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Fear

“ ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil’ (Proverbs 19:23). There are two kinds of fear in this verse. One is the fear of the Lord, which nourishes spiritual life in a man. The other is fear in places where knowledge is not examined. What place is this where Wisdom's knowledge is not examined? In this fallen world where many refuse to examine such knowledge. Failure to examine Wisdom's knowledge nourishes unnatural fear in man and brings on the darkness of spiritual ignorance.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 19:23)


“The Lord Jesus begins with fear, encouraging us not to lose heart. God the Father keeps His promises. In fact, our Lord asserts that it is the Father’s capable, able, and good pleasure to bring about the Kingdom of God, to assert His reign over all facets of the entire creation. God is concerned with every matter and action, even those we cannot see physically. However, fear, once unloosed and accepted, can either paralyze us or stampede us to great harm. In every situation where surprise or boredom dominates, Christ encourages us to trust God’s promises such as eternal life (1 Jn 2:25), rejoicing (Ps 29:5), comfort in trials (Is 43:2), providence (Rom 8:28), grace to face whatever comes (2 Cor 12:9), and much, much more. Let our first response to any hint of fear be confession and a declaration of our trust in God. It is a matter of fighting back against the weakening within ourselves by choosing to trust in the Lord, despite whatever we may feel.” (Dynamis 1/4/2020)


“The Christian should not fear or be distressed in difficult circumstances and thus be distracted from trust in God. He should take courage as if the Lord were at hand directing his affairs and strengthening him against all his adversaries. It is as if the Holy Spirit were instructing him even as to the very replies he should make to his enemies.” (St. Basil the Great)


“Of course, God can heal us directly, however He created us to be interconnected with one another. He does not want us to live alone and be isolated. He does not want us to withdraw from one another. He wants synergy. He wants us to exert effort in our healing. If we remain distant and guarded from humanity, it means we will never truly love and fulfill the great commandment. We have no choice but to love and be loved freely and in a carefree spirit. This is a key part of over-riding the fear part of our brain so that we have a chance to have those healing experiences. At our best, we can become fellow of physicians of our souls for each other. Certainly, there is always a chance and a likely one, that we will experience disappointment and be hurt again. However, we come to know and believe that despite similar feelings, it is not the same experience happening again. We also come to learn and believe that I can be hurt again, but still be safe.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Just as one who is physically ill should not worry that he or she is “too sick” to see a doctor, so too do not fear that you will be turned away from the Church because you are “too sinful”—and this is especially so when one is genuinely repentant and intensely desires forgiveness and reconciliation. Some of the greatest saints of the Church, such as Mary of Egypt, were quite notorious sinners, yet they repented, relied on the spiritual healing afforded by the Body and Bride of Christ—the Church—and attained holiness.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“Very often, our hearts are hardened and clouded over with the pains and fears of growing up in a less than perfect world.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“So often, the presence of pride and fear are also what is behind us losing our balance. Pride because we don’t know what we don’t know; fear because we don’t like to not be in control. When we feel out of control we tend to over-function and try to over-control areas of our lives that we have no control over. The great irony, is that when we do this, it makes us feel more out of control. We then lose our balance. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to have all the answers, to be right, to know, and to be in control. The conviction that we have to know all the answers, leads us down the path of pride; whereas, being at peace with what we do not know, leads us down the path of humility. Truly humility has a steadying effect on us…A great irony is that tolerating uncertainty and being at peace with our own powerlessness means being in control.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“Feeling fearful, lost, and overwhelmed is a terrible feeling. It can lead to a type of mental paralysis or it can drive us to try to over-control things which, unintentionally, shuts God out. The best thing we can do during those times is to patiently focus on Christ and be gentle with ourselves in our struggle when doing so. The best thing we can do for other people who are in this state is to be loving and gentle with them, even if their behavior is obnoxious. In other words, to be Christ-like. We need to look deeper and understand there is always some form of unaddressed woundedness and brokenness in any poor behavior. We need to do our best in our own behavior toward them not to drive them deeper into their own sin by harsh judgment and rough treatment. God knows our anguish and pain and theirs, and why any of us are struggling and what we are going through. Sometimes it just takes time and prayer, and love from others, to regain His peace.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Only when we grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit will we receive sure, quiet confidence from Him. Only then may we hope to respond correctly to His leading and His restraint. With time, we can learn to know if a caution comes from God, or from other sources. A second sign is becoming alert to fear (Romans 9:5). What is true about bondage applies also to fearful emotion. Growth in the Spirit produces godly fear and joy in the heart. These gifts enable us to reject fears generated by other spirits, or prompted by the cautions of those who do not know the Lord, but strive to arouse us to faithlessness.” (Dynamis 7/24/2021)

