Have you heard the acronym often given for FEAR? False Evidence Appearing Real. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgement and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
If we haven’t been given a spirit of fear why do we feel afraid at times and why is it that over and over it’s stated in scripture “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid”. Experience itself tells us that we are given one opportunity after another to be afraid in life but what I realized as I meditated on the above scripture and thought about other golden nuggets throughout God’s Word, was that God is simply not the source of that fear and that He enables us to overcome it as we choose to look to Him.
As I reflected further, I came to the understanding that just because God has not given us a spirit of fear that doesn’t mean that something or someone else isn’t willing and able to offer it to us.
Fear is certainly alive and well but whether we give into the fear…we’ll, that’s depends entirely on us and who we believe God is for us in our circumstances. Will we allow Him to be our continual strength and peace through it all? Our decision with regard to who we will look to as our source of courage becomes our saving grace in overcoming it.
The Bible tells us that God is love and that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:16-18). We have the ability to choose to take on fear when it comes or we can take into our hearts the greater truth. That greater truth being who God is for us when fear makes its way to our minds and the realization that it’s up to us to decide what we will do with those thoughts and whether we will allow them to travel from our first line of defense (our thought life) to find lodging into our hearts (what we ultimately believe).
I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) which says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Fear can only take up residence in our hearts if we choose to dwell on the thoughts fueling our fears instead of on the goodness of the one who overcomes them on our behalf by our coming into communion with His presence, believing whole heartedly in His good intentions toward us and by relying on His unfailing and unconditional love evidenced through the work of Christ on the cross for our benefit.
Fear is only “false evidence appearing real” when you know who it is that is on your side. Otherwise, that little acronym holds zero power and fear does indeed appear and become very real. Our hope for a calm mind comes when we choose to turn from fear to faith in a trustworthy and faithful God knowing we stand securely by His side at all times.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”