We spent a long time trying to determine the theme for our inaugural conference. It needed to be broad enough that most women could relate to it and yet not something that everyone else was covering. We considered so many great topics, but once fear came up, we knew that was it. Every single one of us deals with fear, often on a daily basic.
Fear is not a modern problem. In fact, the Bible includes 365 mentions of “fear not”. That’s a “fear not” for each day of the year. Obviously, this was something that God knew we would deal with and yet, He wanted us to know that we don’t have to live in fear.
As we count down the weeks until Women of Focus 2020, I’d like to take us on a journey through the Bible looking at biblical women and their experiences of being fearful and fearless. We’ll look at what caused them to be afraid and what they did to overcome their fears. With each woman we’ll also learn a little about ourselves, what brings out fear in us and what we can do to become truly fearless.
What better place to start our journey than with Eve in the Garden of Eden.
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.Genesis 3:10
Our fear is often based on negative experiences or information from our past. As a teenager I was attacked by a big dog. As a result, I am now fearful around dogs, afraid that they might suddenly bite me. Had I never been attacked by that dog, I would likely think they were all cute and cuddly. But as it is, fear creeps in every time a dog approaches me.
In the beginning there was no fear. There was no need to fear anything. All Adam and Eve knew was paradise. What was there to fear in that?
When the serpent first approached Eve, she had no reason to fear him. It never occurred to her that he could possibly intend her harm since she didn’t know what harm was.
In Genesis 3, the serpent takes what Eve knows, that they’re not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then questions it. She responds by adding to it. God said not to eat from the tree. She adds that they can’t even touch it. He piques her interest by telling her that God is keeping them from something that’s good for them. She gives in to the temptation and shares with Adam.
What the serpent said was true. They now know good and evil. Their innocence is forever shattered, and they’re afraid.
Why were they afraid? Adam says they were afraid because they were naked, but it’s much more than that. They were afraid to face God because of their sin.
Do you remember as a child being afraid to face your parents after doing something you knew you weren’t supposed to do? You weren’t just afraid of the punishment. You were afraid because you’d let them down. You’d disappointed them, and it was hard to look in their eyes and admit what you’d done. Like Eve, you might have tried to blame someone else, but ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how Adam and Eve felt as they were forced out of Eden, but I can imagine they were pretty scared. They were leaving behind the only home they’d ever known to start a new life in a world filled with obstacles and trials. They were also losing their relationship with God. While He was still with them, He was no longer walking along beside them in the same way.
Despite the sorrow that Eve faces as a result of her sin, she doesn’t grow bitter. When she bears a child, she is thankful to have “acquired a man from the Lord.” When her one son kills her other son, she bravely continues on with life. When Seth is born, she says, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
Eve could have given up on life. She certainly had plenty of reason to feel that life was hopeless. Instead, she pushes forward, focusing on her blessings instead of her fears.
What about you? Are you living in fear because of sin that is standing between you and God? It’s easy to give into those fears, calling them holy fears. But that’s not God’s intention. Yes, He wants us to address our sin. But once we admit them and bring them to Him, He wants us to move on and focus not on our failures but on His grace.
Lord God, we come to you today thanking you for Your mercy and grace, for loving us no matter how many times we fail you. Please bring to our mind any sins that are coming between us and you. Then forgive us for those sins. Lead us away from temptations. Give us the courage to stand firm and to be FEARLESS in our walk with You. We love You. In Christ name we pray. Amen.