As a teenage I was confused by the phrase “Fear God”. As a new Christian I was celebrating my new found relationship with God as I realized the great love that God had for me. After all “perfect love drives out fear” (1 Jn 4:18).
In Luke 8:26-39 we read of those who were fearing Jesus. Firstly the demons who recognized Jesus’ authority over them, and secondly the people who recognized Jesus’ power. Here was a man who had authority over the spiritual world, and had greater power just in his words than a demon possessed man who could break chain with his bare hands.
The people’s fear came because they were relying on their own strength. And if their strength could not even secure a demonized man, how would they control Jesus.
Jesus came to make us fear-less. Not because we can claim victory over all things evil, but because Jesus has power and authority over all things, and has offered us freedom from the fear of death through his death in our place.
Ever been in a situation that fills you with fear? Not just a momentary adrenaline pump but a heart wrenching, nothing that can be done to make it any better situation? I have experienced this during a severe storm on Sydney Harbour in a small boat drifting toward rocks that were being smashed by waves. I was staring death in the face. Actually if we were able to step outside of our everyday life and look down upon our own situation we would realize that we are all in a dire situation. like the pigs we are heading for destruction. Our lives should be characterized by fear not of the unknown, but of the known.
But because of Jesus’ perfect love, fear itself is driven out. No matter what situation we find ourselves, we know that Jesus has already overcome the worst of our fears. We know the God of the universe and he has defeated even death itself.
(PS – knowing that there was nothing that I could do to save myself in that little boat I then started to pray. Fear drove me to prayer. What a wonderful experience it is to have to completely rely on God for deliverance, to place myself wholly in his hands. Obviously he saved me from that situation. If you want to know how you can ask me in person sometime)