For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a homeschooling mom of four kids between kindergarten and 8th grade. I really enjoy teaching my kids. It’s challenging some days but anything worth doing will have it’s challenges. My favorite class is Bible class. Since I enjoy writing, I often write our Bible curriculum. For several weeks now I’ve been teaching the kids about fear. I thought it was a timely topic. We set out to answer questions such as: What kinds of fears are there? What should we fear and what should we not fear? Where does fear come from? How do people in the Bible deal with fear? What does God have to say about fear? I wanted to share with you a summary of what we discussed. Feel free to discuss these things with your children, grandchildren or students.
Fear is defined in Webster’s II Dictionary as 1 Alarm caused by expectation or realization of danger 2 Reverence: awe 3 A state of dread or apprehension. Since the most common use of the word fear falls under definition three, that’s where we spent much of our time. There are so many different kinds of fear.
Fear of man is when you’re worried about what people may do to you or think of you. The danger here is when you go to great lengths to continue to look good to people. Even if it means you have to lie, be deceptive or disobey the Lord. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” Some great examples of this in the Bible are found in I Samuel 15:1-35, Mark 11:27-32, and Luke 20:19.
Fear of harm We all have a natural instinct to move when a ball is flying towards us or run when something jumps out at us. Fleeing from danger can be a good thing. On the other hand a person can become overly worried about getting hurt or sick. God gave us a mind to help us stay safe. We should use wisdom in how we live by eating healthy, following what the Lord says, not fretting over things and trusting God. This will give us health and keep us from situations that could harm us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We also don’t have to fear sickness or injury because God has power over sickness (and injury). “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5
No matter what we face in life God will be with us. He will walk with us and give us strength to get through hard times. He will never leave us. So we don’t have to be afraid. Nothing is bigger than God. No illness, no injury, no situation is to hard for the Lord.
Fear of evil I will fear no evil… Evil, when you hear that word you probably get a feeling or picture. So what do you think of when you hear the word evil? The Dictionary defines evil as something morally wrong or bad, something that causes harm or injury. In other words it’s knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do wrong.
Our enemy, the devil, is full of evil. Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) However, God’s Word teaches that we do not need to fear Satan or any evil.
“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I John 4:4 Jesus lived His life free from sin. He walked in perfect victory. He had power over sickness, sin, even the wind and the waves obeyed Him. He had the power to multiply food just by speaking and death could not overcome Him. He had power over all of this. The same Spirit that lived in Him and did all those things lives in those of us who have made Jesus Lord of our lives. So if you have made Jesus Lord of your life that same Spirit lives in you. That same power lives in you. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy…”
We do not need to be overcome by evil. We stay away from evil not because we are afraid but because we love God and know it doesn’t please Him to do evil things. We should “hate evil and cling to what is good.” (Rom. 12:9)
Effects of fear Fear is not from God. It’s a tool the enemy uses. He knows he can get us to slow down or stop through fear. Fear works against a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The Lord gives us peace. When our minds are fixed on the Lord we will have peace and be able to think things through. We will have confidence, not in ourselves but in the fact that God loves us and is taking care of us. Fear will keep you from what God has for you. It makes you unfruitful and keeps you from moving forward. God desires more for us, SO much more! “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba Father.” Romans 8:15
Fear of God The fears mentioned earlier have to do with dread or apprehension but fear of the Lord has to do with awe and reverence which is the 2nd definition in the dictionary. The fear of the Lord is a great respect for God that includes us doing what He wants us to. We do this because we love Him and are thankful for all He’s done for us. It’s a natural part of following Jesus. When we fear the Lord we will delight in what He delights in and the things that make Him sad will make us sad too.
All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Proverbs 8:13a
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Proverbs14:27
Overcoming fear We don’t have to stay a slave to fear. Because of what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection. We don’t have to let fear control us or cower away from what the Lord calls us to do. God has given us weapons in this battle. The Lord has given us wisdom to know when something is not good and to walk away. First Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Stay away from evil.” That’s pretty clear instruction.
The Word of God, the Bible, is a wonderful tool the Lord has given to us. In it we will find direction, promises, truth, and strength. There are more verses about fear in the Word than I can put in these lessons. Get to know the Bible. See what God is speaking to you. Memorize Scripture. At just the right time the Holy Spirit will remind you of what God’s Word says when you need it. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword…”
Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we are in a battle but we are not fighting people. We are fighting powers of darkness. But we don’t need to worry because God gave us weapons to fight with. In fact, He gave us His very own armor. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.” Jesus taught that God has given us authority over the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17-18, Luke 9:1, John 14:12) We need to learn how to use the armor and authority God has given us.
The last tool the Lord has given us to overcoming fear is a powerful one – trust. We can put our trust in God. We can trust that God is in control. We can trust that He will supply our needs. We can trust He will protect us from all that we fear. We can trust that He will do what He promises. We can trust Him to never leave us, that He will strengthen us and He will carry us through. We can trust Him no matter what the circumstances because He has proven Himself to be faithful. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
As we rest in Him all our fears will melt away. Get in His presence, focus on Him and trust Him. I closed by reading them Psalm 91.
There you go, that’s the summary. The original lessons took us seven or eight days and had questions at the end of each lesson. Then we looked at some Bible stories to see how people reacted when fear was starring them in the face. I should point out that I do Bible class with all four children at the same time. Some of this was a little over my kindergartner’s head but I was surprised how many times he came up with the right answers. One thing I’ve learned about teaching the kids is you never know when they may be getting it better than you think. If nothing else I believe seeds get planted in their hearts and I know the Lord will be faithful to complete that work.