Fear is a gift. Our capacity to fear is necessary for human survival and flourishing. It can protect and propel us to do what we never believed possible. Yet, not all fear is created equal. It can also devolve into something entirely other—a destructive force stealing our joy and hijacking our hopes. Unfortunately, most tragic of all is that often we are unable to discern the difference between fear as friend or foe. Why?
This latter kind of fear has an uncanny way of manipulating our perspective on life. Yes, if we let it, fear can literally alter the way we see, hear, and think. In so doing, we close ourselves off from the very people and experiences needed for our greatest happiness and thriving. While, for many, the surrendering of fear can be utterly overwhelming, the solution remains the same—we must simply ask God for a fresh revelation of His sufficiency and the necessary gift of courage that comes from this awareness.
Failure to surrender such fears to God will end up jeopardizing—not protecting—our well-being. Hence, fear moves from friend to foe when we allow our various cares and concerns to eclipse our vision of God’s faithfulness (Matt. 6:26-30). Ultimately, such fear grows from the inner choice to focus more on the threatening possibilities of our problems than our actual experiences of God’s loving care in times past. And it is precisely this choice that leads us into either bondage or freedom.
Freedom is never free; it always requires the facing of our fears. Therefore, the greater the freedom the greater the fear we face. As Christians, we should beware of becoming too comfortable in our present level of freedom. For instance, after we initially come to faith in Christ we discover amazing freedom from the fear of death as He imparts His tangible love and eternal life deep in our souls. Yet, Christ calls us to even greater freedom. How?
He asks us to surrender not only future fears but also our more present crippling ones like: disapproval, failure, emotional and physical pain, financial hardship, and loss of loved ones. Thus, by surrendering these fears, God begins the process of dispelling the paralyzing terror and anxiety they have wrecked in our lives.
Freedom Through Surrender
Hence, Christian faith is an ongoing choice of surrender—intentionally entrusting our fears to God’s loving care. And once we’ve gained a renewed vision of His faithfulness, our fears are seen in a totally new light. Yes, Fear’s facade will eventually flicker, fade, and soon fly away. Next week we talk about what God’s provision actually looks like in our everyday lives.
What Do You Think?
What fears have you been most hesitant to surrender to God? How would freedom from these fears affect your life?
♦ To see the poem this post is based on, click here.