Fear is real, even for those of us who seem confident. But fearing the wrong thing can make us react in destructive and unhelpful ways.
When we live out of fear of something, we are declaring our faith in the power of that thing. Remember, in Luke 8:22-25, the incident of Jesus calming the storm. In that account, the disciples were afraid of the storm. And Jesus asked, “where is your faith?” The answer was, their faith was in the destructive nature of the storm, over and above the saving power of Jesus. When he calmed the storm, their fear (and faith) transferred from the storm to Christ. They now knew he had more power!
We fear all kinds of things that keep us from reaching out. We fear rejection of others. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear the circumstances of life, like disease, financial hardship and relational discord. When our fear incapacitates us we have begun to place our faith in the power of what we fear. We must fear Christ more!
If I am honest, one of the things I fear most is the spiritual failure of my sons. I know this world is a dangerous place and I know that Satan wants to defeat each one of them. I want them to know and love Jesus. And so, I’ve tried to teach them and tried to model a commitment to Christ (with many failures). If I live out of fear of the world for my boys, I will work hard to control them and their environment, and may even do more damage than good. If I fear the Christ who loves my sons, I will learn, slowly and painfully, to trust that His power in their life is greater than anything or anyone who wants to drag them away.
Fearing Jesus isn’t living in a quivering crouch because he might correct us with an unexpected backhand. Fearing him is living in an awareness that “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.”
What is your faith in? What, or who do you fear most?
Do you know some ways we can grow in our fear of Christ?