Fear is Not a Sin
There are many things that might make us fearful. Fear is a natural response that we were born with. While often times our phobias may be irrational and non-productive, other times our fear (or healthy appreciation and recognition of dangers) can help keep us safe. Ask anyone who has been in a life-threatening situation – a soldier, police officer, fire-fighter – and they’ll likely tell you that fear is what kept them alive.
During the CoronaVirus pandemic, fears can run high. But there’s a difference between mere fear and sheer panic. Much of the panic we’ve seen during this crisis has been stoked by the media and its tendency to promote a “gloom-and-doom” outlook. Sensationalism is an attention grabber, and it boosts ratings. Not to downplay the CoronaVirus outbreak, but things are seldom as terrifying as most media outlets make them appear. They never seem to give us the good news, only the bad.
Fear is a Liar
When used as a tool of the enemy, fear is always a means of manipulation. If we closely examine the source and motivation of the terrifying information that bombards us daily, it’s not hard to see when someone is trying to control us in some way. Fear is used to get people to buy things, make lifestyle changes, and do all sorts of things that we’re made to believe will benefit us…when it’s actually beneficial to the ones trying to scare us.
Example: the Fear-mongering of the anti-gun lobby. They use horrible stories of gun violence and gun-related crimes to scare people into thinking guns are the problem rather than the criminals who commit the awful acts. But criminals are law-breakers by definition, so more and more restrictive gun laws won’t stop them. Law-abiding citizens, however, become vulnerable without the freedom to protect themselves with firearms. Why would a government seek to disarm the populous? Look at the history of Germany and others who did the same. There’s always a reason, and it comes back to control. And if tyranny creeps in, the populous needs to be able to defend itself to remain free.
To those who would argue, “Aren’t you succumbing to fear yourself in buying a gun for protection?” Nope. Fear wasn’t my motivation. God gave me the good sense to recognize dangers and take precautions accordingly. I trust in God, but I also sleep with a loaded firearm next to the bed – and I sleep well knowing I’m secure. I don’t fear what may happen, but I instead know I’m as safe as I can make myself, and I let God deal with the rest. But hey, that’s me.
A truly manipulating fear is always presented as a warning, appearing to be on your side. But at its heart, it is twisted and evil, built on lies designed to control you. Satan uses this tool against us almost constantly. He will tell you the same lies over and over again, until you start to believe they’re true. We have to diligently guard ourselves against this kind of fear. It is only meant for our harm.
Fear is Not our Ruler
The Bible tells us in many places to guard against fear. But one of my favorite scriptures dealing with fear is found in 2 Timothy 1:7…
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”English Standard Version
And another is 1 John 4:18…
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”ESV
The spirit God gave us is one of love, not fear. And through Christ, we are perfected in that love that casts out all fear. Do we still become afraid at times? Of course, it is a fleshly response, but we can choose not to submit to that fear. Submit instead to God, surrendering our flesh – and our fears – and let Him handle all the things we can’t. Fear should not rule our lives if we have given that rule to the Lord.
As with any other fears, we should trust God to keep us in His hands and protect us from harm. At the same time, we should not ignore the good sense He gave us to do what we can to steer clear of dangers. In the midst of the current situation, many refer to it as “uncertain times.” Is it really? Are you allowing your circumstances to throw you into a paranoid frenzy? Are you in a state of panic at the news of the CoViD-19 outbreak? Or are you trusting God and simply doing what you can to avoid exposure?
A friend asked recently, “Where do you draw the line between fear and just taking precautions?” My answer involves other questions: As you take your precautions, what is your motivation? Is it fear? Is it an irrational fear that is more akin to panic and terror, or is it a healthy recognition and respect for danger? Not all fear is bad, and I’ve just illustrated the difference. I believe I can totally trust God in the middle of my circumstances and simultaneously act in good conscience to protect myself. Why should I ignore the sound mind He gave me? Go back to that verse in 2 Timothy…
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 Timothy 1:7 [ESV]
God gave us a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of SELF-CONTROL – or “a sound mind.” Don’t ignore the gifts He gave you, including your power over fear and your sense of intelligence. Don’t be motivated by fear, but act instead out of the power, love, and self-control God has equipped you with.
Precautions are fine within reason, but we ought not give in to fear. No virus, no tyrant, no threat or danger is bigger than our Creator. Greater is He that is in us than that which is in the world! Believe it. Live like it.