“Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’” (Gen. 3:9,10). God knew where Adam was. The purpose of the question was to establish some accountability. Fear was the first emotion expressed by fallen humanity, and anxiety disorders remain the number one mental health problem of the world to this day. Four hundred times we are told in the bible to “fear not.” Fortunately the Bible tells us a lot more than that since telling a frightened individual to not be afraid is woefully inadequate.
Fear is a powerful motivator and can persuade us to do foolish things like Adam hiding from an omnipresent God. “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1). Boldness is a characteristic of a spirit-filled person as demonstrated by the early Church. “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (acts. 4:31). Carlos Valles wrote in his book, Let Go of Fear:
I say this to bring to the clearest possible light the fact that it is our fear that lays us open to manipulation. Fear is the handle we ourselves give to those who would turn us around to their will. Terrorism exists because we are afraid. There are international commissions that meet regularly to analyze the spread of terrorism and propose remedies. They are not likely to do away with the plague. The ultimate remedy lies in the human heart. Fearlessness alone can free us from the snares our fears have built.
Why is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? How is that fear the one fear that can expel all other fears? That is the subject of my blogs for the next few weeks as I explain anxiety disorders, which include fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. If you want or need a fuller account let me encourage you to read, Freedom From Fear (Harvest House), which I co-authored with Rich Miller, our U.S. president.
For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog