When it comes to fear, there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether or not it is a sin. Some people believe that fear is always wrong, while others claim that there are situations in which fear is justified.
So, what does the Bible say about fear? Is it always a sin, or can there be situations in which it is allowed? Let’s take a closer look at what Scripture has to say on this topic and what the Church Fathers have to say about it as well.
Types of Fear in A Person’s Heart
The first thing we need to understand is that there are different types of fear that can reside in a person’s heart. Scripture tells us that there is a natural fear that is placed in us by God Himself (Genesis 3:10, Psalm 111:10).
This type of fear is not a sin. In fact, it is necessary for our survival. It is the type of fear that warns us of danger and keeps us from doing things that could harm us or are against God’s will.
Then there is a second type of fear that Scripture speaks about. This is an unhealthy type of fear that does not come from God. It is a spirit of fear that can lead us to sin (2 Timothy 1:7).
This type of fear can cause us to do things that we would not normally do out of a desire to protect ourselves from harm. It can also lead us to trust in ourselves rather than God and His perfect plan for our lives.
So, the first thing we need to understand is that not all fear is bad. There is a natural, healthy type of fear that God has placed in us for our protection. But there is also an unhealthy type of fear that can lead us into sin.
When is Fear a Sin?
Now that we understand the different types of fear, we can better answer the question of when fear is a sin. The simple answer is that any type of fear that leads us away from God is a sin.
That means any time we allow our fears to control us, rather than God, we are sinning. A few examples of this would be if we allow our fear of rejection to keep us from sharing the gospel with others, or if we allow our fear of failure to keep us from obeying God’s calling on our lives.
In both of these cases and many others, our fear is controlling us rather than God. And that is what makes it a sin. Also, keep in mind that our sinful fear often manifests itself in other sinful behaviors, such as anxiety, worry, and doubt.
Even though fear is a natural human emotion, it doesn’t have to control us. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He gives us His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4: 4-7).
That doesn’t mean we will never experience fear again. But it does mean that we don’t have to let our fears control us. We can trust God to give us the strength and courage we need to face our fears head-on.
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How to Overcome the Sinful Fear in Your Life
If you’re struggling with sinful fear in your life, know that you’re not alone. Many of us have been there. But the good news is that there is hope. You can overcome your sinful fear, and here’s how:
1. Recognize that your fear is a sin.
The first step to overcoming any sin is recognizing that it’s a sin. So, if you’re struggling with sinful fear, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge that it’s a problem in your life. You can’t repent of something unless you first recognize that it’s wrong.
Our own ego often keeps us from admitting that we’re struggling with a particular sin. We don’t want to admit that we’re not perfect. But the truth is, we’re all sinners in need of God’s grace.
2. Repent of your fear and ask God for forgiveness.
Once you’ve recognized that your fear is a sin, the next step is to repent of it. This means you need to turn away from your fear and toward the living God. You need to confess your sin and ask Him for forgiveness.
Confessing your sins is an important part of the Christian life. It’s how we stay close to God and experience His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Your local Church Father or priest can help you with this if you’re not sure where to start.
3. Say The Jesus Prayer.
Saint Gregory Palamas once said, “Let no one think that it is the duty only of clergy and monastics to pray with ceasing and not of laypeople. No, absolutely not; it is the duty of all Christians to remain always in prayer.”
The Jesus Prayer is a short but powerful prayer that can help us overcome any sin in our lives, including the sin of fear.
The Jesus Prayer goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Just repeating this prayer over and over again can help us to focus our minds on God and overcome our sinful fears.
If we want to experience the fullness of God’s presence in our lives, we need to learn to pray without ceasing. This doesn’t mean we need to be in a constant state of prayer. But it does mean that we need to make prayer a part of our everyday lives.
4. Read A Chapter of The Bible Every Day.
This is something that Saint Paisios once said to Athanasios Rakovalis when he was a young man and felt fear. Reading the Bible is a great way to keep our minds focused on God and His truth.
It’s also a great way to find comfort in God’s words. Whenever you’re feeling afraid, take a few minutes to read a chapter of the Bible. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after just a few minutes of biblical reading.
5. Spend Time With God Every Day.
In addition to reading the Bible, it’s also important that we spend time with God in prayer every day. This is how we build our relationship with Him and learn to trust Him more. When we spend time with God, we are reminded that He is in control and that we don’t have to be afraid of what the future holds.
