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Fear . . . July 28, 2014

Another thoughtful message from Reverend Mark Adams, Senior Pastor of Redland Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland:

The phrase “Be afraid, be very afraid” was a tagline from the 1986 horror flick The Fly. If you were to Google this film phrase you would get about 183 million results, a reflection of the fact that we all deal with fear. The important thing to remember is to be appropriately afraid of the right thing. Unfortunately, the things that people usually fear are not worthy of the spike of adrenaline that comes with this common feeling.

For example, many people are afraid to fly, but one only has a 0.00001 percent chance of dying in an airplane crash. On the other hand, the car insurance industry estimates that the average driver will be involved in three or four car crashes in their lifetime, and the odds of dying in a car crash are one to two percent.

The second most reported phobia is the fear of heights. Your chance of being injured by falling, jumping, or being pushed from a high place is 1 in 65,092; whereas the chance of having your identity stolen is 1 in 200. Do you fear being killed by a bolt of lightning? The odds of that happening are 1 in 2.3 million. You’re much more likely to be struck by a meteorite—those lifetime odds are about 1 in 700,000.

Some people have a fear of dogs, but the truth is their bark really is worse than their bite: Your chance of suffering a dog bite is 1 in 137,694. On the other hand, your chance of being injured while mowing the lawn is 1 in 3,623.

How about sharks? A person is much more likely to be killed by their spouse (1 in 135,000) than a shark (1 in 300 million). Won’t ride a roller coaster? If you have the patience to stand in the line, the chance of a roller coaster injury is 1 in 300 million. But, if you play with fireworks on the Fourth of July, you’re really playing with fire–the chance of injury is 1 in 20,000.

It’s obvious that most of the time our fear is focused in the wrong direction, which is why God’s Word is filled with verses that steer us in the right direction–verses that tell us we must fear or respect God. Here are a few examples:

Job 28:28, “… the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.”

Isaiah 66:2, “’Has not My hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the Lord. ‘These are the ones I look on with favor; those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at My word.’”

Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One Who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

When we revere God, we fear Him enough to build our lives on His loving laws; when we begin a growing relationship with Him through faith in His Son, we learn that all other fears are pointless–nothing but shadows.  We also discover that our awesome God is willing and able to deliver us from our fears. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

(C) 2014 Mark Adams

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