I would like to use this pandemic to explain the biblical topic of “fear.” I’ve heard many Christians talk about fear during this time. They say, “As Christians, we cannot live in fear.” They are right. There is much biblical support for this idea. Jesus says in Mark 5:36, “Do not fear.” 1 John 4:18 reads, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” And 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear.” There are more passages I could reference. These suffice to show that fear has no place in the Christian life.
However, there are also other passages where Christians are commanded to fear. The Proverbs say that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning knowledge” (Prov 1:7) and the “fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Prov 14:27). Ecclesiastes 12:13 reads, “Fear God and keep his commandments.” Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). How do we put this puzzle of fear together?
Moses gives us the answer to this dilemma. Listen to what he says: “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin” (Ex 20:20). In the same passage we are told that we should not fear and that we should fear. Is this a contradiction? No. What this means is that we are not to fear circumstances—COVID-19, death, financial distress, suffering—but God alone—esteem him, honor him, praise him, adore him.
What it is that we fear is that which ultimately controls us. That place of ultimate allegiance is a place that is reserved for God alone. Live life fearlessly by fearing God alone.