“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Isaiah 54:13,14)
Fear takes away our peace and removes our sense of safety. Fear imprisons our soul. It is a snare that takes away our freedom to think rightly and move freely. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Peter fell prey to a spirit of fear in his denial of Christ. He had been proud to align himself with Jesus when the multitudes flocked to Him; but now the tide had turned. The shepherd was smitten, and the sheep were scattered. The powers that be had rendered their verdict: the Nazarene preacher was a criminal – a blasphemer and transgressor, who deserved punishment. Association with such a figure could mean dire consequences. In the grip of what might happen to him, Peter could not take that chance, even if it meant turning his back on his lovely Lord.
Oh, what folly fear can bring us into! Jesus gave His disciples the secret for deliverance from such a handicap: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4,5) Only the fear of God can displace the fear of man. Only having to answer to God will remove the fear of having to answer to any man. Better the body be killed than the soul be cast into hell.
Being ruled by fear is no small thing in the sight of God. Fear is as powerful a motivator as hatred, anger, or lust. It can keep us from doing right and drive us into many an evil path. The voice of fear can drown out the voice of God. Fear can cause us to turn our backs on God and good men who have been blacklisted by the powers that be. Fear can keep our lives small, and under the tight control of the dictates of a tyrant.
We all face fear in our life. It is not a sin to be afraid; it is a sin to be controlled by fear. Jesus was tempted with fear; but He overcame His fear, and calls us to be overcomers. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:7,8)
Don’t let fear be your teacher. Learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of fear. All God’s children are taught of Him. And because they are listening to Him they have great peace. They are not intimidated by the thought of what man can do to them. Bullies and tyrants lose their power when we know that God is for us. He knows every hair on our heads.
Even the most vulnerable lamb can be as bold as a lion in the face of every danger when they are under the Shepherd’s watchful care. Is Christ your Shepherd? Then don’t be afraid, even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Let God’s perfect love for you cast out all fear.