Fear - Destruction or Motivation
As a man, I sometimes like to believe that I'm not afraid of anything. Feeling I can handle any situation or issue that may arise without fear and overcoming it in a logical and methodical fashion. But this would not be the truth.
When we are young, we are afraid of things such as being afraid of the dark or of spiders (some may still be afraid of spiders). As we age, we might become afraid of things like failing a test at school or of disappointing out parents. When we become parents, our fears are for our children, as we worry about them and who they will become as adults. Will they become responsible adults who walk in the ways of the LORD? Or will they be lead down the paths of sin and destruction? As a parent, that fear is always in the back of my mind as I attempt to mold my children into good Christians and keep the world at bay. Finally, as we get older still, the focus of our fears may be that we worry about getting sick, losing loved ones or a spouse. The fear of death may also come into play as we contemplate what our end may be and what will come after our body passes away. These are all very real fears for humans as they progress from children to adults. Our fears can be used in both productive ways and destructive ways depending on how we approach them and deal with them.
For Christians, fear can be good thing that motivates us. Hebrews 10:31 states correctly, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". God is the creator of all things, and will judge us in the end. This fear of God can help us to stay on the straight and narrow as we know we must answer for our sins. But just as we need to fear the Lord, we also need to temper that fear with trust and understanding. Psalms 19:9-11 states "the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold. Sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned and keeping them, there is great reward".
With fear, trust, and understanding of our Lord, Christians have the tools to deal with the problems and temptations of this world. Whenever I become fearful, one of my favorite passages to read is Ephesians 6:10-18, and I would ask that you turn there now so we may read this.
When we read this passage, we don’t feel fearful or afraid, we feel empowered, knowing that we have God given tools to fight against our fears and temptations. We should aspire to live without fear, knowing our God is just and with his help, nothing in this world can overcome us when we keep our priorities in line with what is instructed.
Unfortunately, sometimes our fears can be used in damaging ways when we do not turn to God for help in overcoming them. We may be afraid of offending family members who will not approve of our commitment to the Lord, and will ostracize or shun us. Young people may fear rejection from friends or peers if they attempt to walk in the ways of the Lord. We may fear to speak about the Lord to coworkers or others because it may be frowned upon by management, and even by our government. More and more, our society mocks Christians and turns away from what is right with God and for us as Christians. In these cases, I would 1st like to refer them all back to Hebrews 10:31, and then I would like to refer Christians back to what we read in Ephesians 6:10-18.
It can be hard to control our fears of what can happen in this world. The Christians of the New Testament had fear of torture and death for their beliefs. In some places of the world today, people are persecuted for their belief in Christ. How should they control their fears and continue to walk in the ways of the Lord? They should put on the whole armor of God, and fear no man or earthly punishment, and keep their fear on where it should be as per what the Bible teaches.
Christians can have fears just like everyone else, and sometimes those fears can cause us to falter in our faith, to lose sight of what is really to be feared, trusted, and loved. Some may be living outside of the Lord and his commandments and may be fearful of making that commitment to follow Christ and his plan. The Lord is longsuffering and he loves each and every one of us. He will receive and forgive if you repent and are baptized. Then, you will have the tools needed to overcome fear and to put on the whole armor of God, knowing that you can then have the courage to focus on the goal of heaven for eternity.