Perhaps one of the most important characteristics God placed within us as humans is fear. That’s right, good old-fashioned fear, being “scared” of something. Fear comes in many different forms and levels, but fear can be as much a good thing as it is a bad thing.
Fear and Christianity go hand in hand. Even with respect to the Bible and Christianity, fear has a good side and an ugly side. I’m sure while reading this you may be asking, “how in the world can fear be a good thing”. Keep reading and I’ll explain.
What’s Holding You Back?
Many people claim to be “good people” and in fact, are genuinely good and decent people, honest, trustworthy, hard-working, the whole package. Unfortunately just being a “good person” will not get them into heaven.
Jesus himself made this crystal clear in the Bible in John 14:6 when He said, “I amA)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-26675A”> the wayB)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-26675B”> and the truthC)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-26675C”> and the life.D)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-26675D”> No one comes to the Father except through me”. What did Jesus mean here? Unless you accept Him as your savior, believe and understand that He died on the cross for all of our sins, was laid to rest in a sealed tomb, defeated death and arose on the 3rd day, you can be the best person in the world and still find yourself in the pits of hell after you die. Yes, that’s blunt, but does that strike up any fear in you?
So what is holding you back from taking the plunge into becoming a Christian? Are you “too cool”? Afraid people will make fun of you? Are you scared that if you become a Christian you’ll have to put aside all those “fun things” that you’re doing now that all your friends and neighbors are doing? Maybe you’re afraid you’ll be alienated by others.
Note the common terms in the paragraph above; afraid, scared……….. That’s fear rearing itself in an ugly manner. In reality, that’s the sinful person in us, satan himself, holding us back. Fear is what is holding you back.
Fear Can Be Good
Fear is sort of like our very own personal built-in alarm system. Whenever danger lies ahead, or perceived danger, something that may cause us harm or something we think may cause us harm, our instincts kick in and hold us back. Keep in mind however that there does not need to be imminent danger for you to be scared. In other words, as humans our imaginations run wild on us and we begin to imagine what could happen if we do a certain thing.
This can be good and bad. In terms of being a Christian, or becoming a Christian, fear of how we will be perceived or treated by others is what holds us back. But in terms of living every day life, fear is what keeps us from touching that skillet that we aren’t sure whether or not it’s still hot. This is good fear; natural fear.
The Bad Side of Fear
Fear can be a very powerful tool of satan for both Christians and non-Christians. Even worse, fear is likely the one tool that satan uses to hold people back from becoming a Christian. Going even further, fear is a tool satan uses to prevent Christians from full obedience to Christ.
What does this mean? Let’s say you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as you personal savior. You’ve sat there in church, listened attentively Sunday after Sunday, said the sinners prayer, you’re all good. Right?…..
So what’s holding you back from being baptized? Scared of getting up in front of people and getting dunked in a tank of water? Why don’t you share your faith with your friends you’ve known for years and years? Scared they’ll alienate you or make fun of you? Why don’t you pay the full 10% of your tithes as the Bible directs? Scared you won’t have enough money at the end of the month? Why don’t you give that homeless person whatever cash you have on you when you see them? Scared they’ll us it for something you don’t agree with?
Notice once again the common term above,,,,,,,,,,”scared”. This is fear holding you back from being the obedient Christian you could be. This is the bad side of fear.
Not a Christian yet? What is holding you back from silently saying the sinners prayer and accepting Christ as your savior? Are you afraid if you do take that plunge you’ll then have to act different, talk different, and do good things all the time and subject yourself to criticism? Again, fear……….
Don’t Let Fear Dictate Your Eternity
The average life expectancy of humans is around 78 years. We get 78 years to make our mark on this world, on average. Thinking about that number, that really isn’t that long. In the Bible, James 4:14 says,………”You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Thinking of how long a vapor lasts in front of you, this can be a humbling verse.
Fear causes us as humans to take one of four actions:
- Freeze – We stop what we’re doing and focus on whatever is scaring us to decide what action to take next.
- Fight or
- Flight – We then either choose to fight or leave the situation (flight).
- Fright – This is where we choose to do nothing. The cowardly approach where we just sit back, be scared and simply let the situation eat away at us.
What is your immediate reaction when the topic of church, or being a Christian, or the Bible comes up? If its at work, do you simply shy away from the topic because it isn’t “politically correct”? Do you choose to go into “fight” mode and stand up for your faith, God and Jesus Christ. Or do you go into flight mode and just sit back, listen to others criticize the one thing that will save them, and you, from an eternity in hell and not say a word?
Control fear by trusting in God and God alone. All too often we as humans try to take situations into our own hands. Part of becoming a Christian, perhaps the most important initial step, is to come to the point in your life when you realize and accept that there is nothing we can do as individuals to save ourselves from eternal damnation, no matter how good we think we may be.
Maybe you’re one who knows you’ve not been the best person, some people even joke about it. But now you’ve come to that point where you’re ready to submit to that higher authority. So what’s holding you back?
While we as individuals may not be able to completely control fear, God can control anything. In the bible in Psalm 23:4, God says through the writer, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”. God is always with us, if we allow him to be.
When we go out on our own and try to “fix” things on our own without consulting God, even through a small prayer, we’re basically saying, “God, I don’t need your help”. Who are we to offend and sluff off the creator of the universe?
Control fear by accepting God’s help in all you do. Control fear by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Imagine the weight of fears lifted in knowing that although we may be here on this earth for 78 years on average, if we accept Christ and control those fears holding us back from becoming a Christian and obedient Christians, we have eternity in Heaven to look forward to.