There are at least two kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible. The first kind of fear is the fear of the Lord, which is healthy and can lead to wisdom and understanding (Psalm 111:10) Also, with the fear of the Lord is life and true rest (Proverbs 14:27; 19:23).
The second kind of fear can bring on severe anxiety which will affect our mental and physical health. That “spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7) which greatly can hinder our walk with God. It is a tool that the devil uses to us from all that God has for us.
Check out the faith of Rahab. She was a Canaanite living in the city of Jericho just before God sent the Israelites to take it over. Despite her pagan upbringing, Rahab stepped out in faith and chose to believe in the God of Israel after hearing stories about His miraculous acts. Rahab’s faith was rock solid because she did not cave to the impending dangers put on herself and her city.
She dared to disobey her own king by hiding two Israelite spies in her home. “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:9,11).
The Israelite spies repaid Rahab by sparing her life and her family, while the rest of the Canaanites living in Jericho were destroyed. After taking a closer look at Rahab’s words, we can see that she was not the only one who feared the God of the Israelites; all the people living in Jericho were “melting” with fear. Like Rahab, they too had heard the stories about God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the plagues He brought upon the Egyptians. But Rahab alone submitted her fear to the Israelites’ God, with a true, authentic faith and respect for Him rather than melt in fear. She elevated her honor, awe and respect of her Lord above all of her other fears. Because of her faith over fear, God included her in the lineage of His Son, Jesus.
Our greatest weapon in fighting fear is truth. Not the kind of false truth that is comes from out-of-control feelings, but rather truth that comes from God. God wants us to lean on Him as we walk through hard times. We need to be content with that instead of throwing up a prayer for instant relief of our situation. God uses all situations, good and bad, to build up an authentic faith that will hold us firmly in the worst of days.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Satan will do all he can to get us to doubt the love of God, often by using fear. Fear of the future, what people think of us, failure, you name it—when we believe lies of fear, it gets in the way of experiencing and living out of the freedom of God’s perfect love.