Fear. It is an emotion all humans have felt. Fear can limit our ultimate progression and opportunities. Some people even let fear ruin their lives. So what do we know about fear and how can we combat it?
Fear: Adam and Eve’s Experience
While reading in Genesis, we discover that the first emotion mentioned in the Bible is fear. This fear was felt in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3, Satan beguiles Adam and Eve and gets them to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Soon after, God comes to the Garden of Eden and visits Adam and Eve.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?
Adam admits to God that he felt afraid. Adam’s fear came from the knowledge that he was naked in front of God. Satan himself informed Adam of his nakedness. Therefore, the fear Adam felt was provoked by Satan. Likewise, the fear we experience in modern times comes from Satan.
Fear: Satan’s Weapon
Satan wants to limit our progression. He does not want us to progress towards becoming like our brother, Jesus Christ. Satan uses fear to stop our progression and to confuse us on our journeys. For example, Satan knows that tricking a faithful Latter-day Saint into believing that marriage is not a necessary part of our Father’s plan is not likely to work. However, Satan wants to hinder the progression of marriage and family. So he will cause many young adults to become frozen in fear, either too scared to take the initial step in seriously dating or too scared to commit to one individual.
In a BYU Idaho devotional, Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy said:
“Frozen by fear, many sit still as objects being acted upon rather than moving forward and acting in faith”
We have all been blessed with the gift of agency. Therefore, we cannot simply sit around, expecting life to happen to us. We need to make important, life-changing decisions in order to further our progression.
President Monson taught: “It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. The Apostle Paul declared, ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’” Again we learn fear does not come from God!
Fear: Inhibiting Spiritual Guidance
Satan can also use fear to prevent us from receiving personal revelation. When we face an important decision, such as the choice to go on a mission or not, we can become fearful as to what the answer from God will be and if it aligns with our own will.
My first semester at BYU was terrible. By the end of the four months, I was ready to give up on BYU. I had already begun exploring the option of transferring to a different university closer to home. I refused to pray and ask my Father in Heaven what He had planned for me simply because I was petrified He would instruct me to stay at BYU.
One night, I went to bed racking my brain with where my education would take me to next, I noticed I felt this massive pit in my stomach. I burst into tears and finally knelt down. I begged with my Father in Heaven that He wouldn’t send me back to BYU. For a moment, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace and a voice, which said: “You need to go back.” The peace was fleeting and I again began to sob, thinking of how hard returning would be. But I knew this was the plan Heavenly Father had for me.
Long story short, I returned to BYU and had the most life-changing four months of my entire life. My semester was full of miracles, support, and love—a complete 180 from the previous semester. I am so grateful that I trusted the Lord’s plan for me, continued in my progression, and returned to BYU.
Trusting in the Lord is not always easy. But by doing so, we will continue in our progression and not allow Satan to have control over our lives. Have you ever had to dismiss fear in order to feel the Spirit? Let us know in the comments.