Is Fear Real?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 27, 2014 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Recently I saw the movie “After Earth” starring Will Smith and his son. It’s a movie that is not for the squeamish. Will and his son play a father/son duo, stranded on a planet where they are being hunted by a very large creature. Will’s character is injured. His son, Kitai, is afraid, because he saw this creature kill his sister when he was younger. Now, it is up to Kitai to travel through desperate environmental conditions and activate a rescue beacon. As Will’s character preps Kitai for the journey, he tells him about his own journey with fear:

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine [my story] changed.”

I was blown away by that quote and realized in that moment that we give far too much attention to our fears. Danger is real. Caution and protection are often necessary. But fear is a choice. Fear is a response to a circumstance, person, thought, etc. In the Bible, I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” It’s amazing to read that. If we fear, we are not made perfect in love. That Greek word translated as “made perfect” from the original Bible text, also means “made genuine” or “complete.”

So, fear is a reaction from an imperfect or disingenuous place of living. Something that is disingenuous is fake, or not real.

God has not invited us to live in a fake world of our own imagination. He has not invited us to make up our own stories about what we think is real. God has invited us to live as real people in the story that He has written. That story includes danger. He has allowed the consequences of sin and rebellion so that we appreciate and are aware of our need for Him – just like we as parents allow our children to discover results of their own choices, in order to better consider their need for parental wisdom and guidance. Our story includes scary and deadly things – mainly because we continue to create our own stories complete with all the ugliness of human selfishness and cruelty.

And in the face of that, God offers to teach us, guide us, and complete us in HIS love. HIS love drives out fear, because it is saturated with HIS all-knowing perspective and His peace and HIS power. Love pierces through danger, sees the heart of the issue, and goes after what is best for all involved. Love cannot stand shadow or untruth, and it exposes the lies that threaten us. Love faces danger and the potential harm it can bring and says, “You are not alone, I am right here.” Even just the knowledge that we are not alone in the face of danger makes danger smaller, and our courage greater.

I admit that I am not complete in love. You probably aren’t either. So what are we going to do about it? Kitai chose to face his fears, out of his love for his father and the belief in what his father taught him. Will you choose to listen and learn in the same way from your Heavenly Father?