“The other apostles ran away and hid at our Lord’s arrest out of fear for their personal safety. They despaired over what they perceived as His failure to give them the earthly kingdom they had expected the Messiah to bring. Because of St. John’s love for Christ, however, he alone of the twelve disciples remained at His Cross. John learned that “perfect love casts out fear,” for his deep commitment to the Savior overcame any concern for himself. That same loved sustained John for decades through terrible ordeals and remained so characteristic of him that in his last years he routinely taught the simple message, “Little children, love one another.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“…we carry core fears. These core fears could be related to things we fear are true about ourselves, about others, or about the world in general. They can be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious fears can be powerful influencers of our actions and behavior.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Faith and fear are wrestling within the disciples’ hearts. Likewise, our own faith and fear indicate our progress in the struggle to reach the destination that Christ our God wills for us!” (Dynamis 8/9/2020)


“Today we live in a time of uncertainty; but really, today is no more uncertain than yesterday nor the day or year or century before. Certainty is a kind of delusion. It is a delusion that conveniently forgets that there is much, much more going on in the world than we know and can see. How, then, can we live in peace when our life is enveloped in uncertainty? How do we escape the fear of uncertainty? St. Isaac tells us that fear is actually the right place to start. If we do not experience a bit of fear at a frightening prospect, then we are already deluded and not in touch with reality. Fear is the right place to start. However, fear, St. Isaac tells us, can be “swallowed up” by faith. That is, beginning with a clear-eyed assessment of the fearful possibilities (as far as you can surmise them), then we turn our attention to God, who holds our lives in His hands. When we believe in God, then our fear can be swallowed up by faith, like a big fish swallowing a small one.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)


“The (only) alternative to perfected love, which results in confidence at the day of judgment, is fear, which has to do with the punishment one is afraid of receiving at the judgment. As 1 John 4:18 states, “the one who fears [punishment] has not been perfected in love.” It is often assumed by interpreters that the opposite to perfected love (which casts out fear) is imperfect love (which still has fear and therefore no assurance).” (NET Bible, 1 John 4:18)


“Faith in God delivers us from fear. However, faith is still only the middle step. Faith itself can be swallowed up by love. St. Isaac tells us that faith opens a knowledge of God in which we begin to experience and know, know personally, the love of God. And as we know the love of God, even faith takes a second seat. Love becomes the most important thing. Which is why, I think, St. Paul points out that love is much more important than knowledge about things, or even knowledge about faith…Fear, faith and love: all three are aspects of our life in Christ. Fear of God, which sometimes just means fear of the unknown, is swallowed up by faith in God—swallowed up, but never fully removed, at least not until the age to come. And even faith itself, although always important and at hand, even faith can be swallowed up by love.” (Fr. Michael Gillis) 


“…fear can lead to aggression: “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” (Robert J. Wicks)


“The temptation to dispense a rough “justice” against some individual or group flares up whenever we lose our focus on our common humanity and succumb to fear…Fear of men, with their finite power and unproven opinions, always rises from the wellspring of atheism. Those who fear men do not see the hand of God in all things – neither the great events of history, nor the fall of a tiny sparrow to the ground.” (Makoto Fujimura, Dynamis 6/25/2020)


“When we “win” culture war battles by demonizing the other side, the resulting paralysis and disappointments lead to the expanse of fissures rather than the soil of abundance. Having deep convictions about the world is important; but the problem is in assuming that there is a zero-sum environment in which someone wins and someone loses. Cultural estuaries thrive on diversity. Therefore, convictions resulting in sharp disagreements are not the problem. Seeing an environment of severely limited resources, in fear believing that the soil of culture can no longer be a place of abundance, and being trapped in that fear is the problem…A culture of fear has never produced great culture. We do not create great art in response to fear and anxiety; we create great art by loving culture, loving the materials and stories from which to create art.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“If our anxieties and fears have been heightened to a greater of lesser degree during this coronavirus pandemic, it need not cause us further anxiety concerning our faith, or a debilitating discouragement that we are not being faithful enough. To see our weaknesses is not meant to discourage us. In fact, it should encourage us to be honest about ourselves, so as to face and wrestle with our fears. Perhaps like the patriarch Jacob in that mysterious event when he wrestled with an angel, that is how we can overcome them. We know our weaknesses, now we need to avail ourselves of those “tools” from within the Church which, when humbly turned to, can build up our faith…Otherwise, our social isolation will only create spiritual fatigue and emptiness.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff)


“How tragic it is, then, for our spiritual vision to be so out of focus that we become blind to the beauty all around us and lose faith in the abiding presence of our Lord, Who has conquered even the grave itself and promised to be with us always even to the end of the world. Those who believe that there is no truth or hope beyond this life and trust in no one other than themselves will inevitably be captive to fear, worry, anger, ingratitude, and a host of other spiritual diseases. The hard truth is that this is not a temptation only for atheists, for there is often a great contrast between what we say we believe and the actual state of our souls.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“When facing fears, don't panic; when hearing negative feedback, don't lose a sense of God's love; when feeling a desire to pull back from God and avoid quiet prayer, be tough, stay with it in patience, perseverance, and with an open heart.” (Robert J. Wicks) “Human beings are easily alarmed, and Christians often respond to their fears by exaggerating the danger and by seeking solutions that do not appropriately address the problems…Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us…Of course, there are irrational fears (phobias) of specific things. I cannot say whether such phobias are related to lack of faith, or whether they can be overcome by faith alone. But fear in general can be a very destructive and oppressive force in one’s life. It can dictate our actions and our decisions, and thus may govern our very lives…Fear is, of course, natural, but it must be controlled.” (David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Elisabeth Elliot, Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“God hears His us when we have doubts and questions: “Thus says the Lord, ‘If you return, I will restore you’” (Jeremiah 10:19). First we must return to the task God sets before us, but more importantly we must return to the Lord Himself. Note how God yokes return to restore (vs. 19). Repentance includes the honest admission that we are struggling to face the consequences that accompany speaking the truth, and exposing our doubts about God. But it also means continuing to tell the truth: staying with it. God is truth. We are to separate our emotions, doubts, and fears from His will so as not to fall into delusion.” (OCPM 10/20/2016)

“We will never cease to need an array of spiritual guides to help us deal with our unrecognized and unnecessary fears, to help us to appreciate the need for proper detachment, and to lead us to a sense of enthusiasm and perspective in a world strained by anxiety and confusion.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“Fears and anxieties are rarely resolved by God in the form of answers to problems. They are far more likely to arise organically from the depths of a relationship with Him...It’s all about God in us, shaping us, breathing within us, sounding us out, summing us up, spicing our lives with the savor of His immense love...we can also take comfort in knowing that Jesus also suffered. He understands our fears, our weaknesses, and our disappointments... He promised never to leave us...and He intercedes on our behalf... In times of pain, persecution, or suffering, we should trust confidently in Christ.” (Hieromonk Maximos, Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 11:35-39)

"Ambiguity is all about loss of control. Control is a defense mechanism against immaturity and fear. We fear the things we are not mature enough to handle…Embracing ambiguity challenges our need to understand and control reality. After all, we are rational creatures with a God-given intellect. When we begin to embrace ambiguity we become less rigid, less black-and-white in our thinking. We become softer. We become more kind.” (Albert S. Rossi)

"The opposite of faith is self-reliance, which breeds fear and anxiety. Whenever I cease to lead a God-centered life, whenever I neglect to put myself, everything, and everyone in His hands, I am left alone to play God on the stage of my concerns, challenges, situations, and relationships. Of course I inevitably find that I’m ill-suited for this role, because my own shoulders are simply too insecure a foundation for the burdens of the world. This insecurity is what brings all sorts of fear into my life… my “salvation,” consists largely of letting go of these bad kinds of fear, and replacing them with faith." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Think about when you are most afraid. It’s when you don’t know the outcome of something…People are afraid of the unknown, because they don’t have mastery of it and can’t control the results.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“God is concerned with every matter and action, even those we cannot see physically. However, fear, once unloosed and accepted, can either paralyze us or stampede us to great harm…Let our first response to any hint of fear be confession and a declaration of our trust in God. It is a matter of fighting back against the weakening within ourselves by choosing to trust in the Lord, despite whatever we may feel.” (OCPM 12/2/2017)

