By Pat Ennis:
We live in a fear dominated world—serious illness, weight gain, financial reversal, old age, death, rejection, and fear of man are all categories of fear that cause a focus away from God and toward circumstances.
Fear is real and it is not always negative—when you sense danger, fear usually stimulates you to fight or flee. However, often the consequences are not positive—for example, fear can . . .
- Hinder your relationship with others.
- Stifle your ability to think rationally.
- Rob you of joy.
- Injure your relationship with God.
- Create inner turmoil that can eventually lead to thoughts of suicide.
Since the presence of fear produces such detrimental results, it seems reasonable to locate an antidote to it. Scripture teaches that God’s Word is sufficient to override your fears.
- The natural reaction to fear is panic. The antidote is to replace potential fear with trust in God (Psalm 56:3-4, 11).
- Since God comforts you, why should you be afraid (Isaiah 51: 12-16)?
- You can be content in every circumstance because God has promised to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6).
As you meditate upon the reality that Scripture constantly urges God’s children to trust rather than fear, consider this account that was shared by an African missionary about a herd of lions:
This particular story is about the old king. You see a lion can only be the king as long as he is strong enough to hold his position— and there is always another lion trying to usurp it. Usually by the time the old king is replaced he does not have any teeth and only a few claws. His hair is matted, he has arthritis in the joints, and he no longer can fight to keep his position so a younger lion becomes the new king.
However, the old king is not entirely useless—he still has a role in the herd when the lions go on a hunt. When the herd hunts, the old, mean-looking, ferocious lion stands on one side while the young hunter lions hide in the bushes on the opposite side. When the prey appears, the former king looks at it and begins to roar; the roar scares the prey so badly that it runs to the opposite side—right into the waiting jaws of the hunter lions that attack and destroy it. If the prey had run toward the roar, more than likely it would have been safe, since all the old lion had left was his roar.
The only positive fear recorded in scripture is the fear of God. This fear is a reverence of God’s majesty, power, and greatness. When you choose to “run to the roar” you will most likely find the influence of the fear dissolving.