Two Sides of the Fear Coin

29 May

For the sake of simplicity, lets call the two basic types of fear good fear and bad fear.  The same Hebrew word, yārē, is used in the Old Testament for both.  Good fear comes in two forms:  1)  The fear of the Lord, and 2) The gift of fear that God gives us to protect us from danger.  

The fear of the Lord is “a very positive feeling of awe or reverence for God.” (The Complete Word Study Old Testament)  I have also read that it means a reverence for God and a hatred of sin. 

When we fear because we truly are in danger, that is the gift of fear.  This fear is not paralyzing, but energizing according to Gavin de Becker, the author of The Gift of Fear.  However, we can become like the boy who cried wolf, fearing so many things that we live in continual low-level anxiety and can’t respond correctly to the signals given to us by the gift of fear when it comes.

Bad fear is when we experience “emotional and intellectual anticipation of harm or what one feels may go wrong for him.” (TCWSOT) Much of our worry, anxiety, and fear is around what could happen in the future.  All of us fight the “what ifs” of life in the battlefield of our mind.  But Jesus tells us to live in the present in the Sermon on the Mount:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew 6:34 (KJ)

The Message Bible has a rendering of the verse that I need to have tatooed to the back of my hand so that I don’t forget it:

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Join me in seeking the Kingdom of God–first–this week, and asking God to help us live in the present.  Share with me how it goes, OK?

3 Responses to “Two Sides of the Fear Coin”

  1. Robin May 29, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the verse from the Message Bible….love it. I am the ultimate worrier and I should definitely have that tatooed all over me!! It’s amazing how we think we know a verse. We may memorize it and think we know it but are we actually living it? It is why the Word is so vital and needs to be read everyday and as often as possible so that we can actually assimilate it and take it on and walk in it. Thank God for His grace for us as we travel this road and learn, many times the hard way but we are learning and growing in Him! Love you Sue and miss you…

    • susanjean May 30, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      I read this in the Message Bible this morning: You’re fortunate if your behavior and belief are coherent…If you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe [insert your inconsistency here] then you know you’re out of line.
      I think the Bible gives us a chiropractic adjustment of the spirit if we allow it. I got interested in this topic because I am such a worrier. My belief and practice are still far apart, but I do see growth. Love you too!


  1. F.E.A.R. « Fearless - June 2, 2010

    […] that exactly what we do when we experience the bad fear I wrote about the other day?  False Evidence Appearing Real. I like that!  I did an object lesson […]

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