Christian Living: Fear–Healthy or Unhealthy?

God created fear as a healthy emotion. Satan perverted it.

Healthy fear alerts us to dangerous conditions and warns us to walk cautiously. It keeps us from reckless activity, wasteful spending, and foolish behavior. Fear motivates us to obey the law of the land, the laws of nature and the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. In its purest context, fear is a gift from God to the people He has perpetually loved.

Like so many other good things, Satan has twisted fear until it has become more a curse than a gift. When improperly utilized, fear narrows our horizons and prevents our reaching maximum potential. This is an unhealthy kind of fear. And this unhealthy fear blinds us to the truth, thus making us vulnerable to the empty promises of wicked men. It clouds our judgment, robs us of our boldness, our peace, and chokes out creativity and rational thought. Unhealthy fear even affects the relationships we have with others.

Fear is the emotion that arises from a real or imagined threat to our well-being, or that of someone we love. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them fear as a healthy emotion. Then sin entered the world and, with sin, the unhealthy variety of fear. No longer was it just a fear that kept us from doing wrong, but now it is a fear of getting caught after we have done something wrong.

If we truly love the Lord and walk hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ, unhealthy fear will be cast out. The epistle of First John, fourth chapter, eighteenth verse tells us that there is no fear in love, that “perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” This passage refers to unhealthy fear only. We are still to fear the Lord, but we are not to fear things like failure, rejection, loss of health, or death. Fears associated with such mundane things as these quickly turn into worry or anxiety. These will destroy our health and our peace.

There is a one-word antidote to fear: Faith.

Faith is also a gift from God. Without it, we cannot please God; and without it we cannot rise above the pitfalls of unhealthy fear. With it, we are conquerors over fear. Fear can no longer control us but our faith dominates all fear.

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