During the past couple of weeks we have heard a lot about fear. At this time, it has generally centered around an unknown, the coronavirus epidemic, and a generalized fear of consequently not being able to take care of our basic physical needs, the economy going into recession, loss of our jobs, etc. There is no doubt that this current situation we are experiencing will have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives.
You yourself probably have some fears.
Is it rational to be afraid? Sometimes, yes. We may have a real basis for the fear. We may be able to do something about the thing we are afraid of. Other times, the fear may not be so logical, there may be a generalized anxiety, without a solid event as a focus.
Fear, however is fear. Whether the basis is rational or not.
Fear is our inner reaction to something that we perceive to be beyond our ability to handle. It is a protective reaction that keeps us from going down what could be a dangerous path. We are alert to possible consequences, and steer clear of them.
For example, the coronavirus scare. The fear of contracting the disease leads us to do those things which would hopefully protect us from infection. Washing our hands with soap after being in public, avoiding touching our faces, isolating ourselves from sick people (which, because we don't know exactly who is sick, translates into self-isolating and keeping away from gatherings of people). When we do all these things, we are not so afraid any more, because we have responded to the threat appropriately.
This is a perfectly good and commendable way to deal with the fear (1).
What can happen, though, is that we hang onto the fear. We allow ourselves to continue being anxious, even though the thing we fear has been minimized as a threat. We allow the anxiety to fester, our thoughts feed on it, and we can become panicky. Just like anger, if we hang onto fear or anxiety, it becomes sin (2). This negative thinking can then depress our immune system, lowering our physical defenses, and we become more likely to become sick.
God does not intend for us to live in fear (3). There is a reason for this. When we allow fear to gain the upper hand in our life, we open ourselves up to be manipulated by Satan in that particular area of our life. God tells us to actively resist the devil, and that he will then flee from us (4).
The opposite is also true. This is a battle, spiritual warfare (5). If we do not actively resist the devil, he will be able to draw near to us (4). Now that sounds scary.
Next post we will look at this in more detail.
1. Proverbs 6:6-11. Principle. See the coming situation and respond accordingly.
2. James 1:14-15. Principle. Sin starts with temptation, which when entertained in the mind, brings forth sinful action. Fear itself is not sin, but if we allow it to continue it shows lack of faith which is sin (Romans 14:23)
3. 2 Timothy 1:7
4. James 4:7-8
5. Ephesians 6:10-12