Is Healthy Fear Acceptable for Christians?
I know you what you are thinking? You have been taught you should have healthy fear!
Healthy fear keeps you "safe".
Healthy fear is instinctual.
Healthy fear is a positive attribute.
As a Psychology professor, I "get it". I truly can understand how the notion of being fearful of certain things can keep you safe. Fear of being burned keeps you from putting your hand over fire. Great idea right? The problem is that fear is not from God. God repeatedly tells us to fear not!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.-Joshua 1:9
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.-Isaiah 41:9
God is making it pretty clear that He is not desiring you to be fearful. Instead, He calls us to be courageous!
That brings us back to "healthy fear". I encourage you to rethink this term and establish the notion of being cautious!
Embrace the idea of being cautious (wise) versus fearful.
One who is cautious is aware of danger. They make choices based on this expected danger, out of knowledge. For example, you use caution in the kitchen, while cooking. You are aware that the stove can burn you. However, you have full control over the situation. Chances are you do not slowly creep up to the stove in fear. Not at all! Instead you are aware, the stove is hot and I will respect that fact or there will be consequences. Wisdom tells you not to put your hand in the flame.
As a person who spent a large portion of her life fearful, OF EVERYTHING...I can tell you that FEAR is not something you can allow in your life at all. The fearful person is tormented by the "what if's". The person who exercises caution or wisdom is empowered by understanding. A cautious or wise person can hear what the Holy Spirit telling them about the situation. A fearful person is too clouded by their thoughts, racing heartbeat, and panic to know what to do next.
Fear allows the unknown to lead. Wisdom allows the Holy Spirit to lead.
I encourage you to evaluate if you are living a life of fear or faith. The person of faith doesn't have to be fearful because they KNOW that God is with them.
Fear will keep you from enjoying your life to the fullest.
Fear will keep you in bondage.
Fear is NOT your friend.
The enemy is sneaky, if he can get you to think some fear is healthy, he can get you to think MOST fear is healthy. Don't fall for the trick.
Make a choice to choose faith over fear!
The only fear you will ever find to be acceptable to God is the reverent fear of the Lord. This is not a paralyzing fear but a deep respect that seeks to honor Him. If your fear doesn't fall into this category, let it go!
Forgive me for allowing fear to be my guide. Help me to trust in you for my life. Help me to trust in you. Illuminate areas of my life that I have placed my faith in fear. Help me to no longer be afraid of everyday things, failure, or anything else that is hindering me. Thank you Lord that fear no longer has to be a part of my story. Teach me how to listen closely to the Holy Spirit to guide me in wisdom. Amen