What did Franklin Roosevelt mean by the proverbial statement, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?"
First of all, what is fear? Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Now, let's remember that there are some things that demand our respect. To walk into a 600-pound tiger's cage is not exercising respect for that animal's strength or his size -- let alone his sharp teeth.
If a woman is fearful of snakes, that's a legitimate fear. If the snake does not strike her and yet she feels his fangs biting into her neck, that's imaginary fear -- categorized as such because it has not happened yet. The way she can prevent it from becoming reality is to remain a safe distance from the threat.
Satan is legendary for manipulating his host with fear.
Webster defines fear as:
1) a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger.
2) timidity, dread, terror, fright, apprehension, panic
3) a feeling of uneasiness or concern like it is going to rain.
There is nothing that you can do about the rain. It's beyond your control. This would be a prime opportunity to rehearse the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
We can fear what hasn't happened yet or we can eliminate the image from our minds, move forward and make this our finest hour. Fear doesn't work unless we give attention to it.
In I John 4:18, the Word of God says that fear It is great mental or physical pain or anguish.
Fear paralyzes - meaning to render helpless or inoperative, to lock up, freeze, become motionless, unable to respond
This exactly what happened to Peter. Matthew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
The wind, the rain, and the waves brought Peter to a stand still - a place of helplessness. Every negative factor ganged up on his faith. He saw himself sinking before it happened. Again - imaginary fear. However, his fear went from unreal to fact. Notice, it wasn't until he saw the threat. He saw himself gagging already - lungs filled with water. He conceded to death.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Fear and faith cannot co-exist. It is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus for it is impossible to please him without faith. According to Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is mandatory that we starve our fears and feed our faith the word of God.