Reasons to Believe

Conquering Wrong Fear

There’s a reason why the most repeated commandment in the Bible is, “Do not fear!” People tend to be afraid. We fear losing loved ones, money, opportunities, our reputation, our good health, or, even worse, our sense of belonging and significance in relationships. Instead of living in the grip of God’s grace, we often live in the grip of fear. Thus, we become too fearful to be completely truthful about God. Let me try to unpack how this spiritual principle works on a cosmic scale.

God has designed in the structure of creation a direct correlation between faith and truth. Faith is the mechanism by which we access truth. Faith connects our minds to reality.

Fear, by contrast, disconnects people from an essential view of reality. Fear blinds us to the perspective-giving truth that God has our backs. The Creator who knows the name of every star (Psalm 147:4) and who keeps accurate count of every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30) is guiding our steps and holding our hand (Psalm 37:23–24).

God knows we have been sent out into danger. According to the Scriptures, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Jesus openly announced that He Himself sends us out as “sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16).

How then can we go out without being paralyzed by fear? How can we find the moral courage that we, as apologists and evangelists, need?

The answer, paradoxically, is that we can conquer wrong fear with right fear. Right fear is the kind that fears the Lord. Right fear is honest reverence—utmost, true respect. Notice, the fear of the Lord is the beginning, not of courage, but of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).

God does not require us to leap out in reckless risk. On the contrary, God commands us to “be still, and know” that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Knowledge of the Lord, right fear of the Lord, grounds our faith in truth. Truth then sets us free to rise up in moral courage and boldly say no to wrong fear.

Sarah Sumner

Subjects: General Apologetics

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