Articles

Fixing our Fears

‘‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’’

The Greek root word φόβος [‘phóbos’] is suffixed to the end of a word and explains diverse types of fears people encounter in life. These “fears” differ according to our diverse demographic and social conditions. In Africa there are many who suffer from the spirit of Wiccaphobia,fear of witches and witchcraft; in the West, there are those who suffer from the spirit of Islamophobia, fear of Muslims and the Muslim culture (especially after the 9/11 attack). There is also Agyrophobia, fear of streets or crossing the street, which might not be a challenge for those who are accustomed to walking on the roads and cross the streets of London (sometimes while the light is still red for pedestrian). While some foreigners in the UK are caught with spirit of Anglophobia, the fear of the British culture; some British are ‘Xenophobic,’ fearing strangers or foreigners. Xenophobia is increasing in many parts of Europe, more especially in Germany because of the inflation migration caused, while on the other hand many people are suffering from the spirit of Teutophobia,  fear of German or German things. Probably these phobias enter our lives pertaining to incidents from our past experience. I don’t remember very well all my childhood exposures but for some reasons I used to have a fear of darkness, or Nyctophobia. There are countless types of phobias that takeover the lives of many people, but it is not my intention to make a list of them nor to explain about angst/anxiety nor to address any of these illusions, spiritual attacks or any psychological disorders. Merely, my intention is to examine through the lens of a select few scriptures how fear is interpreted contextually and complemented, and if I may, ignite the first candle in our struggle of putting the right thing in the right place.

Typically there are two kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible. The first one is healthy (productive) and other one is unhealthy (destructive). The former has positive consequence and  is identified with the “fear of the Lord.” The latter is attributed to a negative condition and it is implied in the scripture as “spirit of fear.” The God who said “fear” also said “fear not.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians about, “…perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The same author wrote to Timothy: “God has not given us the spirit of fear.” The God who said, ‘‘fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward;’’ He has also testified of/to Abraham, ‘‘I know that you fear God.’’ God encouraged the Israelites to possess the land by saying, “fear not, neither be discouraged’’ but he has also said to the same people ‘‘Fear the LORD your God and serve him.’’

As we continue reading through the pages of the Bible the message of “fear” covers a large space, however, it is addressed and interpreted differently depending on its context. It is emphasized that the object of our fear should be God, His spirit… Contrarily, we should not fear the Devil, his demons, his power, his works, etc. As the result of the fall of humanity, these two types of fear are confused and quite often we miss our objectives. Sometimes, we are scared of the things that we shouldn’t but we fail to fear and revere God. Not only are these two fear are confused and disordered but we fear the Lord in a wrong way. If we imagine God as a monster rather than considering Him as a loving father and honoring him in our daily life, then we are in the wrong camp, deceived by the Devil. The fact is He loved you and me till the cross and it is His pleasure to give us His kingdom. We are privileged to be His sons and daughters but He deserve the credit of being the father. Actually He questioned, “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” What a joy to call God “Abba, father” and what a privilege to serve and call Him master. Healthy, godly, and “perfect love” drives out ungodly and unhealthy fear, because there is no fear in love; ‘‘the one who fears is not made perfect in love.’’

  • [1] Luke 12:32
  • [2] 2 Cor. 7:1
  • [3] 1 Tim. 6:12
  • [4] Gen 15:1
  • [5] Gen. 22:12
  • [7] Deut. 10:20

 

Contributor: Pastor Fitsum Kebede recently moved from London to Los Angeles for his MA study in theology at Claremont School in California. He was formerly an Instructor at the Bible College in Addis Ababa.

Collector: Brother Ahadu Lakew from ACI Greater Los Angeles Area