Are you Afraid?
January 1, 2017
Fear can do two things, it will either move us into action or it will paralyze us. Our first impulse should be to take action and try to stop the runaway horse before it causes an accident. But what if we just shrink back in fear and say there is nothing we can do and hopefully everything will turn out okay? Let’s say the horse continues on his way and eventually causes an accident where someone is seriously injured. The accident could have been avoided had we responded correctly to our fear and stopped the horse. So, my question to you is, how do you respond to your fears? Are you constantly filled with worry and dread because of your fears? Let me tell you a little bit of my story and how God has released me from those fears that I once had.
As a young boy growing up, I remember hearing about God, about Jesus, and about heaven and hell. But above all that, I remember very distinctly hearing over and over about God’s judgement, about the end of the world and Jesus’ return, and of one day standing before God and giving an account of my life here on earth. That alone was enough to make me fearful of God, and rightfully so.
When we understand that God is almighty, that He is righteous, holy, and perfect, and that no sin can enter into His presence, and we realize how helpless we are by ourselves, how can we help but be fearful and afraid? We are supposed to have a fear of God, right? But, just like the story about the runaway horse, so the fear of God can cause us either to take action or to shrink back and let that fear consume us.
Does the fear of God move you to study God’s word and learn more about His salvation, or does your fear cause you to turn away from God and His word because you just don’t understand? Let’s take a look at Proverbs 14:27: The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. So, the fear of God can deliver us from death to life!
My greatest fear was the fear of the end of the world, of the time when Jesus would return, when I would stand before my Creator and give Him an account of my life. The thought of dying always filled me with a great feeling of dread. I wanted to do what was right. I sincerely wanted to please God, but I couldn’t get rid of that fear of not knowing if I was right with God. I could usually push those fears to the back of my mind, especially at work, or when I was with a group of people; but, when night came and I would lay in my bed, those fears would come back and remind me that tonight could be the night when Jesus comes back.
How I hoped with all my heart that He would give me another day. Each morning I would wake up with a great sense of relief that I was still here. The cycle continued every day. I would push my fears to the back of my mind, only to have them come back with full force at nighttime. I remember how I would look forward to a vacation or another big event in my life, and I would hope and pray that Jesus would not come back before then. How selfish of me to want those earthly pleasures above the heavenly kingdom that God has promised to those who are in Christ.
But, I did not know if I was in Christ. I considered myself to be a good person, I knew I was sinful and far from perfect, but I wasn’t that bad, was I? I mean, I went to church regularly, I was baptized, and I followed the rules of the church most of the time; so, I should be okay, right? Well, you might think so, but deep down inside me something still wasn’t right. I hardly read my Bible and almost never prayed, because God seemed so far away. I knew I didn’t have a relationship with God. I wondered if that was even possible.
I finally got to the point where my fears got the best of me, and I became depressed. I didn’t see anything exciting in my future. I didn’t know why I was even here. Life just seemed meaningless. Eventually, through a series of events, I finally turned to the Bible for answers instead of looking within. I opened God’s Word and read the gospel of John and several of Paul’s letters.
Before, I would only read the Bible because I thought I should or because it made me feel better. This time it was different. It was like reading it for the very first time, like it was actually meant for me! Could this really be true? Read John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Wow! Could this be what Proverbs 14:27 is talking about? I could take the time to try and explain to you what I believe this verse means, but, I don’t think that’s really necessary. Let’s read it again, very slowly. He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Now, back to my story. The next few weeks I continued to read my Bible regularly. It was as if I couldn’t get enough. Slowly, I began to understand why God sent His Son to die on the cross for us. One night as I was talking to a friend, I finally recognized how sinful I really was. I knew I could never measure up to God’s standards. All the good I was doing was as filthy rags in God’s eyes (Isaiah 64:6). I realized that I couldn’t save myself, that it was only through faith in Jesus Christ and in what He has done for me (John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9).
That very night Jesus became personal to me! I didn’t realize it right away, but all of a sudden, I noticed that I was free from all those fears. What a feeling of relief to know that God was watching over me, and that He loves me enough to die for me! What a feeling of peace and comfort to lie down each night and know that I am safe in God’s care. I don’t need to fear death, for death is just a gateway to eternal life for all those who trust in Jesus as their Savior.
I pray that if you are bogged down with fear and worry, that you, too, may find the freedom and peace in Christ, our risen Savior, and in Him alone (Acts 4:12). May God be with you as you search His holy Word.
The author of the article, Martin Miller, would love to hear from you. If you would like to write to him about this article, you may contact him at:
PO Box 279
Orwell, OH 44076