Cowards Will Not Enter God’s Kingdom, part 2

 

In my previous post on fear, I wrote about how fear is not often spoken about, nor thought of as one of the more heinous and wicked sins Christians deal with.  And although this is not universally true for every believer, in my experience fear has mostly fallen by the wayside, when it comes to tackling it head on.  I suspect that many of you would agree with this.  But I believe it is time to get honest with ourselves, and I include myself at the top of that list.  Unbiblical and unholy fear can destroy us, if we neglect to deal with it.  I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for making me aware that I need much work in this area.  And I hope and pray that He does the same for you.  No one is immune to the fear of man, or fear of the future.  And don’t forget the enemy knows that if he can get you to fear man, that you will not fear God.  And that is the most dangerous place to be!  As Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters, only one.

Now please do not misunderstand me, there is a type of fear that is natural and good.  If you see a grizzly bear while out hiking, you should get scared!!  That is natural, not sinful.  As far as whether you should run from the bear, or stand and face him or her head on, I’ll leave that to other experts.  I am no outdoorsman.  What I am referring to is ungodly fear, especially the fear of man and fear of what might happen to us in the future.  These two often go hand in hand.  This is the type of fear that makes us shrink back from obeying God, and causes us to please man instead.  It’s the type that does the comfortable and easy thing, instead of obeying Christ.  This type of fear is one of the reasons our Lord Jesus had to die on the cross.  Sinful fear had to be paid for by our Savior.  That blood flowing at Calvary didn’t just pay for murder, homosexuality, adultery, jealousy, and pride.  It paid for sinful fear as well.

Perhaps this would be a good time to define exactly what we’re dealing with here.  According to dictionary.com, fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”  So, when we are talking about sinful fear, we must take the definition a little further.  When I put it all together, I would define sinful fear as this: “believing, and acting on the belief, that pleasing people and avoiding the unpleasant consequences of not pleasing them, is more important than standing up for the truth of God and obeying the commands of Jesus Christ.”  I may adjust this definition in the future, but I am afraid to right now. (my laugh track is already dying out)

Over my years of walking with Christ,  I have seen the increasing temptation and allurement of giving in to ungodly fear.  And, from time to time, I find myself succumbing to its attraction.  Succumbing to fear of man gratifies us in the moment.  It brings with it a sense of relief, and the ease of avoiding what might happen to us.  Fortunately for us, God is all too aware how much His children are in danger of this attraction!   He has given us abundant warnings.  Maybe not as much as other evils, right?  I mean, certainly the most repeated commands in all of Scripture are the “do not commit sexual immorality” type commands,  right?  With all of the debauchery going on today and throughout history, and with all of the pain it causes to ourselves and our families……not to mention society at large.  With the toxic increase of sexual sin in our nation, surely that must be up there as most repeated??!  Oh wait a sec……… my apologies, there is something worse than that I’m forgetting.  The most repeated command is, of course, “Do not murder!”  That has to be the most repeated, right?  Taking a human life??  Of course!  Ok, I think you get my point, and you see where I am headed.  According to research (and I’m taking everyone’s word on this one), the most repeated command in the Bible is some form of “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”  Maybe we know this to be intellectually true, that it is the most mentioned command in the Bible.  But do we act like it most of the time?  Hmmm…….

We sometimes hear about men and women having study groups, undergoing therapy, enrolling in “12 step” programs, and starting entire ministries dealing with all manner of sin issues.  Everything from drunkenness, gluttony, homosexuality, pornography, anger, and adultery.  And don’t get me wrong.  These are serious sins, as all sins are.  We should never neglect fighting any sin that we’ve been made aware of.  The Christian life is all about looking to Jesus Christ for all of our joy and fulfillment, and fighting against anything that hinders that joy.  And all of these sins I mentioned (and many I did not), will hinder your joy in Christ.  So fight them with all the weapons God has given us. (See Ephesians 6 for this).  But now is also the time to get real against fear of man.  Let’s put it to death, through the working of God’s Spirit.  Here is the question you and I need to ponder: Since “Fear not” is the most repeated command in Scripture, how and when are we going to start attacking this sin with fervor?  At some point of my blogging experience, I plan on writing about ways in which we can successfully put the fear of man to death.  So until then, remember this warning along with a precious promise: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

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