Interesting thing, the concept of fear. English is limited in its expression of this word. In French, we use two words. “craindre” and “peur”.
The first signifies a respectful fear, demonstrated by the verses in Proverbs that say, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It carries the idea of special treatment, an understanding of spiritual, physical, mental relationships that make the object of our “fear” something different than ourselves.
Think rabid dog, lion on the Serengeti, dad when you’ve wrecked the car.
The second term is closer to our word terror. It is not about understanding, it is unreasonable, uncontrolled.
Think horror movies, phobias, bogey men.
“For our God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and love and of a sound mind.”
When Paul penned these words to Timothy, he was speaking words of encouragement to a timid young man. Over the years we have come to look at it as saying God does not want us to fear anything. The words in scripture that speak of God’s love, His presence, His power and majesty are many, and where our focus should rest.
I was praying and apologizing for words I had spoken that were meant as warning but were taken as terrorizing. I want the former, never the latter. God then reminded me that He put words of “fear” in scripture too.
“For our adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
We should never be in “peur” of satan. He was defeated, eternally, at the cross. We are free, Spirit filled, powerful. We should always understand that we are in a fight for our lives, a fight for the lives of those we love. It is not pretend. It is not churchy hell, fire and brimstone. It is war. It is bloody.
There’s a difference between courageous and fearless.