Escaping the prison of fear

“Fear Not…” (Matthew 10:28).

Have you ever known someone who seemingly had no fear? We can do two things with fear: we can charge at it like a bull, or recoil from it. We will utilize both of these responses depending on our own inclinations and experiences. We press toward some fears, while we shrink from others.

One gets the impression when studying the life of Jesus that he was never really afraid of anything.  He wasn’t afraid of demons. He wasn’t afraid of evil people. He wasn’t afraid to offend those who wanted him dead. He wasn’t afraid of tumultuous storms. He wasn’t afraid of lepers. He practiced what he preached. He charged at life-fears like a bull.

The only time he even hints of fear is when facing the execution that lay before him at Calvary. But even then, in what is probably his most human – and weakest – moment, he received strength from heaven, and resigned himself to the will of God. After his third prayer in the Garden, he rose up, accepted God’s plan, and resolutely died for you and me without uttering a cross word or complaint (1 Peter 2:21-25).

When Paul told Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear,” (1 Timothy 1:7), he meant it literally. This means just what it says. A Christian has absolutely nothing to fear – not other people, not circumstances, not pain, not suffering, not even death.

Here’s a fact people do not like to acknowledge (even me at times), but it is true nonetheless: our fears are inextricably related to our faith. Although exceptions may exist, it is generally true that our level of fear is commensurate with our level of faith. More faith, less fear, and vise-versa. Since it is true that God works all things together for good, to those who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28), as faith grows, fear shrinks.

We can fret and worry ourselves right into poor health and paralysis. This is not what God intends for his people. Some concern is inevitable, but we must learn from Christ to fall on our knees in our moments of greatest despair, and beg God – again and again – for strength beyond our own, to rise above our fears and accept God’s will. There is no other option to our anxieties, than to cast those burdens upon him (1 Peter 5:7), repeatedly when necessary – and many times it will be necessary.

Medications can numb. Entertainments can distract. Busyness can deceive. Only submission can soothe. Divine is the prerogative to provide a remedy for our fears – heavenly is the salve, and it can only be applied by the hand of the Father.

The Christian is the only person on earth who can truly escape the prison of fear (Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:15). There is no power over us anymore because of Christ – not enemies, not falsehoods, not condemnation, not suffering, not pain, not even death. The victory is sure, and the entrance to our eternal home will not be slight, but abundant through Christ Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:11).

In Christ, there is nothing to fear.

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