Fear Has Been Defeated

Dec 4, 2022 256

The Nature of Fear

Fear has been defeated! While I totally believe that, we still have to live with fear in this world. I had an experience as a teenager that taught me something of the nature of fear.

When I was around 14 years old I went on a camp with a group of young people from church. Our tents were pitched some distance away from the toilets. Getting to the toilets involved a 10 minute walk along a track that went around a very steep and rugged hill. For safety, we would all walk together to the toilets every evening after dark before getting into our tents to sleep.

One evening, I stayed behind. I had decided to prank my friends. So, I climbed up around seven metres up the hill near the camp, hid behind some brush, and waited.

Sure enough, soon I spotted the flicker of flashlights in the distance, as my friends returned from the toilets. Soon I could hear them talking. It was then that I made my move.

Fear has been defeated!

I started rustling the foliage around me until the talking below me stopped, and then I started making low growls every now and then. When the flashlights shone up toward me, I stayed very still, and when the lights moved away I would move to another location and repeat my antics.

I could hear what my friends were saying below me; things like: “It’s a bear!” “It’s a wolf!” Both of these suggestions are highly unlikely in Australia. Only slightly more plausible were the ideas that it could be a dingo or a Tasmanian devil. Even a bunyip was suggested, a legendary man-eating beast in Australian lore. The more I carried on up on the hill, the wilder and less plausible the fears they conjured up. What was clear was that my friends below were terrified!

I milked their fear for all it was worth, until I heard someone say, “Does anyone have a gun?” At that point I went very, very quiet. I let the excitement settle down and waited until everyone had melted away to their tents.

And I’ve never done anything like that since. It’s just as well that I wasn’t in a country where there are lots of guns and where they shoot first and ask questions later!

As I reflect on that experience, there is an important lesson there about fear. The lesson is that the more you sit in fear, the bigger and more irrational it grows. The substance of our fears, and their magnitude, are usually unjustified.

The message of Christianity is that Jesus has defeated death, and that means that there is no need to fear.

The Bible describes it in this way,

 …there they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread… (Ps. 53:5, NIV.)

We spend our lives seeking simply to be: to know who we are, and seeking permanence. We also spend our lives either trying desperately to ignore our fears, and pretending that we aren’t afraid.

Our greatest fears always revolve around “unbeing”: impermanence and loss of identity. They are reflected in fears such as fear of change, fear of loneliness, and ultimately fear of death.

These are fears that are rooted in the reality of the human condition. Everything does change, loneliness is real, and no one escapes death.

But now for the good news! One of the key messages of Christianity is that Jesus has defeated death, and that means that there is no need to fear: not just death, but anything!

A key message of the Bible is that Jesus came to,

…break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Heb. 2:14–15.)

Death is the greatest enemy of all, and if death has defeated, then Jesus has also overcome, for you, everything else that can cause you to fear in this life.

We need to continuously redirect our minds to what is positive and true.

I don’t want to minimise the reality and impact that fear and anxiety can have on our lives.

Fear can impact your life to such an extent that it can be crippling. That’s why its important to get professional help if you can see that fear is starting to impact your life.

As you can tell by my story of the fictitious beast on the hill, fear can take on a life of its own. We need to continuously redirect our minds to what is positive and true. And the most positive and truest thing of all is, as the Bible tells us, that,

…the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus… has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10.)

We’ll all going to be fearful at some point or another, because we’re just human. But don’t live in that fear.

It may not be real, and even if it is real, Jesus has destroyed it at its source.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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