We all probably have experiences of fear. Fear may come into our thoughts. It may also bother us. Fear may be constantly present in a person’s life, who thus lives in fear. What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid?
It is difficult not to be afraid of what will happen in the future, as we continuously hear messages of destruction from different parts of the world. It is easy to name the objects of fear coming from outside. We can discuss them with our friends, usually having a common understanding of what has caused them. However, there are also other causes of fear. Fear may come from inside us. These fears are not always as easily dispelled as those caused by external incidents. It may be difficult to find an explanation for a restless mind. God´s Word discusses both fear that is important and appropriate to man and fear caused by sin.
Man, whom God created in His own image and meant to live in connection with Him, does not feel good if this connection with God has broken. His heart is overwhelmed by restlessness and fear, confusion about the knowledge that the lights shining from the House of the Lord are no longer showing him the way. Messages of unfortunate events may further increase his burden of distress.
Where are the good messages, ones that promise us relief from fear? Are they overshadowed by the negative messages? Does man, in the midst of fear, tend to deny the access of good messages into his awareness?
On the wall of a dignified school building in my home town there is the text: “The conclusion of all doctrine is: Fear God and keep His commandments.” In this way, the early 20th century society expressed its support for the Christian values of life. We can find many similar guidelines for life in the Bible. “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28) “Teach me thy way, O Lord, I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Ps. 86:11)
Can this advice, which exhorts us to fear, help one who is living in fear? There seems to be fear that is acceptable to God and gives security in life, and there is also fear caused by the bondage of sin. Paul writes to the Roman congregation: “For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)
In God’s love
Is not the fear of God about avoiding sin and maintaining the connection between God and man? This connection means being a partaker of God´s love, the love with no fear, as “perfect love casteth our fear” (1 John 18).
There hence seem to be many kinds of fear and love. People would not like to make a distinction between them, but would rather have even disobedience covered by love. Complete love is God´s love. We are exhorted to strive for that love.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” (Ps. 23:4,6)
The article was published in online Päivämies on 3 February 2016.
Poikkeusolojen vuoksi radion ja netin välityksellä lähetetyt Suviseurat saivat kuulijoiden palautteen perusteella positiivisen vastaanoton. Historiallisten Suviseurojen järjestelyt sujuivat suunnitelmien mukaisesti, eikä suurempia häiriöitä ilmennyt. Seurojen keskeinen sanoma välittyi kaikkialle maailmaan ja seurapuheet käännettiin yhdeksälle kielelle.