Run!

Darkness everywhere. Vision severely obscured, feelings of dread and terror seemed to choke the life out of every living thing within the area. Joel didn’t know where he was going, only that he must remove himself as far as possible from this situation. He clawed through the dark masses of something. A warm stick substance trickled down his face, causing him to quickly wipe his hand across his brow. It was blood. More dread came upon him as this realization occurred to him. What if he lost so much blood that he fainted and died in this unknown territory? Nonetheless, he pressed on. Still uncertain of what chased him.

He screamed as he fell. Something seemed to grasp his legs as he tripped. This was the end of him! No, only his shoe came untied. In his haste, this escaped his notice. He quickly tied it, listening intently for any noises that might give his pursuer away. Nothing. Of course, such a demon would not be so easy to detect. He must run on!

 

What is Fear?

Fear doesn’t always manifest itself in ways we recognize. It sometimes hides so well that we don’t even know it is there, yet we run madly away from it.  We are all familiar with that sensation of a knot in our stomach when things seem to be going wrong. For some of us, anxiety makes us physically ill and it becomes impossible to do our work. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines fear as:

1a: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger

b(1): an instance of this emotion

(2): a state marked by this emotion

2: anxious concern

3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God

4: reason for alarm

And

1: to be afraid of: expect with alarm fear the worst

2: to have a reverential awe of fear God

 

The Bible’s view of fear also consists of this in some areas, such as expressed in many of Psalms. Throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, we find people riddled with doubts and anxieties. Humans naturally feel fear.

On the other hand, another Biblical definition of fear exists; a fear consisting of respect and honor towards God.  In Proverbs 1:7, we see that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Without properly respecting God, we remain in our sinful and rather stupid mentality. Also, fear of the LORD requires obedience, as one might obey his or her father. In Isaiah 63:17 it says “ O LORD, why have You made is stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear?” Fear of the Lord therefore must be a blessing, keeping us on the path of righteousness, as also seen in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 and Hebrews 12:28.

 

 

Sometimes We Don’t Notice It

Fear can sneak up on us without us recognizing it right away. It might be a simple “What if…” creeping into our thoughts or it may manifest itself so greatly that severe stress and physical ailments take over. It can lead to a depressed state of mind, as exhaustion from overworking our minds takes over. We get less quality sleep, maybe eat more or less than the healthy requirements, perhaps some of us become so nervous that holding still proves to be a challenge. Other times less obvious symptoms of fear arise. Anger and irritability over petty things, because things don’t go one’s own way, may actually demonstrate fear, as one might feel overwhelmed with the other problems in his or her life that he or she cannot handle any more issues. The need to control everyone and everything also demonstrates fear, as constant mistrust causes one to doubt the intentions and ability of those around him or her.

Another obvious way fear shows itself is in those with dependency disorders. The constant need for attention and affection from others to soothe away their anxieties becomes irritating as it might be seen as merely a way to obtain attention.

A lesser understood outward expression of fear may be observed as arrogance in some cases. A person who feels disliked and insignificant may put on a façade of extreme self-confidence in order to cope with near self-hatred and doubt that consumes his or her being. A false sense of self- sufficiency hides their insecurities and might be just another coping method. Clearly, this is not always true, but in some cases it is. This goes right along with pride, which clearly remains sinful.

 

Fear Not

Over and over and over in Scripture, God gives us the command to not fear the things of this world. In Joshua 1:9 it says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” The verse directly before it we also should pay close attention to.  “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  In order to not fear, we must fear God and live in obedience to His Word.

Psalm 112 demonstrates the strength of a godly man. In verse 6-8 it declares “Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.”

Many more areas in Scripture give commands to not fear the world, but to live in fear of God alone. Without godly fear, we ought to be afraid of the world because we then would have nothing to hope in or trust. Living in sin equates to living under Satan and not Christ. Fear is binary; either fear God or fear the world. Either live for God or live in slavery to sin. 1 John 4:18 declares “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Verse 20-21 tells us that this love from God must be demonstrated by actions toward others. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” Loving God is directly tied to action and fear of God.

