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Freedom from our Fears – Writing on The Gospel Coalition

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I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my heart about fear on The Gospel Coalition, but what I’m most thankful for is God’s timing.

He knew the moment TGC published this article would be the exact moment I needed to be reminded of the glorious truths of our Fear Fighter. I need this reality more than anything.

It is my prayer that through these words your heart would be energized by the love of the One who casts out every anxiety our mind could strum up.

Imagine the original Eden. Animals roam freely and peacefully. A mist goes up from the earth, watering the green land and blooming flowers. There’s a chorus of chirping birds, and fish dance in the glistening water. Trees offer their fruits for savoring, while flowers delight with sweet fragrances and vibrant colors. Each day the sky’s aglow with handcrafted sunsets and shimmering constellations.

With a whisper, the scene changes. Dissonance builds. Fruit from the forbidden tree is rebelliously ingested and, as promised, the eyes of the first man and woman open. Their bones quake with foreign feelings of shame, humiliation, and overpowering panic. We disobeyed the God who made us. We’re going to die.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Gen. 3:8–10)

Just like that, fear entered the world.

Hide and Seek

What did this fear compel Adam and Eve to do? Hide.

And don’t we still?

We hide in our fig leaves of false security, our caves of over-scrutinized caution, and our self-made dams of disbelief, terrified someone might see us for who we really are: dirty, insecure, and weak. Fears flare in our souls like fireworks across a dark sky and rattle us to the core, against all rationale. It should come as no surprise that our default setting is fear.

Like Adam and Eve, we hide. We bury pain and protect ourselves from feeling it ever again. We cover the blemishes. Gloss over the less-than-desirable parts. Avoid the shame-inducing. Guard our hearts. Whatever we may do, on our own we cannot escape our fears. We need rescue.

At the core, beyond the rising blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heightened awareness, fear tells us we need a Savior. Whether it’s a fear of failure, rejection, death, or the dark, fear sends a signal to our souls that we cannot be the center of the universe. There is more to life than us. Fear whispers of our brokenness and cries for security, for refuge, for something (Someone) bigger to protect us.

Every fear can be traced back to Genesis 3, which tells us that fear is universal because sin is universal. The antidote to sin must be the antidote to fear.

Continue reading on The Gospel Coalition.

5 comments on “Freedom from our Fears – Writing on The Gospel Coalition

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    I think that to some degree we need our fears. It’s the fear of being burnt that keeps us a safe distance away from a raging fire; being free of that fear puts us at risk of being burnt. One might suggest that Adam and Eve’s fearlessness, unawareness of danger was what opened the door to sin. We don’t need freedom from fear, but we do need to put our fears to good use.

    1. Hi Jamie, thanks for your feedback and taking the time to write. I appreciate your perspective and insight and completely agree that we need to let fears preach the sermon for which they were intended (that we need a Savior). However, if we don’t need freedom from fear then why are there so many commands of “Do not fear” in Scripture? And why were we given a Rescuer whose perfect love casts out all fear? I think perhaps we might distinguish between survival instincts and fear that paralyzes and ultimately swallows its victims.

      1. Jamie Carter says:

        Remember the world it was said to – the Romans were in control and they ruled using fear and intimidation. Most of the world was enslaved to somebody else and they had good reason to be afraid of their master’s cruelty. Death was more frequent and less selective about it’s victims. Perhaps being told not to fear was for their context – to us, it’s not saying be completely reckless and fearless. We have so much less to be afraid of, but we should still have some fears. Or else we’d be standing too close to the fire, unafraid of being burnt.

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