God's love drives out fear, helps us stand, fight
I'm convinced that is what's at the root of so many sins. Fear of who we are, fear of who we're not. Fear of what we don't know. Fear that we are not enough, fear that God is not enough. This fear inside us manifests itself through the ways we sin externally.
It makes sense that fear is such a huge part of sin: it's the very thing that entered into the world after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.
Adam and Eve believed the serpent's lie that God was withholding good things from them. They chose to believe some made-up junk that was in stark contrast to the beautiful, all-providing, life-giving truth God had told them and created them to live.
Adam doesn't specify what he's afraid of when God comes looking for him and Eve in Genesis 3:10; he only says that he is afraid. Afraid enough to hide from the God who gave him and Eve life from his very breath in a garden that was paradise created just for them. They were afraid of God, afraid of their sin, afraid of themselves.
But that's only how our story begins, not the way it ends.
Because God is not satisfied with letting us live in fear. Fear is the opposite of his love, peace, confidence and life abundant that he created us to live in this life and the next. He did not create us to hold back, but to manifest his mighty courage to a world desperately searching for a hint of something valiant.
Zephaniah 3:15, 17 is a battle cry God gives us that must terrify the enemy: "The Lord, the king of Israel, is with you; there is no reason now to be afraid. ... The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you, as joyful as people at a festival."
God promises us that he is with us. Because of that, there is no reason ever, in all the world, to be afraid. We have nothing to fear (not even fear itself) because our God is the creator of the universe and one glimpse at the heart of this mighty king is enough to save a world; enough to send us to our knees or make us stand breathless; enough to make us marvel at his goodness that we can't comprehend and didn't know was possible.
He is the one who was love before anything else existed, and he is mighty and passionate and fearless. When we have a holy fear of him -- not a fear ridden with shame and confusion, but one filled with wonder and awe and marvel and hope and love and faith that our God is who he says he is and that he loves us -- we have nothing else to fear.
Fear is a lie. God is always at work in us, perfecting his love that drives out all fear, helping us to be courageous, to stand and fight and have victory.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.