The Fear of God or the Fear of Man - David Mitts

The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. (Exo 1:17)

Click here to listen to "Fear of God or Fear of man"

Faith is the framework that we live our lives from.  Everyone is of faith. Faith comes to us based on what we listen to in our hearts or what some call our subconscious mind. 

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)

What does it mean that faith comes by hearing? Hearing what? And how is that hearing shaped?
When we decide to act where do we go to decide what to do and how to do it? What is possible for us based on that?

I recently had a bike accident where I lost focus and rode off the trail into a mini ravine and smashed into the vines and thistles.  Once I recovered my presence of mind, I had to act.  At the moment of the accident, I don’t recall any thoughts or voices.  It was like faith ceased for a moment. 

Looking back, it was truly a God moment. I was flying through the air off the bike into the vines, thorns and next to a tree.  I got cut up pretty bad and bruised deeply in my shoulder which I must have landed on.  It was like I blacked out for that space of time.

Then, the conversation of faith restarted. I pulled the bike back up on the road and began searching for my phone which I noticed was missing. I also lost and haven’t found a lens from my glasses. I didn’t fully realize how messed up I was until I finally reached home.

What I want to discuss though is the voice that empowers us or limits us and where if lives.  When I arose from the fall people had gathered to see if I was OK. I was a little disoriented but assured them I was OK. After looking unsuccessfully for my glasses, I called Lisa, updated her on the fall and that I was basically OK, I climbed back on the bike and hobbled home.

What caused me to get back on? What is the voice of faith? What motivated us in our faith and how can we be transformed or limited in our faith?

If I hadn’t gotten back on the bike and decided that biking wasn’t for me, what voice would have made that decision? Fear.

Fear is a very powerful emotion.  It forms much of our faith.  Fear affects us in many ways most of which are now automatic and transparent to our lives.  Fear influences our identity.  We think of some our abilities and the things we think about life and what we can or can’t do often through the lens of fear.

Scripture warns us of the impact of fear towards our ability to believe and act.
Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you."(Isa 35:4)

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (Joh 14:27)

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. (Psa 34:4)

In these verses and many more, the Lord is clearly admonishing us not to fear. Clearly fear is an impediment to our walk.
Yet what is also true is that these and many more verses tell us that the reason we can be from fear is because of our trust in the Lord.

So the question is then, is fear from God or is it just the byproduct of our fallen nature? The answer I believe is both.  Fear itself is an important emotion.  Fear teaches us about boundaries, safe and unsafe zones.  Through fear, we learn that certain things are dangerous.  You can bet that I will treat that section of trail with more attentiveness and my whole bike experience will be more vigilant and alert. What motivates that change in perspective? Fear, what I would call a healthy fear.

Fear teaches us about boundaries. So what is wrong with the fear that the Bible tells us not to have?
This is a different kind of fear, in that it conflicts with the will of God.  There are true limitations, boundaries that we need to honor and fear. How do we know the difference?

I think the key is the atmosphere of the fear.  A healthy fear teaches us to respect the truth and to adjust our lives to that truth. In that way, a healthy fear brings peace.

An unhealthy fear or rather an unhealthy response to fear, causes us to want to take control of whatever it is we fear.  We don’t actually learn boundaries but seize territories.  An unhealthy fear leaves us insecure rather than teach us and give us peace.

In this way, unhealthy fear controls a segment or an area of our life.  This is what the Bible calls a “spirit” of fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Ti 1:7)

A spirit has intelligence. A spirit wants to inhabit a territory. A has authority and craves power. The spirit of fear possesses a segment of our life experience. In this way, we are no longer free to be who God has called us to be when the spirit of fear owns this area. The reason there is a contrast by Paul, between the spirit of fear and power, love and a sound mind is that the spirit of fear robs us of freedom in our lives. 

Also, notice that the spirit of fear is NOT given to us by God.  God is not the author of the spirit of fear.

The Apostle Paul was speaking about the Spirit of Fear in opposition to the call of God specifically on Timothy’s life.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, (2Ti 1:6-9)

The solution then to the spirit of fear is a greater fear, the Fear of the Lord.  You see Timothy and Paul and all of the early church faced death every day.  Of course, they experienced fear.  BUT they were not to be subject to the spirit of fear.

There is danger in all our lives.  Fear is going to come into all our experiences, but the question is will we live out of our faith and trust in God or out of the Spirit of fear?

Like, Paul, the key is to have greater fear which removes the spirit of fear.  That is the fear of the Lord. 

The fear of the Lord is really the recognition of the greatness and awesomeness of God and the reality of His power and His love for us in that love.  When we experience the fear of the Lord it brings us freedom and peace. We experience His love and His wisdom. The fear of reveals who He is and in that place the emotion of Fear reaches its true potential liberating our will from this world system into true shalom with God.

Next week we will look deeper into the fear of the Lord and see how it is actually the bedrock of our faith.  Truly it is the Fear of the Lord that banishes the spirit of fear and brings us into freedom.

Activation: We want to bring the spirit of fear out of hiding. Let’s pray and ask the Lord where in our lives that we have allowed the spirit of fear to take control of our choices and possibilities.  Let’s also press in for what lies, the spirit of fear uses to maintain control. Deceptive spirits always use lies because it is their native tongue and the goal is to keep us from trusting in God.  This is why Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. Ok, Let’s pray.


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