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Fear or Freedom


“It is the things in ourselves that we refuse to face that have the greatest potential to tyrannize us. To deny the reality of fears is not to know ourselves, and then we risk becoming possessed by that which we refuse to face.” 

David Benner


What are you afraid of? What fears paralyze you, making you immobile, unable to move forward? What fears wake you up in the middle of the night and cause great anxiety, preventing you from falling back asleep? Fear can be debilitating, causing us to disobey God. But what if our greatest fears are the place of our greatest intimacy with God? 

I had a long list of fears before going on a World Vision prayer initiative to Syria, a few months preceding the terrorist attack of 9/11. It was the first time I would travel by myself internationally before I met up with five other unknown teammates. My biggest fear was having a hotel room by myself. God gave me an encouraging promise prior to leaving. When you face your fears, freedom is found. My nights alone in the hotel room became the most intimate times with the Lord. I danced, worshipped, wept, listened to God’s voice, and poured out my heart to Him in a journal. 

Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher, and theologian, says that “fear is often a substitute for guilt” and “guilt always results in an inhibition of love.” The guilty person feels they deserve punishment for their sin.  

God’s solution to our fear is His love, which meets us right where we are. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). As we surrender to God’s love and choose vulnerability by confessing our sin, repenting, asking and receiving God’s forgiveness, then our guilt washes away. 

Jesus, and His perfect love, are the antidote to fear. The next time you experience fear, I encourage you to let your gaze fall upon the face of Jesus. Instead of focusing on your fear or the guilt that is causing you to fear, encounter freedom by surrendering yourself to Jesus and His unconditional love for you. 

“The courage to face unpleasant aspects of our inner self comes from feeling deeply loved. Our gaze needs to go back and forth between divine love and our fears. We gain courage to face our fears as we soak in love.” 

David Benner 

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. What is your greatest fear? 

  2. How can you receive God’s perfect love and find freedom from your fears? 

Image by Petra from Pixabay

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