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The Only Thing We Have to Fear

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The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied. (Proverbs 19:23)

Franklin D. Roosevelt coined one of America’s iconic maxims in his first inaugural address: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s not true.

Roosevelt was trying to quell the national panic of financial crisis, urging Americans not to succumb to “unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts.” It is true that irrational fear must be resisted. But it’s not true that fear is the only thing we need to fear.   

In fact, fear itself is not wrong. God actually designed us to be fearers. Fear is a faith-revealer. What we fear reveals what we trust. It’s a strong response to a perceived threat commanding us to protect our hope. In that way it governs our behaviors.

That means fear really isn’t our problem. If we fear the wrong things it’s because our faith is in the wrong things.

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