The human person is limited to comprehend the world in its magnitude as God created it. We are guided by our senses, which direct our lives and give meaning to our experiences. When we experience life within the context of our mere human existence without the experience of God, we may be living in the world only as we are able to perceive it with our limited senses. We are instructed in the Scriptures to “be in the world but not of the world.”
Fear could be a positive thing in our life as we see it in the book of Sirach 1:12: “The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord.” This fear is out of reverence and love, not of punishment. It could help people to lead them in the right path of their journey.
When we live in the world without God, there is much room for fear and anxiety to enter our minds, hearts, bodies and everyday experiences. Fear and anxiety can wrap themselves around our lives both interiorly and exteriorly. It may be the fear of people, situations or fear of the future, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of losing our job, fear for the well being of our children, fear of getting old and ultimately fear of death. Oftentimes fear prevents us from really living and celebrating God’s graces of the present moment because we may be stuck in the past or the future.
Modern psychology and prescription drugs offer many treatments for fear and anxiety to help people discover and heal from their fears. Fear may be a form of bondage. It enslaves us from living in the freedom that God longs for us.
How does one bring this human experience in the light of faith and learn to cut loose its grip? Without a doubt, our faith in God has to play a role in the way we deal with it.
Christ perpetually invites us to be courageous and face our fears with His spirit of encouragement and hope. He reminds us (more than 300 times in the Bible): “be not afraid,” “have no fear,” “fear not.” The liar, the devil tries always to provoke our minds with all kind of self-defeating ideas and worries. The spirit of God is the spirit of freedom. Think of all the various ways that fear can play out in our daily lives. Imagine for example, falling in the temptation of the worldly spirit of trying to look young physically at all costs and at all ages. If you are given to the fear of growing old gracefully, one can become enslaved to the multimillion-dollar beauty industry. These kinds of thoughts can control us and prevent us from becoming free and authentically living simply and sincerely as God’s children.
Jesus was born from woman and became human like us in everything but sin. He experienced our humanity and knew what it is like to be on this earth ... He faced poverty; He faced loneliness, betrayal, rejection and mocking, and was sentenced to be crucified as a criminal. He knows and feels our fears and weaknesses and wants us to be strong in Him.
Our faith in the saving act of Jesus Christ on the cross has the power to free us from all sorts of fear not only when we go to our eternal life, but it helps us to live our daily life as people of a great witness to His spirit of hope, peace and joy in the world.
We can choose to remain bonded to the evil spirit that robs our peace and hope or we can choose to hope in the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us submit our lives to the Lord and believe in His mercy, love and power to forgive us and save us from fear, worry and anxiety.
Our lives can’t be wrapped up with fear of the things of the past or things that could happen to us in the future. Jesus is telling us again and again, “Do not be afraid” (Jn: 6:20.) Listen to him and believe in him. “Today, you would hear his voice: harden not your heart” (Heb.3:15). Commit to know your Lord in a more intimate way (through the word of God in the Sacred Scriptures, the Sacraments and prayer life). Christ came to give life in abundance – a life filled with love, joy and peace.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:5-7)
Neran Karmo is a coordinator with the E.C.R.C., the Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center. Visit www.ecrc.us.