 

Conclusion

In essence, if one truly wishes to live at peace without fear, then one must live in obedience to God. If one refuses to submit to God, then the natural state of being becomes fear of the world. One also must remember the characteristics of God’s kindness and mercy. If a sinner earnestly seeks God, repents and turns from his or her sins, God will listen to those pleas. He washes us in the blood of Christ that we may be made clean and gives us the strength to overcome sin.

Onward!

The sweet smell of mowed hay wafted about, very pleasing to one’s sense of smell. A bee or two droned lazily from the occasional clover, gathering its food. Today was quite warm, with only a faint breeze; it would be a good day to relax or go swimming, but that mustn’t be. The work that soon would come would not be nearly so blissful.
Soon the faint rumbling of an engine could be heard rattling down the road. The long-awaited tractor finally pulled into the drive. Soon, the hum of the baler would begin, and then it gathers up the dried grass in order to form it into bales. The operator set the machine and began driving over the freshly raked hay rows. Bales began to form lines across the field.
20, 50, 100.
We still had a long way to go, the trailer only had that many bales on it. Sweat only began to soak the clothes of the workers as they heaved the 70 pound bales up. Persevere to the end we must!
300, 550, 700.
Finally! The trailers started to look full, and the day was starting to draw to an end. Over six hours of hard labor, roasting in the heat and humidity. Sweat drenched the workers’ clothes now, completely soaking them. Exhausted, they took a short break to rehydrate and rest. Their hands covered in blisters and their clothes slightly torn. Onward! They must finish the job! Even though they feel like dropping down from exhaustion, they have a goal, a purpose, and mission to drive them on. They fought the exhaustion and the pain to accomplish what they set out to do.

The Christian life can sometimes be like this when we feel beat down by circumstances and the pressures of life. Every little thing that doesn’t seem like much, adds up, exhausting us. The pressures that culture creates are enough to crush one’s spirit. Always being encouraged to sin and follow the road that leads to destruction by people who lack understanding of godliness, it can be a temptation to do these things in order to “fit in”. The indecency, the greed, the bitterness, the selfishness…all these things are burdens to us that hinders our walk with Christ.

Often, we develop blisters on our hearts. Blisters of remorse over the things we failed to do, or regret of the things we did. The burning pain sometimes causes us to retreat into a murky bog of self-pity and depression. We must learn to move past this skin-deep pain and live for something greater than ourselves. The pain lasts but a short time, and because we have been washed of our sin in the blood of Christ, we have all of eternity to look forward to. We must endure to the end.

The sensation of our spiritual muscles being exercised does not feel pleasurable either, yet we must allow God to train us to be able to fight the good fight. In 1 Timothy 6:12, we are called to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” We must persevere during our time here on earth and fight against the urge to drop down from exhaustion. Training to fight never will be easy. A good fighter must persevere through much pain in order to be a good fighter; he or she doesn’t become good from sitting on a couch watching television. One must face the trials presented by the coach to gain strength, endurance, and resist the tendency to quit.

Sometimes the training seems dull and boring, such as is the case in “average” people’s lives. The training may come in forms similar to stacking hay, a dull heavy labor without much excitement. Yet, as our Heavenly Coach knows this is necessary to teach us to endure anyway. Some of us are mothers, having to clean up after the family and cook day after day. Some of us are fathers, having to work an unfulfilling job that pays just enough to make ends meet. And yet others are young and just beginning life, studying and working, preparing for the world but seeming to get nowhere fast. In all these things, we are being taught to persevere no matter what, so that our spiritual muscles will develop.

Matthew 10:22- “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

We know from this verse that once we become Christians that there will be many trials to face, but we know from Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” With God as our coach, He knows exactly what we need to work on to become successful fighters. We can endure to the end not because we are strong enough on our own strength, but because Christ is with us and has given us strength in His grace and mercy.
Let us fight the good fight to the end! Pull on your gloves, and live in the strength of God, being nourished in the Word and be built up in love of Christ. Onward! This shall be our cry, for the kingdom of God is near. Pain cannot stop us, nor can the heat from the pressure of the crowds. Onward!

 

 

Thank you for the contribution.

To those who follow or read my blog, the author also blogs. I have gotten acquainted with her and will say that she has a lot of wisdom that many older people take far more year to acquire, IF they ever do.  Please, take time to look at her blog as well. unconqueredfaith.wordpress.com