But, for the most part, we all compartmentalize this fear into the harmless "carnival-ride" variety with little impact on our day-to-day lives. Once the season is over with we go our merry way...walking in the fears that truly bind us - the fear of living our own lives to their God intended potentials.
I am fond of the verse in Hebrews that states
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb 11:1 NKJ
Along with many other verses, it underscores the reality that all existence hinges upon faith - that faith is the creative force behind everything. By faith God spoke the worlds into existence. By faith we obtain salvation. By faith we exist, live, and shape our future.
But fear is also a form of faith. Fear is faith in death and the power of the grave over a risen Savior. It is faith in powers outside of the Word of God. It is faith in the whispered lies of the enemy over the promises of the Father. Fear is born of ignorance where faith is walked out in knowledge. Fear is faith in the enemy's ability to steal, kill, and destroy with little or no restraint ignoring a new blood covenant that has been cut between God and mankind - a covenant that names you the redeemed, capable, healed, more than sufficient victor in this life.
And we walk in so many fears. I could name several that I alone struggle with. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of pain - the list goes on. We are familiar with the psychological term "phobia" derived from the Greek word for fear. The list of documented phobias is enormous. What do you think of the below sampling from this exhaustive list of medically documented fears?
Aulophobia- Fear of flutes
Barophobia- Fear of gravity
Chionophobia- Fear of snow
Dendrophobia- Fear of trees
Euphobia- Fear of hearing good news
Geniophobia- Fear of chins
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words (my favorite)
Ideophobia- Fear of ideas
Koniophobia- Fear of dust
Lachanophobia- Fear of vegetables.
Metrophobia- Fear of poetry
Nostophobia- Fear of returning home
Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons
Politicophobia- Fear of politicians (timely - don't you think?)
Rhytiphobia- Fear of getting wrinkles
Soceraphobia- Fear of In-laws
Thaasophobia- Fear of sitting
Uranophobia- Fear of heaven
Verbophobia- Fear of words
Walloonphobia- Fear of the Walloons (a french speaking culture in Belgium)
Xerophobia- Fear of dryness
Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.
Though somewhat humorous, the above list is also tragic. Every one of the above listed conditions is a documented phobia that has tormented and bound some individual, no matter how absurd it might seem to the average person. These fears have ruled lives. What fears are ruling yours? This is a hard look but one I need to make because I am at a crossroads and God is calling for His faith filled children to step over the lies of the enemy and walk in the freedom they are called to so that they can effect the change on this earth that He desires.
The great news is we are not required to undertake this in our own strength. We'd fail if we were. Bear with me as these scriptures are a bit of repeat from a recent previous post, but the truth here is potent.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
This word "power" literally means the backing of armies/forces. God's strength, might, and forces are backing the power that he has placed within each of us. And the enemy of our souls recognizes that power and hates it. He will do everything to keep us from realizing we possess it from keeping us in condemnation and feelings of unworthiness to outright depression through hardship and sickness.
"For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood contending only with physical opponents, but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural sphere."
Ephesians 6:12 AMP
How many are already well aware of this? I doubt many of you had to physically contend with very many people today, but how many felt that tug, that pull, that gnawing of emotion, drawing of will, assault upon your peace? It could have been the rude person in line in front of you or the confrontation you had with a loved one. It might have been concern for plans that have been circulating in your mind for days upon days, weeks upon weeks. Concern, worry; these are names we give to our fears to delude ourselves into the lie that we are not actually fearful. "I'm just worried about..." "I'm just a little concerned..." Do these worries and concerns follow you to bed, chase you into your dreams? Look what the Lord said to Solomon;
"When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet."
Proverbs 3:24 ESV
When is the last time you enjoyed "sweet-sleep"? Peace? Tranquility of soul? We would indeed serve a cruel Father if He were to dangle this in front of us as a promise and never deliver, but that has never been His character. If He states it, it is His intent that we receive it. Jesus said to his diciples:
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We are the victors in this eternal endgame, not because of any merit of our own, not because of anything we have or haven't done, but simply because of who resides within us and His incomprehensible love for us. When we catch a glimpse of this love and simply reciprocate, fear melts away.
"There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love."
1 John 4:18 MSG
So refuse to live in fear of what God has called you to. If it were up to you to succeed, you'd fail everytime. It's His plan - trust Him, trust His love, trust his wisdom. Pursue Him passionately and let your love feast for Him and others cause fear to take flight.