This is a wonderful devotion on "FEAR" by James MacDonald that I came across today. So fitting for me (and you, I pray) as I let go of 2008 and greet 2009 with faith! Enjoy!
You can dress fear up in all kinds of costumes, but it’s never very far away for any of us.
Let’s talk about what we fear. One word says it all; we fear the future. No one’s afraid of the past. The past has other problems. No one’s really afraid of the present. We might be upset about the present, but we don’t fear it because we know it. Fear involves the future. Fear involves the unknown. "Something’s up ahead and I don’t want it." Fear is about as accurate as the local weather forecast, but it’s scary nonetheless.
When we think about the future, we fear loss and pain.
We’re afraid of losing people. Will my spouse always love me? Will my kids walk with the Lord or go their own way?
We fear losing possessions and position. I’m barely able to make ends meet; will I be able to keep my house? Will I have enough?
We fear emotional pain. Somebody’s not happy with me. They don’t want me anymore.
We fear failure. I’m not happy with myself. I could have, I should have, I would have, I didn’t, I’m not; I failed.
Let us agree that fear is a universal problem. It hits us like a wave, threatening to swallow us in its undertow. Scripture identifies the overwhelming emotion of fear almost 1,000 times. The word fear is used 441 times; afraid, 167 times; tremble, 101 times; and terror or terrified, 121 times. The words dread, frighten, and faint are also repeatedly used throughout Scripture.
Fear is the opposite of all that Christianity is to be. Fear is the opposite of faith. Faith says, "Whatever it is, it’ll be okay because of God." Fear says, It’s not going to be okay, and doesn’t think much about God at all.
Fear is the complete state of anti-God. God is seldom further from you than when your heart is filled with fear. An anxious, frightened reaction is never good and never from God. Romans 8:15 tells us, "You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear," and 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
I think you get it. Fear doesn’t belong in your life. Out with fear and in with faith.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. - 2 Timothy 1:6-9