolerance” so they can appease the pop-culture mob by being “inclusive.” The Untied Methodists are losing members literally by the millions as they abandon the doctrinal orthodoxy the Wesley brothers founded it upon.

    As we have already discovered, Jesus found that whole schtick completely repugnant. Our stand on what is moral should be in rock-solid agreement with God’s Word no matter where it leads or what it costs us. That being said, how we express those stands should be loving, compassionate, and gracious rather than arrogantly rude and hatefully judgmental no matter how repugnant the views we oppose (e.g., abortion, etc.) may be.

    The Fear of God

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
    Proverbs 9:10

    But I will show you whom you should fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
    Luke 12:5 (Jesus speaking)

    Whole books have been written by other authors on the fear of God. If you are struggling with this concept as a Christ-follower, I urge you to find and read one or more of them because fearing God is taught throughout the New Testament, not merely the Old.

    The fear of God prevents us from doing either stupid religious stuff (see Matthew 4:5-7) or developing bad attitudes (e.g., a sense of entitlement with God, treating Him like a cosmic bellhop solely there to do our bidding).

    There is great misconception among atheists and other skeptics that God seeks our worship because He’s insecure and needs affirmation. More than a a few church-goers silently agree with them, but would never dare admit it to anyone else. Absolutely false! He needs nothing from anyone, anywhere because He is absolutely self-sufficient.

    God is not seeking worship, He’s looking for worshippers!


    Because we human beings become like whatever or whomever we worship. Ergo, if we worship Him, we become more like Him. When we worship someone or something else, eh, not so much!

    He simply loves us way too much to allow us to worship anyone else but Himself because He is uniquely qualified to be worthy of it.

    Furthermore, our fear of God also precludes us from succumbing to the fear of man. Indeed, the fear of God is the only antidote for it available to us. As I stated in the opening paragraphs of this article, whoever we fear is who we will worship.

    And that is why the Almighty is so adamant about our fearing Him instead of anything or anyone else.

    Thanks for reading!