This morning as I began my day, I noted the “Verse of the Day” taken from Isaiah 41:10 in the King James Version:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
This particular verse reminds us that as believers we are not to fear. The comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear.
Isaiah 41:13 also provides great encouragement with this reminder.
For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
When we encounter stressful situations that cause us to respond in fear, we are encouraged to seek the strength to overcome any obstacle that attempts to block our path to success. Psalm 27, my favorite psalm which I committed to memory as a youngster back in the middle of the 20th Century, still offers great encouragement today.
1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
In the midst of the perilous times in which we live, we cannot deny that fear seems to abound. We all recognize that fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits.
Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”
In 1 John 4:18 we find the perfect antidote to fear:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free, as this poem indicates:
“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you
from becoming what God intends for you to be.”
– Rick Warren
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment. But he who fears
has not been made perfect in love.
I John 4:18
This self-imposed prison, not made with bars of steel,
Nor formed with bricks, yet each subtly constructed wall
Restricts the mind, scars the soul and cripples the will
And impounds us to a state of constant free fall.
Held captive by past mistakes that seek to instill
Fear: this deadly acronym binds, confines the heart,
So disguised as “false evidence appearing real”
Keeps us from being all God intends us to be.
But Christ, our sovereign Lord, pardoned each life sentence,
Commuted penalties, declaring not guilty.
With his blood, having blotted out every offense,
Displayed undying love: key to set captives free.
Pure freedom to serve awaits those with ears to hear,
For perfected love destroys all walls built by fear.
The acronym used in the poem is a common one for fear as “false evidence appearing real.” Last year I was introduced to another acronym for fear by Victoria Dunn: “forgetting everything already realized.” That concept inspired another poem containing yet another acronym, as well as another based on the antidote to fear: Love ( Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time).
Have No Fear: Remember Love
With gratitude to Victoria Lynn Dunn
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear:
because fear involves torment. He who fears
has not been made perfect in love
I John 4:18
Forgetting Everything Already Realized,
Everything God performs He does with excellence.
Already set before us is every promise.
Realized with each sunrise this eternal truth:
Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time.
Only believe, knowing love energizes faith.
Victory is ours each time we trust God and believe,
Ever mindful that perfect love casts out all fear.
God cannot love us more and will not love us any less.
May we never forget but always remember:
Despite the storms and fiery trials, we will not fear,
Knowing nothing can separate us from God’s love.
The Verse of the Day is just a reminder for believers to put on our “no fear gear,” as we walk in the love of God which casts out all fear.
As we reflect upon Psalm 27 and other passages related to having no fear, here is a musical reminder composed by Andraé Crouch and Michael Omartian; this version of Psalm 27:1 features vocal soloist El DeBarge.