Pressure Points: Fear

Immediately after Eve and Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Bible says that their eyes were opened; they had an immediate awareness of their current state. Their physical exposure led to shame, and that shame led them to cover-up their bodies using fig tree leaves.  We note then that whenever man feels exposed, there is a tendency to “cover up” – sometimes with excuses; sometimes with lies; sometimes with deceitfulness; and sometimes by deflecting….or some combination of these.

The moment that Adam heard God moving in the garden, fear gripped his heart. So, he and Eve hid themselves among the trees.  Apparently they didn’t know enough to know they couldn’t hide from God.  Adam openly admitted to God that he was afraid saying, “I heard you coming and I was afraid”. Fear generally causes a fight or flight response which can cause us to act in ways that really don’t make a lot of sense.

When you search the scriptures, you learn that almost every one of the patriarchs and pillars of the Bible that we hold in high esteem had their own bout with fear – from Adam to Abraham; from Abraham on down the line to the apostles. This lets us know that fear is a part of the human condition – it is a natural instinct. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we know that fear can become unhealthy and damaging for a life that should be guided by faith. When you are making decisions out of fear, you’re out of alignment with God’s Word and His will for you. You may even be delaying the blessings of God in your life because of fear. Think about the Israelites and the wilderness.

We all face turbulent times in our lives; times when our very foundation feels unstable causing us to doubt whether God is there. If we think it through, we don’t doubt because God has ever failed to deliver on His Word, we doubt when we take our eyes off our stabilizer, Jesus Christ. When that happens, your faith wanes and fear rises.

Your level of fear is an indication of your level of faith.  If your fear level is high, it is a warning sign that your faith and trust in God needs serious attention. The person who lives in fear hasn’t allowed the fullness of God’s perfect love into their lives.  That love expels fear.  If we firmly believe in that perfect love, then why would we ever fear what man or circumstances can do to us?(Hebrews 13:5b-6) ”…For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.” 6 That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.”

The key to overcoming fear, then, is total and complete trust in God and His love for us. Trusting God is a refusal to give in to fear. It is turning to God even in the darkest of times and trusting Him to make things work out for your good. This trust comes from knowing God and believing that He is good, even when things don’t go quite the way we envisioned. He is always good.

I encourage you to not let fear be your first response to adverse situations in your life. Although it may be a human instinct, we can bring it under the subjection of the Holy Spirit that is inside of us. If you find yourself living in fear, immerse yourself in God’s love.