Fear in past times has been an intense stronghold for me. When I was young I used to become physically sick — crippled by the fear that would overtake my mind and heart. In the recent years the Lord has worked a great victory in this area, for which I am incredibly thankful! As I have chosen to lay these worries and fears down at His feet, He has always been faithful to leave in their place the joy and peace of His ever-present Spirit.
Even in this place of victory, I am still in need of daily vigilance over this particular area. When I am not watchful, it can creep back in very subtly and begin to affect me.
I was recently doing a little bit of studying and meditating on some passages that address the issue of fear, and I came across this one:
“My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul, and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence” (Prov. 3:21-26).
It fascinated me that sound wisdom and discretion are the tools to keep you from being afraid. After pondering this a moment, it suddenly struck me what the beginning of wisdom is: The fear of the Lord! (Prov. 9:10). This is the only right kind of fear — a fear that finds its root in love. It does not cause anxiety; it produces rest. It brings forth life and causes us to overflow with joy. When we have the fear of the Lord, it will drive out all other kinds of fear.
This kind of fear — a deep reverence, awe, and respect of God — comes from time spent in His presence. It comes from studying His Word, believing it, and obeying it. When we walk in obedience, we see His power made manifest right before our very eyes. This in turn produces greater faith in who He is and what He promises. When we read Jesus’ words — verses like, “I am with you always…” (Matt. 28:20b) — it is no longer just head knowledge; these words bring comfort in the midst of pain, contentment in the midst of difficulty, and joy in the midst of sorrow. Fear of sickness, suffering, want, death, or any other thing is driven away when we grasp just who our God is!
When fears or any other burdens arise, take them and lay them at the feet of Jesus. He longs for us to do this — He died and rose to free us from them! He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Turn your eyes unto Him, walk in faith and obedience to Him, and you will truly experience the rest that comes from fearing Him alone!