Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25 NIV)
My childhood could be characterized in one word – fearful. I was afraid my father wouldn’t love me, afraid my mother would leave me, afraid of strangers, afraid of people with unpredictable behaviors (those who came out of the bar on the corner drunk, or sat in groups on the playground stoned), afraid of tough looking people who roamed the streets of Chicago, afraid of illness, afraid of tornadoes, afraid of bullies at school. Today’s verse strikes a chord in my heart – I was ensnared by fear of man – I was enslaved.
The contrast of verse 29:25, is safety trusting the Lord.
At seventeen, I placed my trust and future in the Lord. A rush of warmth, joy, and freedom filled me when I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. Anger dissipated almost immediately, and I was filled with a great sensation of being loved and accepted by God. My fears did not instantly subside, but their hold on me began to lessen.
As I grow in my understanding of God and my position as his child through Christ, there is less to fear. His love is not changeable (Psalm 136:26), his hand can protect me (Isaiah 41:10), his will is trustworthy for it has my best interests at heart (Romans 8:28).
As long as I live in this body, I am vulnerable to the temptation to fear. But in each situation, God is teaching me to trust him. He is calling me to fear him, rather than the circumstances which threaten to overwhelm. By placing faith in my loving Father in heaven, my heart and mind are redirected – anxiety is replaced by hope, peace, and joy.
When we face temptation to fear, let’s encourage one another with God’s word and be reassured.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)