Author Andy Stanley has said that fear is a common ground that all of humanity shares. His statement caused me to stop and consider this observation with a bit more thought. I came to the conclusion that I think it’s true. Recently I have been talking to a friend who is experiencing an unexpected interruption in his health and it has been scary for him as the medical profession attempts to bring him diagnosis for treatment. I had the opportunity to take a call from a friend of many years ago and he is now facing a possible divorce. I lost count of how many times he mentioned the word “fear.” As well, I have dealt with a couple that have some severe, long-term dysfunction in their marriage relationship and the wife is gripped with fear – fear of yesterday, today and fear of the future.
The opposite of fear is not the lack of fear; it’s love. Fear is absent within the presence of love. Where there is a spirit of love, there will not be a spirit of fear. Fear and love never share the same bed. The Bible reveals that perfect love actually casts out fear. If the enemy can keep us in fear, he can keep us from receiving the love of God. Fear is a motivator for sure, but the wrong type of motivation. I recall as a child, being afraid of authority as the norm. Back in the day, it was seen as a healthy fear. But then, my natural conclusion was to be afraid of God, the ultimate authority of my life. That could not have been “healthy.” The love of God is an even greater motivator. Love inspires, accepts, gives grace, allows mistakes and motivates us to do better and grow. Fear hinders growth, causes us to give up, is not safe and keeps us from emotional closeness. Which one motivates you the most: fear or love?