There are many reasons to fear, and without fear there is very little to guide us on a safe path. But it is said “Through fear of death man is held in life long bondage”. And the bondage we know of is that bondage to the power of sin in our lives, and bondage to a body which dies. We fear death because we fear God and His judgement of us, we fear the penalty of our guilt, of our thoughts and actions. We fear death because of judgement, and we fear what may lie beyond death and the grave, we fear hell.
Fear may keep some people in control, and without fear there may be no restraint to anything we do, no self control. And that may place us in physical danger, in harm’s way, damage to life and limb may result.
But, widely speaking, without fear we may embark on the most severe of actions, without thought for the outcome for either ourselves or others. And because we fear death, we also fear life.
And so we recognise that it is fear that constrains us, controls us, and condemns us to a negativity and darkness which prevents us from venturing forth into life in full confidence and assurance of well being. Many suffer from anxiety and depression because of fear of what others may think, say, or do in response to what we are in our own lives while we are in community with others around us, with regard to the accepted norms and behavioral standards of society.
But back to the scripture. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” it says somewhere. And so progresses a journey which must end with the opposite of fear, that being love. If we perceive God only as one who dishes out punishment for breaking His laws, then we may rightly fear Him. Scripture also says “Do not fear him who can only kill the body and after that do nothing, rather fear Him who has the power, after he has killed, to throw body and soul into hell”. Or similar. But this is simply a matter of getting one’s priorities right, so to speak.
For one operating outside of God’s free gift of righteousness, there should be some healthy fear involved, just as “The Law” prepared people for release from their problems by firstly accentuating them, and then releasing them from it all by the process of accepting God’s forgiveness and mercy for having transgressed those laws rules and regulations, and then removing them from that environment and placing them in a permanent environment of grace, forgiveness and love, forevermore.
“God so loved the world…” and “God is love” and “Love is of God”. So we also fear His love because we don’t understand it, and we don’t understand HIM.
And that’s why He sent Jesus His Son to explain it all to us. The Son who said “Through lack of knowledge my people perish”. He came to give us this knowledge of His own Father so we would understand the truth and come to rely on it and on Him. “And so we have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us”.
FEAR brings with it darkness and isolation from the truth of the light, and light dispels the darkness and reveals the truth of both darkness AND light. Jesus said “If the light in you be darkness, how great is that darkness”. If the best light we are conscious of still amounts only to darkness, then we are indeed in a great darkness. But now “those who dwell in the land of darkness have seen a great light”.
When fear is dispelled by the recognition of the incredible act of love that was enacted on the cross by the Father and the Son, when we are grateful for what it means for us and we gladly accept it as so, then darkness is vanquished from our consciousness and the wonder of His light begins to shine.
[“The one who fears is not yet perfected in love”]