The Opposite of Fear


What are you afraid of? Everyone has fears. The list of “phobias” seems to grow longer every year. Some of them seem silly – unless you are the one suffering from them!

Fear is a word we hear everyday – we have “institutionalized” the word into our everyday vocabulary. We call it “terrorism” – the desire to use violent means to strike terror or fear into the hearts of the people of the world.

In fact, fear is so common today that a team of psychologists at the Anxiety Treatment Center in Chicago, Illinois, last month released the “Top 10 Phobias” for the new decade. The experts report that the following phobias were the most common in a decade that was shaped by fear. Number one on the list is terrorism – we are afraid of what the radical killers will do next. Then there are the more well known and common fears of flying, heights, spiders and confined spaces as well as more unusual fears like fear of dogs, fear of thunder and lightning, and public speaking.

So if we ask the question, “What are you afraid of?”, everyone has an answer. Jesus however did not ask His followers the question, “What are you afraid of?” Instead He asked, “Why are you afraid?” As He was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small fishing boat, a life-threatening storm started to swamp the boat. The Disciples feared for their lives. What did Jesus say? He didn’t say, “What are you afraid of?” He said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:23-26)

For Jesus, the question is not “Which phobia do you have?” The question is, “How in light of my presence can you be afraid when you should have faith?” In Scripture, doubt is not the opposite of faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. So in a world of terror, phobias, and fears, God’s answer for us is not courage – God’s answer for us is faith!