Hi this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Nothing To Fear, Not Even Fear Itself

In an edition of this podcast last year I spoke about the inauguration of the newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt that took place on March 4th 1933. I noted then that during his speech, he uttered a phrase which has been repeated countless times in the past 90 years. It is among his more notable and quotable quotes. In that speech he made the bold statement that “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.” Last time I shared my thoughts concerning that quote it took me in one direction, today it has caused me to consider another.

President Roosevelt made that now famous proclamation to be an encouragement to millions of Americans listening in on their radios. It was intended to inspire the discouraged, disheartened and yes fearful minds of the American public as they endured the ravages of the Great Depression. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what new difficulty might lay right around the corner weighed heavily on nearly everyone’s mind. The economic impact of the stock market crash just a few years before coupled with current vast unemployment had many people wondering where their next meal would come from. That impending sense of despair was complicated further by the Dust Bowl that had left much of the agricultural land of the Midwest crippled and unfit to ease the crisis. The outlook for our nation was indeed bleak when President Roosevelt told the entire country that there was “Nothing to fear except fear itself.”

The contemporary condition of the world around us is no less scary. We may not have recently experienced economic collapse, but we are in the midst of what looks suspiciously like moral bankruptcy. The speed of the decline currently taking place especially in western society is ‘wicked fast’. There are days I feel as though I haven’t even begun to comprehend the latest foolishness I am supposed to accept as the new norm, when a whole new class of utter ridiculousness is introduced as (quote…unquote) “progressive thought”. Sometimes it is almost beyond ability to accept that those espousing such imbecilic rhetoric actually believe what they are proposing. Wokeness and Social Justice are anything but, and the direction of our nation and the world around us can seem quite concerning at times…most times, if you have any hopes and desires for those coming along after us. So is it still an encouragement or a comfort to know “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”?

I was approached by someone a short time ago who asked me if I think fear is sin. That’s an interesting question. The person asked the question in light of 1 John chapter 4. There we read in verse 18, 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. In light of that verse the rest of the question came, “Does fear indicate a lack of faith, and is a lack of faith in the Almighty sinful?” Certainly this verse in its full context is saying that because we have the love of God in us and our relationship with Him is evidenced by our display of His love toward others, we are therefore His children and need not have any fear of the day of His judgment. In that sense, His perfect love, having its intended effect on our lives, drives away our fear of judgement. Perfect love then casts out fear.

Though the context of that particular verse concerning fear is in regards to judgment, I think it is a building block to our correct position regarding fear overall. Jesus taught additional truths that can help us complete our understanding…of our intended standing. When we consider that perfect love (the love of God in us and flowing through us) removes all fear of His judgment then something Jesus said recorded for us in Luke 12:4 makes even more sense. “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. He went on to say if we are going to fear someone, we should fear God who judges where we will spend eternity after we die. In this seemingly crazy world we now live in, we are threatened with all kinds of retribution if we will not accept the latest idiocy. The propagators of these so called progressive policies warn that if we do not play along with their pretension they will call us out as bigots, racist, hate mongers or worse. In recent days, there have been multiple news reports of physical violence even to the point of death being perpetrated against those who would not bow to the will of the deluded. Jesus was clear, this is not what should be feared. He didn’t mince His words either, there are those who may even want to kill us for standing for what is right. However, He then added, even if they follow through on that threat, that is all they can do to us. Then Jesus went on to say that our real concern should be with the One who will then judge what to do with us for eternity. The choice was clear as far as Jesus was concerned. Stand for righteousness enveloped in perfect love…and you have nothing of real consequence to fear. With that mindset the author of Hebrews was able to write in chapter 13:6; We can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

Having Jesus as our Savior allows us to be perfected in His love and to experience no fear of His judgment. In other words, it allows us to be secure in our eternal condition. However, Jesus has two titles and being able to live in total lack of fear requires our understanding and complete acceptance of not only the first, Savior, but more importantly His second, Lord. The whole world has a Savior…Jesus died for the whole world. Someday the bible tells us, everyone will be forced to also admit that He is Lord. Philippians 2:10-11 says that Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! However, for those who willingly trust Him now to be their Lord and Savior, they possess everything necessary to live free of all fear.

If we believe that Jesus is truly Lord, then we must believe that He is Omniscient (He knows all). We must accept that He is Omnipresent (There is no place outside of his reach). And we must admit that He is Omnipotent (There is nothing He is powerless to do). When you hold those beliefs, the teaching Jesus gave us about worry is easier to understand and apply. In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus taught that we have no cause for worry because the Lord knows about everything we need. He pointed out that if the Lord would take such good care of mere birds and ordinary field grass, how much more would He meet the needs of His crowning creation who love Him. Jesus said that God is a good, good father the likes of which no man has ever been, and if we as parents love our children, how much more can we expect that God loves us and will take the very best care of us.

Additionally, of Himself, Jesus said in Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. This does not mean Jesus was present at the beginning and will be present when the end comes. That line of thinking would lead to the conclusion that Jesus is subject to time, and would therefore mean that time is greater than Him. If Jesus is Lord (and He is) then He is superior to everything, including time. Jesus encompasses time, time does not encompass Him. Therefore, He can rightly say that He is the beginning of everything and the culmination of all things. Knowing that about Him should serve to bolster our faith that we can trust him in all things. It should also help us to trust that…from a position of complete knowledge of every event that has, is or ever will occur in our lives, He and He alone is able to promise that He will use all of them for our good. He intends to use all things to bless us with increased ability to reflect Him more. (Romans 8:28-29)

So, no matter whether it be pressure from the world around us to conform to the latest brand of insanity, or dealing with a personal difficulty, disease or loss, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and we learn to trust Him wholly, we have nothing to fear…not even fear itself.

So now, living free of all fear in the confidence of His immense and intense love for you…Go Be Awesome!