October 1981

I Will Not Fear

Robert F. Turner

Fear dominates many people. It is their only consideration in deciding. The one talent man laments, "I was afraid" and promptly starts digging (Mt. 25:25). Gideon releases the fearful (Judges 7:3). No concern for honor duty, or loyalty; they are afraid. SO they ran home! Fear before duty is cowardice and produces an ugly mess in both actions and character. It leaves "a faintness in their hearts... and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; ... and they shall fall when none pursueth ... and shall have no power to stand before your enemies" (Lev. 26:36-37).

Many wish they were fearless. They imagine that is the fabric of heroes. It is not so. Fearlessness is not a virtue. It requires no character to face what you do not dread. Doubtless one who feels no fear of all that man can do to you is either grossly ignorant or stupid. Paul endured threat of death, jail, beatings, stoning, and social rejection. You might think him an iron man, yet he says, "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling" (1 Cor. 2:3).

A man is challenged. His mouth is dry and his heart pounds. A cold sensation spreads over his body as a knot balls up in his stomach. His muscles tremble. He has a strong inclination to be somewhere else. BUT he steps out and meets his giant. The brave man feels the same fear as the coward; his actions are without regard to his fear.

Courage is the sterling attribute — the alternate response to fear. It is strength to face the detestable and to do the dreadful. It chooses right in spite of consequences. It puts duty before fear. But how do we conquer fear? Three things will help.

I. FEAR TEMPERS FEAR. A small man will not back down from Hercules the Bully. Why? He is afraid! He fears seeing disappointment or scorn in the eyes of his sweetheart. The bully's bruises are insignificant by comparison. "And fear not them which kill the body ...but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt. 10:28). Fear of man is diminished by a greater fear of God.

II. FAITH PUTS FEAR IN PERSPECTIVE "Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith?" (Mt. 8:26). Faith sees the rest of the picture. It sees a world ruler back of the storm. It sees beyond the moment — torture and death — to a resurrection (Heb. 11:35). It sees the invisible companion when we are alone (2 Tim. 4:16,17 Heb. 11:27), and our helper when we are helpless (Heb. 13:6)

III. LOVE DISPLACES FEAR (1 Jn. 4:18) Fear is the initial, elemental motivation; love--a rational sense of values--is the mature motivation. Love grows, matures, and displaces fear. Fear is no longer the deciding factor. Eventually, if there were no hell, love would still obey. Love of truth demands truth; love of God compels worship; love of right requires righteousness.

"The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do" (Heb. 13:6)

Joe Fitch; 6326 Peacepipe, San Antonio, TX.