Fear is the uneasy feeling that we are inadequate. It is an alarm that goes off when we feel threatened. It keeps people from the attainment of their goals.
I’m not talking about normal, natural fears—such as the fear of falling or the fear of walking onto a busy highway. I’m talking about a gripping, paralyzing fear that is truly a spirit of fear. Paul wrote to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Let me give you an example of this type of fear. Imagine a person who believes strongly that the Lord desires him to take a new job. He starts with confidence and enthusiasm. Soon he realizes that has much to learn about how to succeed in this new role. The whole project begins to seem insurmountable and overwhelming. He begins to take to heart the criticism of others. He feels as if he is a failure and will never succeed at this new position. He says, “I don’t have what it takes. I’m scared of taking any more risks.” The longer that trend in thinking goes unchecked, the more he moves in to sheer panic until he just wants to flee completely. Fear wins out and he does not accomplish God’s goal for his life.