Fear is an emotion, given to us by God, to drive us to trust in Him alone. The emotion is never neutral. It will drive us in the direction of trusting God or it will drive us inward, and away from God. Fear reveals our heart desires and also reveals how we interpret the uncertain, insecure, and wicked world in which we live.
When fear is handled in a godly way, the result is faith and the focus is always on God. When it is handled in an ungodly way, the result is unbelief and the focus is on ourselves.
We are not alone!
We have a high priest in Jesus, Who is able to sympathize with all our human emotions, and One Who, in every respect, was tempted as we are, but without ever sinning (Hebrews 4:13). That means that in every instance of fear, He used that fear to drive Him fully and completely to His heavenly Father.
The clearest example we have is the night when He was betrayed, when He became sorrowful and troubled (Matthew 26:37). In the following moments, He prayed three times, in great anguish, that God remove from Him the cup of suffering, but each time, His sorrow and trouble led Him to trust in the Father’s perfect will. (Matthew 26:39)
Yesterday in church, we saw that the great apostle, Paul, was also afraid (Acts 18:1-11). Who wouldn’t be, after all he went through to get to Corinth.
But both the fear of Paul and Christ were overcome by their fear of God. Both trusted God in obedience.
There is clear negative example in the OT that we read as our scripture reading in yesterday morning’s service. It is found in Deuteronomy 1. When faced with the report of giants in the promised land, the recently, miraculously liberated nation of Israel did not trust the God who had delivered them. Their fears revealed their unbelief and they turned inward, and away from God. They rebelled and murmured in unbelief and thought God hated them and wanted to destroy them (Deuteronomy 1:26-27).
The accurate report of the spies, being bigger and stronger, did not lead them to trust in God, but turned them inward, to the own weaknesses and that lead them to despair. No one questioned the veracity of the report. The people were indeed bigger and stronger and, humanly speaking, there was reason to be afraid.
God understands our fears, but He does not tolerate unbelief (Deuteronomy 1:32). He gently comes alongside his people and reminds them that He is bigger than their fears (Deuteronomy 1:29-31). He would fight for the people, just like when He delivered them from Egypt. He would lovingly carry them during this troubling time.
But, they refused to believe God was bigger than their fears and paid the price (Deuteronomy 1:34-35).
Look at Deuteronomy 1:36-38. In contrast to the thousands of Israelites who let their fears drive them away from God, we have a godly example of two men that trusted God, Caleb and Joshua. They faced the same giants, but they believed God and His Word. The giants in the land drove them to trust in God.
Where are your fears driving you?