1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” NIV
1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.” TLV
Fear is faith in something, albeit not God! Fear is misapplied trust and renders the person powerless and paralyzed who is trusting their own ability rather than the Power and Promises of God. Fear has torment and is an indication that the love quotient is weak. Fear is an expression of doubt and question.
Fear comes when we question our own ability to overcome that which we are facing. We question God’s truthfulness and power to overcome the problem with which we are confronted. However, the presence of fear is an indication of faith but misapplied and misdirected faith. It is faith in the power of the devil more than the power of God.
There are several principal kinds of fear. There are several Hebrew words in the Old Testament translated fear. In the New Testament, there are several Greek words frequently translated as fear. I want to list three kinds of fear and hope to help each one to see how we can transform fear into love and love into trust and trust into faith and faith into seeing the fulfillment of the promises of God in our present situation.
First, there is Reverential Fear. That is a wholesome and godly fear that is necessary for our relationship with God. It is actually awe and respect for God’s majesty and holiness. It is a godly reverence that trembles at the very thought of displeasing God. Not because we are afraid of punishment but desirous to not displease our heavenly Father. We desire to properly and adequately manifest and represent Him to the world.
In Psalms 19:9, David speaks of a fear that is clean and pure. In Proverbs 1:7 we discover that godly fear is the beginning of wisdom. It is the kind of fear that enables humans to respect God’s authority and obey His commands with joy. In Psalms 2:11 we read, “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.” In Proverbs 16:6 we read, “by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” Therefore, this fear is powerful and helps us stay focused on God’s Person, Purpose, and Power.
In fact, the Bible indicates that Jesus feared. Hebrews 5:7 – “Who in the days of his flesh, when He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears…was heard, in that he feared.” This word translated fear indicates reverence, awe, and respect. It was not a cringing cowardly hiding fear but a fear that knit His heart with the Father in holy reverence.
Second, there is Constitutional Fear. Not the American Constitution but the fear that is necessary for the preservation of the human race. It is a normal God-given emotion. God built within each of us an instinctive alarm system to protect us from impending danger. This type of fear is necessary for our protection and the preservation of life. I heard about a preacher who was ten minutes late for a preaching appointment. When he arrived, he apologized to the congregation and said, “The traffic was heavier than anticipated. I decided it would be better to be ten minutes late than to be several years early in the next life.”
That reminds me of the story of a young man that got a job at the local zoo. His boss told him that one of his jobs was to clean the lion’s cage. He said, “No sir, I’m not going in no lion’s cage.” The boss informed him that it was mandatory to keep his job and besides that, the lion was tame and would not hurt him. The young man said, “He may be a tame lion and might not hurt me, but he could cause me to hurt myself. I am not going in that cage.” He paused a second and said, “I was raised on milk too, but now I eat meat.”
Third, there is Carnal Fear. This is a senseless dread and nagging anxiety that can paralyze and torment a person. It is always evil at its core. The Greek word carries the idea of an unhealthy, destructive kind of dread. There are many examples of this type of fear in the Bible.
It was seen in Adam after he had disobeyed God. He hid himself because he was afraid. It was seen in the Children of Israel when Joshua and Caleb tried to convince them to leave Kadesh-Barnea and enter the land of Canaan. In Numbers 14:9 they were instructed to “not fear the people of the land” but they did.
Carnal fear is slavish, and some people wake up in the night trembling because they know that one day they will die and fear death. Hebrews 2:15 tells us about those who, “through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Godly fear rests in the promises of God but Carnal fear is tormented by the unknown and unseen. The Psalmist in Psalm 23 declares, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…” The Promise of the Presence of God dispels ungodly carnal fear. It rests in Him!
Fear expresses faith but unless it is Godly Reverential Fear it is expressing faith in the threats of the devil and the inadequacy of human flesh. Godly Reverential Fear rolls all its cares and concerns on the LORD and says, “I Trust You!” Father, I ask that you touch each one today and grant them access and entrance into Godly Reverential Fear and dispel all Carnal Fear from their lives.
May the LORD bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!