Many children of God still live in fear despite being delivered from the clutches of fear. To come out of this fear, we should be aware of the tricks of the evil one. Looking at the Old Testament, we see people living in terror all the time. Knowing how God has delivered us from those terrors will help us do away with those fears. In those days, people were afraid of God to the extent that they wouldn’t even dare utter His name out loud but only write the name Yahweh in their scrolls. As a result, the Holy God who has enormous power in Him was unable to spend time with His beloved people.
Fear Travels Faster
Initially, God walked beside Adam and Eve, but it did not last long. They sinned against God, and sin terrorized them into discontinuing their relationship with God. Ultimately sin separated them from God, and they came out of His Holy place. Thereafter, Cain murdered his brother Abel and feared safety for his life but God still gave him His protection. After some time, a decedent of Cain named Lamech killed a man for wounding him and claimed the same protection assured to Cain and multiplied the vengeance to seventy-seven times.
Lamech said to his wives,Genesis 4:23-24 (NIV)
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.
Thus, the fear of death increased daily and terrorized the people. As sin entered people’s hearts, they found it difficult to commune with the Holy One. When God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai, He asked Moses to instruct people not to come near the mountain or touch anything on it. As they were toiling on the earth for their livelihood, they simultaneously feared death. There is hostility everywhere, man against man and nations against nations, and people seldom find peace. Adding fuel to this situation, the sin that captured Adam and Eve enlarged its jurisdiction and contacted every man on the earth in different forms. The scripture says that the wages of sin are death and the people became slaves to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15).
Fear Done Away
…having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.Colossians 2:14-15 (NIV)
After delivering the people from the fear of death, God gave them sonship through Jesus who reconciled them with their Father. God set the people free from fear and adopted them as His children. God asked His children to spread His love to the ends of this world so that no one should perish during the second coming of Jesus (Matthew 24:14). Jesus asks us to tell others about the reconciliation with their Father through Him. The reconciliation is not happening now as it has already been done. We should only make people aware of this truth that God teaches His children to love Him by removing their fear.
Because of people who misused their freedom in Christ to lie against the Holy Spirit, the wrath of God came upon them, and they died. The same fear that haunted David and his men who witnessed the death of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6) haunted the people who were present at the time of the demise of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). The couple lied to the Holy Spirit because they did not know Him. They knew people who knew Holy Spirit and imitated their actions to please the disciples and the believers. People often lie to the Holy Spirit to prove themselves as righteous in front of their congregation. Their selfish act affects the spreading of the Good News in many ways, but they never bother about the repercussions.
In the early church, only the disciples were spreading the Good News, and the Lord added to the number daily of those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). The early church members spent their time praising God and enjoying the favour of the people. They never ventured to spread the Gospel as the disciples were the sole missionaries. Rather they started spreading fear by telling the people about the wrath of God and the horrible death of Ananias and Saphira.
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.Acts 5:5 (NIV)
Hypocrisy makes people face the wrath of God, and some use that and tell others about the punishment for hypocrisy and scare them to stay away from God completely. Covering up our mistakes by telling lies affects the spread of the Gospel in many ways. We cannot hold back our words, and our words spoken once goes on to cause great damage. It will stop the spread of the love of God and instil confusion and fear in the hearts of the believers.
Some people promote fear in the hearts of believers through false teaching. Giving tithe and attending the Sunday services will bring them blessings, and peace is the most common false teaching that is prevailing today. Prosperity Gospel misguides the people to conform to the pattern of this world. When a person comes to God only for worldly blessings, his soul thirsts for the word of God. The absence of the word of God creates fear in a person despite the wealth he accumulates.
We are all set free from the bondage of law to serve the Lord in spirit. If people start to serve God genuinely, the leaders might lose their hold on them. Hence they lead them back to the law. Law helps us to identify our sins, and the outcome of sin makes people fear God instead of loving Him.
This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.Galatians 2:4 (NIV)
Many attend the Sunday Services with the fear that God would smite them if they don’t and some go to the service to receive the blessing of God. Eventually, by attending Sunday services, we show the world the salvation we received, the greatest privilege one could ever receive. Likewise, Jesus asks us to remember His love and our forgiveness of sin by breaking the bread and blessing the wine.
Many believe that participating in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will cleanse them, and they will receive pardon for their sins. To strengthen this idea, Paul’s instructions to the erring church of Corinth keep threatening the believers with the consequence of consuming the bread and wine inappropriately (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). The fear of death again led people to slavery, not letting them worship their Savior freely.
That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 11:30 (NIV)
Jesus asks us to remember His sacrificial death and the blood He poured out for us to remind us that we are His forgiven children. Taking back the forgiveness freely given to us on the pretext of an unworthy manner of participation in the Lord’s supper does not rely on the love of God but rather instils fear in the hearts of the believers.
Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.1 Corinthians 11:32 (NIV)
Did Paul believe that an unworthy manner of participation in the Lord’s supper was the reason for sickness and death? Paul probably did not believe in what he said, but to discipline the believers who did not know the significance of the Lord’s supper. Further, he told them sickness and the fear of death might discipline them to enter His eternity. Paul was rather waiting for the members of the Corinth church to become obedient so that he could teach the precepts of God.
And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.2 Corinthians 10:6 (NIV)
Slaves To His Love
Our tongues ignite fire like matchsticks and our words spread fast like a forest fire, and nothing can put off its embers. God has empowered our tongues to influence others but when we ignite fear in one another, it spreads faster than fire. Then, should we not ignite the love of God in one another? Our hearts must be full of His love, and there should not be any space for fear to impart the love of God.
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.1 John 4:18 (NIV)
The mouth will speak what is in the heart. Let us spread only the love of God and leave everything else that causes fear and doubt in our minds and in others’ minds. God set us free not to become slaves again to fear but slaves to His love. He bought us with His precious blood. God delivered us from slavery to the fear of death to become His slaves free to speak of His love.