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Human Emotion #5 Fear

Finally getting back to the 6 part series on human emotions. Today’s topic is fear. The definition of fear from Wikpedia is as follows:

Fear is an emotional response to a threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. Some psychologists such as John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that fear is one of a small set of basic or innate emotions. This set also includes such emotions as joy, sadness, and anger. Fear should be distinguished from the related emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any external threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.  Worth noting is that fear always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable.

So I wonder why do so many humans fear God.  Is He a threat to their existence?  The website Got Questions has a good answer for what it mean’s to fear God.  Different meanings for the unbeliever and the believer.

Question: “What does it mean to have the fear of God?”

Answer: For the unbeliever, the fear of God is the fear of the judgment of God and eternal death, which is eternal separation from God (Luke 12:5; Hebrews 10:31). For the believer, the fear of God is something much different. The believer’s fear is reverence of God. Hebrews 12:28-29 is a good description of this: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ’God is a consuming fire.’” This reverence and awe is exactly what the fear of God means for Christians. This is the motivating factor for us to surrender to the Creator of the Universe.

The word fear shows up in 326 verses in the bible.  In many those verses fear is linked to God, such as “fear God”, “fear of God”, and “feared God.”  So what does this tell us?  That we should be afraid of God?  So afraid that we should avoid Him, hide from Him, be scarred to death of Him?  If you are a Christian, I don’t think so.  Reverence is the answer.  Webster states that reverence means to honor or respect felt or shown.”  Let see what God’s Word tells us.

Genesis 22:12

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Exodus 14:31

And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Job 1:1

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

What is there to fear when we claim God as our father?

Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 34:4

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

The fear of God will benefit you in the following ways.

Psalm 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 10:27

The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

Proverbs 22:4

Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.

I would suppose that the single greatest fear in humans is death.  While I have talked at length about the fear of God or the reverence of God, I suppose it would be unfair not to address this fear that many have.  For the non-Christian to fear death would be justified.  But for the Christian to fear death almost goes against what we believe, well don’t take my word for it, listen to what this guy named Paul believed.

Philippians 1:20-22

20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

I think so far, Fear is the most difficult human emotion to grasp, at least from my point of view.  Of course I fear power outages, so I guess I’m one to talk.


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October 2, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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