“It takes intense heat to purify gold and silver. Similarly, it often takes the heat of trials for the Christian to be purified. Through trials, God shows us what is in us and clears out anything that gets in the way of complete trust in Him…So when tough times come your way, realize that God wants to use them to refine your faith and purify your heart.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 17:3)

“Human beings are easily alarmed, and Christians often respond to their fears by exaggerating the danger and by seeking solutions that do not appropriately address the problems…Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.” (David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Elizabeth Elliot)

“Actions motivated by fear are rarely helpful, and fear produces small souls and hearts. That’s why the scripture reminds us that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).” (Father Barnabas Powell)

"Fear is an underlying obstacle, even when I don’t notice it, to entering into a true relationship with God, or anyone else, for that matter. I am called to walk through my fear, however, and keep following His call, despite my own “unworthiness,” or other people’s opinion." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Remember that fear and love cannot co-exist. Growing in God’s love necessitates ignoring fear of the consequences of following God, and ignoring the fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone which calls us to greater sense of self, in order to have a greater sense of Him!” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“...we are meant to live, not in fear, but in a joyful state, knowing and experiencing the love of God.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“What fears of the other lurk in your heart that keep you from seeing all people as created in God’s image? While we need discernment, we can never allow our fears, our prejudices, or our ignorance to keep us from communion with others.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“The fear of life is actually more debilitating than the fear of death…Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.” (H. Norman Wright, Elisabeth Elliot)

“I found myself recalling Easter Sunday when the two Marys went to the tomb where, three days earlier, they had laid the body of their beloved friend and son Jesus but found the tomb empty. An angel of the Lord was waiting for them to explain that Jesus was missing not because someone had stolen his body, but because he had been raised from the dead, just as he had predicted. The guards were terrified, and the Scripture reads they shook and became like dead men…I have always thought that was such an interesting description of what fear does to you. You become like the dead, still living, but not really living….Nobody should live in fear and be like the dead. God wants us to live like the living, not the dead. We’re not meant to live like the dead. And we’re not meant to treat other living people like the dead either.” (Lillian Daniel)

"Fear disrupts faith and becomes the biggest obstacle to trusting and obeying God…Sometimes faith is the absence of fear. Other times faith may be choosing to believe God even when your heart is melting with fear…We can overcome fear by trusting God for His protection in our darkest hour.” (John Ortberg, Beth Moore, Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 3:1-2)

"Of course, there are irrational fears (phobias) of specific things. I cannot say whether such phobias are related to lack of faith, or whether they can be overcome by faith alone. But fear in general can be a very destructive and oppressive force in one’s life. It can dictate our actions and our decisions, and thus may govern our very lives…Fear is, of course, natural, but it must be controlled. To be dominated by fear is a sign of lack of faith and trust in God." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“The fear of God shouldn’t scare us out of our wits; it should scare us into them…The soul that has once been waked, or stung, or uplifted by the desire of God, will inevitably (I think) awake to the fear of losing Him.” (Randy Alcorn, C. S. Lewis)

#HNormanWright #ElisabethElliot #LilianDaniel #JohnOrtberg #BethMoore #CSLewis #RandyAlcorn #FatherBarnabasPowelll #DavidKinnamanGabeLyons #SrDrVassaLarin #FrStavrosNAkrotirianakis #AbbotTryphon #AlbertRossi #OCPM #LifeApplicationStudyBible #ArchimandriteVassiliosPapavassiliou #RobertJWicks #HieromonkMaximos #MakotoFujimura #Dynamis #FrStephenKostoff #FrPhilipLeMasters #FrJoshuaMakoul #FrMichaelGillis #NETBible #FrThomasHopko #SacramentalLivingMinistries #OrthodoxStudyBible #StBasiltheGreat #FrJoshuaMakoul

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