Just one more thing: Molding character through fearJust one more thing: Molding character through fear

   Are you afraid? Sometimes overly tense? Unsure of yourself?
   All of us are at times. There are healthy as well as unhealthy fears. Here in the Los Angeles Calif., area you can be sure I watch for oncoming traffic before crossing a vehicle-choked thoroughfare. And I must admit to having a touch of anxiety about entering 50-story skyscrapers in "earthquake country,"
   Medical science has catalogued our fears. Some appear amusing, but all are real. A common one is acrophobia, or the fear of heights. If you fear being closed in, you've got claustrophobia, The fear of cats is gatophobia; the canine equivalent is cynophobia. And here's one that's restricted my diet for years - arachibutyrcphobia - the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Healthy fears

   But is fear, or anxiety as many term it today, healthy? It may surprise you to know that certain fears are necessary - some even for salvation. For example, first and foremost is the fear of God. God says that "by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life" (Proverbs 22:4). The fear of the Eternal is also the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).
   Actually, "fear" is a mistranslation of sorts. The Hebrew word means "a profoundly deep respect and awe." If you want to do an interesting and inspiring Bible study sometime, look up the word fear and see how many promises are connected with fearing God. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
   [Line missing] dance of fear - except the right fear of God. How many of us in Spokesman Club haven't suddenly grown a huge knot in our throats just before that first icebreaker?
   Even great men of the Bible were terrified or overly anxious at times.
   Abraham, the "father of the faithful," feared the men of Gerar and tried to palm his beautiful wife off as his sister (Genesis 20). The apostle Paul, a man taught in person by Jesus Christ, told the people of Corinth some of his experiences in preaching the Gospel: "It was trouble at every turn, wrangling all round me, fears in my own mind" (II Corinthians 7:5, Moffatt).
   Judah's king, Jehcshaphat, acted just like you or I would, when he heard of the advancing armies: "Jehoshaphat was afraid" ( II Chronicles 20:3, Moffatt). But he immediately did what we all should do in the face of disaster - he called a fast and asked God for help.
   As our brethren who are war veterans can attest, war is probably one of the ultimate trials. But, if you're like me, a "minor" trial can rank right up there with Jehoshaphar's experience.
   Many times I have felt like Jehoshaphat when he said: "We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do" (verse 12, King James Version).
   Jehoshaphat was waiting for instructions. He didn't expect God to casually perform a miracle - he was ready to do his part.
   God's answer? "Be not afraid nor dismayed by the reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's" (verse 15). And [Line missing] all make. Often, we try to do what only God can do in a trial, and leave what we're supposed to do undone!

Rely on God

   Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong learned this same lesson as God used him to build Ambassador College. He did everything he could as if it depended on him, all the while relying on God to deliver the college. Like the prophet Elisha said in another instance, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (II Kings 6:16).
   Judah's part in the victory over the Moabites and Ammonites was similar to the role we have today: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper" (II Chronicles 20:20).
   Belief in God and commandment keeping require action. As the apostle of God's Church, Mr. Armstrong serves as the physical, human guide to lead us to victory under Christ. If we obey and believe what God says through His apostle, we can claim the promise of deliverance in II Chronicles 20.
   Jehoshaphatts ancestor, King David, also sought God and was delivered from his fears (Psalm 34:4). Unlike man, God never lets you down (Deuteronomy 31:6).
   When you're anxious and fearful, don't forget you have a High Priest who's itching to get in and help you out (Hebrews 4:14-16). Don't forget, as a human Christ discovered what fear was like and under stands what you're going through (verse 15).
   Remember also that through this same High Priest we can do anything (Philippians 4:13), so "have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6, Revised Standard Version).
   And what happens then? "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (verse 7).

Publication Date: July 27, 1981
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