TEXT: 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

All of us have experienced fear. “From the cradle to the grave, fear casts its baleful shadow.” Let’s talk about fear today and how God wants us to be free from it.

I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FEAR?

Examining every verse in the Bible that mentioned fear, I discovered that the Bible speaks of fear in three different ways:

1. First, there is a HOLY fear.

We read in Deuteronomy 6:13, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve Him.”

We’re commanded to fear God and serve Him. We’re to fear his wrath on sin if we do not accept His free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but if we’ve been saved, we have a natural fear of disappointing our wonderful, loving Lord. That is, we’re no longer afraid OF Him, but we fear hurting our loving Father.

Illus. – A young girl was out with some friends and they were tempting her to go to a bar and get drunk; but she wisely refused to give in to the temptation.

One of her friends taunted her, “What’s the matter? Are you afraid your parents will find out and hurt you?”

She said, “No, I’m afraid my parents will find out and I will hurt THEM.”

And so it is with believers and God.

2. There are also HEALTHY fears.

During the Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s sounds good, but there’s one thing wrong with it: IT’S NOT TRUE! Jesus taught us that there are some things we OUGHT to fear. He said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In addition, there are always certain normal fears we need to survive in life. As long as there are rattlesnakes, poisonous spiders, scorpions, electricity, politicians, and other things that can hurt us, fear can be a HEALTHY matter.

• A SMART ELECTRICIAN had better have a healthy fear of electricity if he’s going to make it home for supper.

• An EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE TECHNICIAN had better have a fear of explosives if he wants to see another birthday.

• As PARENTS, we teach our children to have a fear of certain things that can burn, that can shock, and that can cut, that can break bones.

3. Besides healthy fears, and holy fear, the Bible also speaks of HURTFUL fears.

Paul told Timothy in our text in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

There’s the FEAR OF THE LORD and there are NATURAL FEARS. What is hurtful is a “SPIRIT of fear”…when fear controls us instead of us controlling our fears. The spirit of fear is when we allow ourselves not to trust in God as we face the future and the cousin of fear is worry.

WHY do we worry?—Because of FEAR of something in the future that we’re not sure of the outcome. If we allow ourselves to be beset with a SPIRIT of fear, our fears will victimize us, neutralize us, and immobilize us. We will be enslaved by our fears.