I offer two views on fear for the sake of perspective, and the fact that one is quoted much more than the other. The common view is
if it causes fear in your heart, then it’s not God
And I disagree. Let’s start with the reference in the Book of Jude (vv. 20-23).
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (KJV)
Some come to saving faith through experience that scared them to the straight and narrow. Save in the above passage means to rescue from destruction or peril. Fear means dread or terror.
Some enter the Kingdom of God with the testimony that “I’ll never go back” because of close call, near miss and/or near death experiences that scared them onto the path of deliverance. They are those saved by fear.
Others of us awake from dreams where we feared, or we felt fear when we woke up… It is possible for God to send a message that uses fear to provoke us into change. We get motivated to walk a new way, and enter deliverance. We are saved by fear.
The 2 Timothy 1:7 reference says,
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Fear here means cowardice and timidity. Its contrasting forces being strength to perform, goodwill and moderation or self-control. The aging Apostle Paul encourages the new Pastor Timothy.
I see the legacy of faith at work in your life from your grandmother, to your mother, to you (v. 5). Because of your righteous heritage I remind you to stir up your gift I imparted to you (v. 6). Work this gift in God’s power, love and with soundness of mind because God gave you no spirit of fear (v. 7). Without fear then, embrace the Lord’s testimony and embrace mine of suffering for the gospel according to God’s power (v. 8).
The passage continues as exhortation to the young pastor to take this journey in ministry service without a grip or hook of fear. He can be bold in God’s power and embrace his portion of suffering without cowardice. He can accept and function in his assignment with power, love and sound thinking.
I pray this helps us with perspective of fear. Sometimes we get beside ourselves in the church to think that we know God so well that we say what He will never do. That’s not a teachable way. Here’s the power of Jude 20-23 and 2 Timothy 1:7 for us —
There is no fear [dread, terror] in love; but perfect [nothing lacking to make complete] love casteth out fear [dread, terror]: because fear hath torment [punishment, penalty]. He that feareth [is scared away, struck with fear, seized with alarm] is not made perfect [complete] in love. 1 John 4:18 KJV
The power is in our relationship with the Father through Christ. We are found IN CHRIST. And IN HIM, that is in the person of Love, there is no dread or fear or terror. His complete love casts out fear. And nothing shall separate us from His love that can make us whole.
Isn’t that awesome?! Today (and daily), let’s determine to stay IN Christ and allow His love to cast out the terror of the known and the unknown and uncertain. Selah, and love to all.