The only way to spend time with God is through prayer. We can’t see Him or hear Him, but He is always there with us. When we pray, we are talking to God and He is listening. We can tell Him anything and He will never judge us. He loves us no matter what.
Prayer is the best way to overcome our fears because it helps us to remember that God is in control. When we pray, we are putting our trust in God and not in ourselves. We are asking Him to help us and He will always answer our prayers.
6. Get rid of your Ego.
One of the main reasons we struggle with fear is because of our ego. Our ego is that part of us that always wants to be in control. It’s the part of us that doesn’t want to admit that we’re afraid. The ego is what tells us that we don’t need God’s help.
The only way to overcome our fears is to get rid of our egos. We need to admit that we’re not perfect and that we need God’s help. We need to humble ourselves and ask Him to lead us.
Our fallen human nature is always going to try to take control. But we need to resist it and let God be in charge. When we do this, we will find that our fears start to disappear.
7. Love God and Others.
Last but not least, the best way to overcome our fears is to love God and others. Loving God means that we also love our neighbor, friend, enemy, etc. We should want what is best for them, just as we want what is best for ourselves.
When we love others, we start to see them as God sees them. We see their potential and not their flaws. We see their goodness and not their sinfulness. And when we do this, our fears start to disappear.
Helping others and showing them God’s love is the best way to overcome our fears. It’s also the best way to find true happiness in this life.
Biblical Examples About Fear
When we take a closer look at the Bible, we see that there are many examples of people who overcame their fears.
The first example is Abraham. In Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This must have been a terrifying experience for Abraham. But he didn’t let his fear get in the way of obeying God. He was willing to sacrifice his son because he knew that God was in control.
Eventually, God intervened and Abraham didn’t have to go through with the sacrifice. But his willingness to do it shows that he had overcome his fear.
The second example is Moses. In Exodus 14, Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians were right behind them, ready to kill them all. But Moses didn’t let his fear get in the way. He trusted God and he knew that He would protect them.
And sure enough, God did protect them. He parted the Red Sea and the Israelites were able to escape.
Read Also: Did Moses Go to Heaven?
The third example is David. David was a shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. This must have been a very scary experience for David. But he didn’t let his fear get in the way. He trusted in God and he knew that He would give him the victory.
And God did give David the victory. He defeated Goliath and the Israelites were saved.
The fourth example is Daniel. In Daniel 6, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because he refused to worship the king’s false god. Daniel was not afraid of the lions, because he knew that God would protect him. And indeed, God did protect Daniel and he was unharmed by the lions.
All these examples, don’t promote fearing God, instead, they promote having faith in God. Having faith means that we trust in God no matter what. It means that we know that He is in control and that He will always take care of us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Fear and Worry a Sin?
Yes and no, it all depends on the context and content of what we are afraid of or worried about. To worry about things that are out of our control, or to dwell on worst-case scenarios is definitely a sin because it shows a lack of trust in God.
On the other hand, to be afraid of things that are actually dangerous is not a sin, but a natural human emotion that keeps us safe. The key is to not let our fears control us or prevent us from living a full and happy life.
What Does God Say About Fear?
The Bible has a lot to say about fear, both positive and negative. On the one hand, God tells us not to be afraid of anything or anyone (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 10:28). On the other hand, he also tells us to be afraid of him – to stand in awe of his power and holiness (Deuteronomy 6:13, Revelation 14:7).
So what is the right balance? The key is to have a healthy fear of God – to respect and revere him – while not letting our other fears control us. We should also remember that God is always with us and will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Does the Bible Say not to Fear?
The Bible does say not to fear in many verses, such as Isaiah 41:10 and Matthew 10:28. However, it is important to understand the context of these verses. In most cases, when God tells us not to be afraid, he is reassuring us that we don’t need to worry because he is in control.
What does Bible Say About Fear of Man?
In Proverbs 29:25, we are told that “the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” This verse is telling us that if we are afraid of what other people think or say about us, this can cause us problems.
We can get trapped into doing things that we wouldn’t normally do just to please other people, or to avoid their criticism. Trusting in the Lord, on the other hand, will keep us safe from these traps.
Finally, it is important to remember that fear is not always a bad thing. In some cases, it can be a good thing. For example, if we are afraid of doing something that would hurt ourselves or others, this is a good thing.
It is only when we allow our fears to control us, and keep us from living the life that God wants us to live, that it becomes a problem. If you are struggling with fear, I encourage you to talk to your spiritual father.
CharalamposCharalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.
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