There are two kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible; one that is healthy and brings us closer to God, and another that is dishonoring to God and causes separation from Him. Since your question obviously deals with the second of these two, we’ll look at that one first.

In Psalm 56:11 we read, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be AFRAID” (NKJV). It is never good to be AFRAID, for this fear means, as our verse suggests, that we are not trusting God. The Psalmist had the right attitude, for he was trusting in the Lord and thus he was not afraid. In Isaiah 41:10 the Lord comforts the believer with these words: “Do NOT FEAR, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (NASB). We learn from this passage that we will NOT FEAR if we are conscious of the Lord’s presence with us and we will experience His strength in every trial. He says, “I am with you” and we must believe it. If we don’t believe it, we will not enjoy His presence even though He’s with us. And this will surely lead to FEAR and ANXIETY which will indeed “separate us from God.” It’s not that we are literally separated from God, for Jesus promises us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” But as we saw in Psalm 56:11, when there is fear we aren’t trusting the Lord and He will SEEM to be millions of miles away.

This is a sad state to be in, for in 2nd Timothy 1:7 we are told, “For God has not given us a SPIRIT OF FEAR, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” The “spirit of fear” is NOT FROM GOD. He desires us to be free from worry and fear. Notice how “love” is mentioned, along with “power” and “a sound mind.” We read in 1st John 4:18: “There is NO FEAR IN LOVE; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” God has demonstrated His “perfect love” for us by sending His Son to die for us (see verses 9-10), and His love remains the same towards us every minute of every day. If we are basking in the sunshine of God’s love, THERE WILL BE NO FEAR! And we must add, THERE WILL BE NO SEPARATION, for we will be conscious of His blessed presence with us at all times.

Now let’s consider briefly the fear that is “healthy and brings us closer to God.” Consider the following verses from the book of Proverbs:

  • Proverbs 1:7 declares, “The FEAR OF THE LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
  • Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the FEAR OF THE LORD there is strong confidence.”
  • Proverbs 14:27 states, “The FEAR OF THE LORD is a fountain of life.”
  • Proverbs 19:23 promises, “The FEAR OF THE LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”

This FEAR is not one of “being afraid,” but one of “awe” and “reverence.” God deserves to revered and held in awe! And when we do give Him the reverence He deserves, He blesses us richly. We have just seen that the “fear of the Lord” leads to knowledge, confidence, life, and rest. We are exhorted in 1st Peter 1:17 to “pass the time of your sojourning here in FEAR,” and in Hebrews 12:28 to “serve God acceptably with reverence and GODLY FEAR.” If we heed these exhortations, the blessings we saw in Proverbs will be ours (instead of the worries and anxieties mentioned earlier) and we will indeed be brought closer to God (instead of feeling separated from Him). (243.3) (DO)