After Adam and Eve ate from the one tree God told them not to eat from, the first emotion the text tells us they felt was “fear.” Increasingly, I’m becoming more convinced “fear” is the chief experiential problem with humanity. Even the most boisterous bravado is merely a cover-up for it.
Fear drives every other unpleasant thing we do. Fear drives us to hoard money rather than give it away generously. Fear causes us to lash out at political foes for fear their worldview may rule the day. Fear causes us to keep quiet over sin rather than risk rejection by calling it out. Fear is the sin underneath all other sins. So if we could strike a blow against fear, we could eradicate or diminish many other destructive behaviors.
Numbers 13-14 has become an important text of Scripture in my battle against fear. I’ll just mention one thing fear does we need to remember each day: fear distorts reality
Moses sends 12 scouts to check out the land that would become their home. Ten of those scouts return with a dire message. The inhabitants of that land will “devour” them. And EVERY inhabitant of that land was physically enormous. So much so they seemed like grasshoppers to them. Because of their default posture of fear, the scouts have exaggerated the challenges that lie ahead of them. A molehill has turned into mountain.
Fear distorts reality.
This is critically important for both leaders and followers. Understanding what fear does is critical in your role as a leader and as a follower: fear exaggerates the challenges and distorts reality. When the challenges are exaggerated and reality is distorted it will make you a poor leader and a poor follower because now you’re reacting and evaluating and making decisions in response to something that doesn’t really exist.
It’s no wonder the most frequent command in the Bible is: Do not fear.