Definition: Facing danger with a spirit of determination, for God gives us the spirit of power.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Tim.1: 7
Fearless men are free men. Paul wrote the Hebrews that Satan, through men’s fear of death, kept men in perpetual slavery. Fear grants the devil a handy handle with which he gets his hooks into people. Through threats and intimidation a fearful populace can be ruled by a tyrant and his few henchmen armed with high-powered weapons. On the other hand, once people are no longer afraid of dying, no amount of force can take away their freedom. Of course, Christians are to submit to authorities, even bad ones, for the Lord’s sake and not to resist evil with evil. Yet they should not do so out of the fear of man but rather out of reverence for God and the desire to save all men - even their persecutors and oppressors. Perfect love becomes the motive for the new creation in Christ rather than self-centered fear for security and protection. Many unfortunately are trading their salvation for a false security. They will be highly disappointed in the end!
Fearlessness, then is a state of mind of one in which there is an absence of fear, and the presence of courage. There are many forms of fear:
- Fear of discovery of past misdeeds.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of physical pain.
- Fear of rejection.
- Fear of the unknown.
- Fear of embarrassment and loss of face.
Psychologists make mucho denari off of what they have called “phobias” – everything from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to hydrophobia (fear of water) to the well-known claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). All sarcasm aside, people really do suffer many, many fears much more devastating then children’s fear of the imagined nighttime “boogie man” under their beds. Paralyzed by fear, these people have their entire lives strait-jacketed by their phobias. It really isn’t a laughing matter.
Fearlessness should not be confused with foolishness. Many macho men are imprudent and careless with their life. Folly masquerades as courage. Rather than brave, these worldly men are brash and bragging. Showoffs who must seek out “extreme sports” to prove their manliness. Many tragic accidents could have been avoided if alcohol induced craziness had been avoided. “Liquid courage” produces the kind of stupidity that gets people killed. Seeking and causing trouble like picking fights or vehemently arguing with everybody who looks the wrong way at us is not true fearlessness, but rather foolishness.
Christ came to address man’s deepest needs – spiritually, socially, psychologically, and physically. The Christian has the great benefit of the Comforter (Parakletos). This is of course the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus always says to his disciples: “Shalom”. This peace is beyond human comprehension. (Phil.4: 4-5) It is an inner peace produced by the clean conscience of the immersed individual who takes on in his inner man the character of Christ. Mice become tigers when they have Jesus living in them. Timid Timothy became “Tiger” Timothy, for example.
Notice in the gospels that Jesus never demonstrated fear before men. Only in the private Gethsemane garden did he display what might be called fear, and by powerful prayer he took care of it. Afterwards, he was always totally in command, right up to his painful torturous death by crucifixion. Surely the Spirit of that same God/man will also bring to us the same courage.
The angel of the Lord told Joshua, “Take courage”. (Mk. 9:2) Like wisdom, we can just take it when we need it. Before visiting the dentist, or getting an injection. Before departing to a new country to preach the gospel. Before doing our first Bible studies. Before speaking in public, the number one fear of American men, by the way. As the Lord told Joshua before his invasion of Canaan, “Be strong and very courageous.” (Joshua 1:7) Paul was also told by both the Lord himself and later an angel, “Do not be afraid, Paul.” (Acts 18:9; 27:24) God knows when we are in frightening situations, and He cares for us. Cast your burdens, unto Jesus, for He cares for you!
Christians automatically possess a brave spirit because they possess the Holy Spirit. Perfect love will cast out all carnal fears. As Jesus stood boldly before the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate and his Roman executioners, we too can face our worst fears. The fishermen Peter and John demonstrated this before the same murderous men, the conspiring Sanhedrin that had falsely judged Jesus to death. Unflinchingly they stood like true warriors of Christ, and said: “...we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) They were not afraid of what men could do to their bodies, but rather feared He who can both kill their bodies and condemn their souls to hell. Their fearlessness came from the resurrection power of Pentecost. Jesus, glorified and exalted on high, was directly strengthening their will in the face of danger.
Greater is He that is in us than he (Satan) who is in the world. If we believe this, then we can fearlessly go and evangelize the lost and pass through every devilish trap placed in our path. Faith renders them as nothing more than smokescreens. Every demonic phobia and scary thing is knocked down. God can make anyone a Braveheart like William Wallace by giving them His own heart, the same heart that valiantly beat in Jesus’ own breast.
So dear Christian, the next time you fear missing the bus, or being embarrassed in public, or some-such other petty thing, remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.” Be fearless!