Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of God
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning (not the middle, or the end) of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One (Jesus) is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10 (my notes added)
The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)—and that Spirit, which He has given us, is Christ Himself in our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 3:16). As Christians, Jesus is infused with our spirits, once we believe He has forgiven us of our sins (see Romans 6). The devil, however, has been using the incorrect notion of, “Be very afraid of God,” to torment Christians for centuries; and he does this in our minds. He tries to get us to believe God is not happy with us, or that He is disappointed in us, or that He doesn’t really love us—as if His love is conditional and based on our lack of bad behavior combined with our overabundance of good works.
Satan wants us to think we must do more, and keep doing more, in order to make sure God doesn’t stay mad at us. Friend, God is not mad at you. You are no surprise to Him! He knew what He was getting when He decided to create you, and He has a great plan for your life! But the devil’s goal is to attempt to keep you fearful and frustrated by constantly striving to achieve more good works, and produce more good behavior, as if you are making “deposits” into God’s bank account—and in the back of your mind, the enemy wants you to believe you can one day cash out.
To counteract this demonic cycle of lies, all we need to do is go to God’s Word and see what He says about His love for us. HIS LOVE IS GOOD! It’s unlike anything we can imagine in our finite brains! Is His love based on anything we do? Obviously it’s not, because the Bible says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” and that, “this is how He demonstrated His love” (see Romans 5:8). So if He loved me before I even placed my faith in Jesus, what makes me think that anything I do, or don’t do, afterwards, would make Him love me more?! He loves us all equally–believer or not–He just wants us to be forgiven. That, we must choose.
Since we are talking about not being afraid of God, what does love have to do with that? John, the self-proclaimed, “disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23), asserts, “God’s love for us is perfect,” that, “there is no fear in His love,” and, His “perfect love casts out all fear because fear has to do with punishment” (see 1 John 4). John’s last statement, “fear has to do with punishment,” ties this all together!
As a Christian, because of our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are no longer going to be eternally punished by God, no matter what we do or don’t do (see Romans 3:21-31). The devil, also known as “the accuser,” (see Revelation 12:10), doesn’t want you to believe this amazing truth. He knows if he can get you to become petrified of God, even as a believer, (and he does this by accusing you in your mind, all day long, of lies), he will then be able to accomplish one of two things in your life:
1. Because you are so afraid of God, you’ll work harder and harder to do religious stuff and “behave,” in order to make sure God isn’t mad at you. You will constantly be trying to tip the scale over into your favor through church works, begging for forgiveness, trying to keep track of all your sins so you can be sure to ask for forgiveness of each one, and repent–and, you’ll constantly be judging yourself on how well you’re doing at this (and you’ll also keep track of how well others are doing, compared to you). But deep down, you know that nothing you’re doing—or not doing—can possibly make God happy. This fear of God is based on what you do, not on what Jesus has done for you.
2. Because you are so afraid of God, you’ll begin to ignore Him, and eventually you’ll give up on Him altogether because you’ve tried so hard to “be good,” and you never seem to be able to pull it off. Plus, the hyper-critical Christians always point out what all is wrong with you, rather than Who is right in you. And instead of bringing their incorrect opinion of you to God, so you can get His opinion, you just believe them. You can never live up to your own expectations, or theirs. Deep down, you know that nothing you’re doing—or not doing—can possibly make God happy. This fear of God is based on what you do, not on what Jesus has done for you.
Both ways of fear eventually create depression, anxiety, and then lastly, anger. For #1, anger towards those who aren’t “good like you.” For #2, anger towards those who “think they’re holier than you.”
There is a better way! A way of living a fearless life! A life based on courage and confidence in knowing who you really are at your spiritual core! Jesus! This is why Jesus said He is the way! (See John 14:6). This courage and confidence comes from Christ in us, coming out of us, strengthening us spiritually! (See Philippians 4:13).
What happens after we have this supernatural epiphany is this: we no longer focus on what we do to get right and stay right with God, because we know that we are right, by grace through simple faith in Jesus as the truth! (See Ephesians 2:8,9). After this revelation is set in our souls—GOD’S PERFECT LOVE FOR US IN CHRIST—we become BOLD Christians because we understand that everything we are is Christ! OH MY GOSH THIS IS GRRRRRRRREAT NEWS!!!
This new bravery sky-rockets our good works, correct attitudes, and right behaviors, ALL BECAUSE WE AREN’T AFRAID OF HIM! These actions and mindsets then become authentic in His grace alone! If you really think about it, what kind of father wants their kids to be afraid of him? Not a good one! And our God, is a good, good Father!
So today, my friends know this: If you are looking for rest from fear, please begin to recognize that Jesus is your rest. It was Jesus who satisfied the wrath of the Father, once and for all, at the Cross! (See Hebrews 10:10). And now, because of your faith in Him, He is your fearless life! HE IS! Christ in you! Jesus finished everything required by God for you, for free! Enjoy it, live Him out, and don’t be afraid! (See John 19:30, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 4:11).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a good dad. Thank you for loving me, disciplining me, guiding me, protecting me, and for showing me that I don’t ever have to be afraid of you. I’m so grateful for you being my dad! Help me to be a good father, just like you. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have been lied to, and taught wrongly about you; for those who think they must constantly hold their heads low, be meek, or think twice about asking you for anything—REJUVENATE THEM WITH YOUR LOVE! Make them BRAVE, make them CONFIDENT, show them they can approach you BOLDLY, because of Jesus! Make them CARING LIKE YOU! Help them to understand just how WIDE and DEEP is your graceful, unconditional love! MAKE THEM NOT AFRAID ANY LONGER, BUT INSTEAD, GIVE THEM YOUR GRACEFUL STRENGTH TO EXUDE JESUS CHRIST! If you can do this for me, you can do this for anyone. Help them. Please. Help them to change the world with this love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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