Two Forms of Servile Fear

The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. (Proverbs 26:13, KJV)

Fear, an ancient adversary, obstructs progress in both our spiritual and material lives. To advance in finances, business, and other areas, overcoming fear—whether it’s fear of failure or fear of loss—is essential. Similarly, conquering fear is crucial for witnessing spiritual breakthroughs in our walk with God. This devotional explores two prevalent forms of fear.

Scripture delineates two distinct types of fear: the reverential fear of God, which is beneficial(good fear), and the slavish, servile fear that debilitates us(bad fear). Here, we focus on the latter, distinguishing between fears rooted in reality versus those born from imagination.

Proverbs 26:13 introduces us to a slothful individual who conjures up fear to justify laziness, claiming, “I cannot go out to work because there is a lion in the street!” While extreme, this scenario underscores a common truth: fears can stem from our own thoughts and imaginations, leading us to feel anxious, fearful, or even depressed over non-existent threats.

However, not all fears are unfounded or illusory. David, navigating the valley of the shadow of death with his sheep, faced tangible dangers in Psalms 23:1-6. This valley, fraught with thieves and predators, posed real threats. Similarly, the disciples’ fear during a storm at sea, as recounted in Mark 4:40, was grounded in the reality of confronting lethal forces of nature—not mere figments of imagination.

Why, then, did Jesus expect his disciples to remain fearless in the face of powerful and potentially harmful sea storms? The answer lies in the transformative power of God’s presence. God encourages us not to fear, not because dangers are absent, but because His protective presence is with us, ready to shield, deliver, and fulfill our needs. Whether facing actual perils, like David, or battling fears of our own making, the key to overcoming fear lies in recognizing and trusting in God’s abiding presence with us.

Many may currently confront real dangers or hardships in areas such as finance, health, family, or ministry. Take heart, and here is what God is saying to you now,

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10, KJV)


Reflect on the two types of servile fear discussed. Which resonates more with your current life situation?

Apply the Word

The presence of God serves as our ultimate shield against fear. To harness this divine protection, we must wholeheartedly believe in His abiding presence and its implications. Remember, even amidst tumultuous waves, the boat could not sink with Jesus aboard, though He was asleep! Let this truth fortify your faith in the Lord, your Shepherd.


Pray for the Holy Spirit’s intervention to liberate you from all forms of servile fear, whether they stem from reality or illusion.

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