BEAUTY FOR ASHES: FEAR
I remember the first time I was crippled with fear.
I was standing on the edge of a diving board with my swimming instructor prompting me to forward dive into the water. I wanted to execute massive cannon balls off the diving board, as I had seen others do, but until I cleared the ‘dive test,’ I wouldn’t have access to the diving board.
I had cleared the previous swimming tests to get to this point, why was I so afraid of the final test? If I faced my fear, I would have the liberty to jump off the diving board, unlimitedly.
With my swim instructor encouraging me, I took a deep breath, bent my knees in preparation for the dive and launched forward into the water clenching my eyes tightly closed. The water was smooth and refreshing as I dove to the depths of the deep end.
I thought to myself, “That wasn’t that bad.”
As I came to the surface, I was met with clapping and cheering from my swim instructor. “Great job, Reilly!” he applauded me.
Facing my fear positioned me to conquer it.
My swim instructor put a waterproof blue band on my wrist indicating the authority I now had to jump off the board anytime I wanted to. I wouldn’t have to ask anyone for permission, I would just lift my wrist to the life guard as I climbed up those steps and confidently execute those cannon balls.
Fear is something I have dealt with in different capacities my whole life.
The fear of what others would think of me, fear of others rejecting me or not accepting me for who I was.
Fear manifested in my decision making as I allowed myself to be influenced and motivated by guilt to determine my choices. Fear never helped me, rather hindered me. Fear never liberated me, rather crippled me. Fear never empowered me, rather enslaved me.
Where did fear come from?
Where is its origin?
If you read the Bible, fear is first mentioned in Genesis 3:10 after Adam, Gods first human creation, sinned. Adam says, “I heard you (God) in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Up until this point, Adam was delegated authority by God to manage the Garden of Eden and everything living within it. God walked freely with Adam and his wife Eve, in perfect love. So perfect, that there was no impurity, lust, or shame, because Genesis 2:25 says, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
1 John 4:18, “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.”
The Bible also says in 1 John 4:16 that “God is love.”
Therefore, we could say 1 John 4:18 like this, “There is no fear in God. But perfect God drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in God.”
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were divorcing love and marrying fear.
Fear is the byproduct of death, that is why God said to Adam in Genesis 2:16 and 17, “And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Fear entered into the world the moment sin entered into the world. Death entered into the world the moment sin entered into the world.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Adam and Eve had only experienced life and love up until this point. Spirit (heart), soul (emotions, mind, will, intellect) and body (flesh), they were perfect, holy, and righteous up until this point.
God Kingdom, which included the Garden of Eden and the current earth we live in, operates under a principle called ‘seedtime and harvest.’
What is seedtime and harvest?
Genesis 8:22 says, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Why is this?
When God was creating the earth, He said in Genesis 1:11 and 12, “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.”
You may have heard people talk about something called ‘karma.’ But the reality is, karma is not real. People are calling Gods principle of seedtime and harvest, ‘karma,’ because God set this earth up with a principle that causes you to reap what you have sown.
What you sow will grow.
Adam and Eve sowed sin and reaped fear and death. That is why if someone was to rob a bank, they reap the punishment and consequence of jail or prison. By choosing to rob a bank, they are really choosing a sentence.
Adam and Eve were rejecting God, who was love and life and choosing fear and death. I have fallen in the same footsteps as my ancestors Adam and Eve, and so have you.
Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Everyone of you that are reading this blog have done a minimum of one of the above sinful actions. Whether you’ve hated someone, been drunk, thought or engaged in premarital sex with the opposite or same sex, been jealous or acted out in a fit of anger, you are guilty of choosing fear and death by sinning. If you don’t identify with one of these actions, then I bring to your attention the phrase, “And the like.” Therefore, this is not a complete list.
The beautiful thing about this love story betrayal is that God, who is love, truly exemplified to the earth what love looks like.
He showed the world what true love really means. 1 John 4:18 says, "that there is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
True loves image is Jesus.
Colossians 1:15 says, “The Son (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
God had His one and only Son, Jesus, come into the earth as a human, born of the virgin Mary, to bare the punishment of mankind’s sins upon Himself so that fear and death could be overcome.
Our sins sentence was hell for eternity. But because of Gods great love for us, Jesus chose to release us from our sentence of Hell by becoming Sin on the cross, dying a criminal’s death, and going to Hell on our behalf. He didn’t deserve this punishment. He sowed life and love from the moment He came into the earth. He was God. Holy, perfect, and righteous. But, His love for us drove Him to the cross.
Once the sins of the world were paid in full by the pure and holy blood of Jesus, God raised Him from the grave as an expression of VICTORY over death. Now, to anyone that believes and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be saved, forgiven of their sins, and receive a 'sentence' of eternity in Heaven.
If you would like to receive Jesus, who the Bible says is the Way the Truth and the Life, as your personal Savior, experience the forgiveness of your sins, and be restored to love and life in God, say this prayer out loud:
“Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe Jesus died for my sins. God, I am sorry for all my sins and I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead and I say with my mouth Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Now I am saved, I have chosen life and I am Heaven bound. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Now you have divorced fear and death and married love and life through believing in Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.” You now have the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of love, power and self-control.
The Holy Spirit also produces these kinds of fruits in your life according to Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Adam and Eve chose death from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Jesus chose death upon the cross (made from a tree), so that we could be restored back to new life. Planted back into Gods Kingdom, choosing life, and love.
Jeremiah 17:7 and 8, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Now that I am a believer in Jesus Christ, there have been times in which I have been afraid.
But Gods Words encourage me, strengthen me, and empower me. Just like my swim instructor was telling me, “Reilly, you can do it,” when I was on the edge of that diving board, God is speaking to me from the Bible, “Little children, you can be certain that you belong to God and have conquered them, for the One who is living in you is far greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Allow Gods Word to be the foundation of your life, emotions, feelings, decisions, motivations, choices, priorities, relationships, strength, peace, joy, and purpose.
Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, empower you, and enable you to overcome any lingering fear you may be experiencing.
The Holy Spirit on the inside is saying, Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Your victory over fear doesn’t come in your own strength. Just like Adam and Eve could not cover up, hide from, or reverse the consequences of their sin through their own works/efforts. They tried to by sewing fig leaves over themselves, but God knew that plants could not solve their spiritual death and fear problem. Only the blood of the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus, could wash, cleanse, and forgive them of their sins.
The Lamb of God overcame fear, sin, and death. And HE lives on the inside of you! Therefore, YOU have overcome fear, sin, and death!
Revelation 12:11, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."
Take courage today knowing that you have the Holy Spirit of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, courage, boldness and strength living on the inside of you to enable you to conquer all those fears!