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The Dichotomy of Fear

Since the late 1980s we have all seen tee-shirts and placards displaying the phrase “No Fear”. While this popular mantra may give some degree of encouragement, it can also be misleading. While it may seem sensible to eliminate fear from our lives, not all fear is bad. It is a good thing to fear a sow Grizzly bear with cubs. It is also wise to fear a nearby raging wildfire while camping in the woods. Why does there seem to be this dichotomy of perspective about fear?

The problem arises when we view all fear as “harmful”. Some fears are not harmful, but rather they are wise. The Bible has a great deal to say about fear. In fact, there are nearly two hundred Bible verses that speak of the fear of the Lord. The real question should be this, “What do we fear most?”. If we fear failure, poverty or even death, then our fears are misplaced. But if we embrace the fear of the Lord, all other fears become meaningless.

The Proverbs teach that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and wisdom is the principal thing we should pursue in life. So, if we want to live wisely, then it is imperative that we understand and apprehend the fear of the Lord.

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