Halloween is when we have little candy-seeking visitors knocking on our doors, dressed in their costumes, often with scary or creepy images designed to bring an element of the frightful. But the Halloween tradition is more about fictional fear than real fear. While many of the costumes the children wear to our door evoke images of ghosts, goblins, witches, skeletons, and other characters that can have roots in the spiritual realm, in the end, they are only pretend, and not likely to elicit much in the way of real fear.
However, many of us find ourselves facing real fearful things in our daily lives. Indeed, there are many fears in the world that are all too real for those who face them. And for people facing these fears, they can be debilitating to say the least. Let’s take a look at some very well-known, and very real, fears:
Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders. This affects women four times more (48% women and 12% men).
Acrophobia – The fear of heights. Five percent of the general population suffer from this phobia.
Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces. People with this fear often won’t leave home.
Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces like elevators, small rooms, and other enclosed spaces.
Mysophobia – The fear of germs. Sometimes also known as Germophobia or Bacterophobia.
Aerophobia – The fear of flying. Twenty-five million Americans share a fear of flying.
Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking. Many people say they would prefer death to public speaking.
Monophobia – The fear of being alone. Even while eating and/or sleeping.
Thanatophobia – The fear of death. Even talking about death can be hard.
Do you suffer from any of these? I do…I have a pronounced fear of heights, which I have not yet been able to completely overcome. I used to have a fear of flying but God helped me overcome that many years ago. Donna suffers from arachnophobia, as does her nephew. If you suffer from any of these fears, or any other anxiety or phobia, you are definitely not alone and the Bible has plenty to say to us.
The Apostle John tells us that “perfect love expels all fear” in 1 John 4:18. And despite the fears we often experience in our lives and circumstances, when we place our faith in Jesus we are guaranteed eternal life free from judgment, so we see that those fears really are unfounded. In Matthew 8:23-27, we read the story of Jesus calming the storm. In this story, the disciples are clearly terrified and in fear for their lives, but Jesus asks them, “Why are you afraid?” This is a great question, because by this time they had already seen Jesus perform several miracles and you’d think they would understand the breadth of his power. But they still were afraid.
And often times, so are we. But God does promise to be with us at all times and the Bible tells us we can count on him in all circumstances. We have every reason to be more than confident. Here are some of God’s promises regarding the fears we feel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” Psalm 46:1-2
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4
“Yes, you came when I called; you told me, “Do not fear.” Lamentations 3:57
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27
“We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.” Luke 1:74-75
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:37-38
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14
There are many, many more verses in the Bible that help us know we can trust God to help us overcome our fears. Those of us who have already repented and placed our faith in Jesus Christ are fortunate to have this life assistance right now. We simply need to read God’s Word, pray regularly, and trust God to keep his promises and we can find the courage to face anything that comes our way.
And if you haven’t yet come to Christ, why not make today the day? Then you, too, can have the assurance that comes from being a Christian. As humans, there is a great chasm that separates us from God, and subjects us to the penalty for our wrongs. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) But Jesus is the bridge that spans that expanse and allows us to enjoy fellowship with our Creator again.
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
Once you have been restored to fellowship with God, you will know the assurance that comes from Jesus Christ and you, too, can be fearless!
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