All of us have certain things that scare us. They may be things that "go bump in the night"—the vague, unknown and mysterious. Think of the continuing flow of alien and vampire stories in books, movies and TV series. Nowadays there are vampire romances! Think about it, would you want your daughter dating a vampire?! I don't think so.
Perhaps something specific scares you like spiders or a fear of heights. My wife was bitten by a dog when she was young, so she has a fear of dogs. Many people are afraid of the dark. And I have a fear of heights, even though I painted houses for a living, and used scaffolding and hung over the roof to paint the eaves on a 3-story building. Conspiracy theories and a fear of the government might also be justifiable.
Some fears are so irrational and indefinable they paralyze people emotionally, and sometimes leave them physically paralyzed or impaired. Some fears make sense and some seem unwarranted. But whatever they may seem to others, they're real to the people who have them.
I venture that most of us have some fears attached to relationships—a fear of rejection or non-acceptance, or of being let down or left hanging. Many times relationship fears are tied to life experiences. When it's a fear related to people it naturally affects and impairs our relationships with everyone. Relationships can be risky and messy. Actually, they are often just that.
So, what got me thinking about all this? The lack of a fear—one all people need to have.
I'm currently reading through a book we're discussing in our men's study (http://tw.gs/VyU6Z) on Thursday nights. The book is "The Explicit Gospel" by Matt Chandler. It's a straight forward theological view of the gospel as it's presented in many American churches. When I say straightforward, think confrontational. It's not an academic treatise, nor a Sunday School version of the gospel.
Last week we discussed the topic of "man" (humanity). A good portion of our dialog focused on the fear of God, which is not a common topic taught in most churches today. It ought to be, but isn't. Here's some of Jesus' thoughts on the subject—
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28, also in Luke 12:4-5)
The fear that's lacking for many of us is a healthy fear of God. I've heard people minimize and reduce it to respect and awe. It is that, but more. Our sense of God ought to be He's so powerful and mighty that He scares us. But isn't He's a loving and merciful God? Yes He is. But He's also the only One who can create and destroy a soul. If He isn't that powerful, He isn't God.
Our relationships with others can impair our relationship with God. Many people who have had poor, even abusive relationships with earthly fathers have difficulty relating to God as Father. Countless relationships that involve infidelity or some other violation of trust make it hard to trust anyone again.
I say, let your fear work for you. What I mean is, instead of letting your fears cower you into a corner, let them move you to surrender and worship God. He is the only One who is absolutely trustworthy and faithful. Everyone else, including you and me, will let others down at some point.
What are you afraid of? Who do you fear? I hope none of those fears exceed your fear of God. That's what I'm shooting for in my life.
“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11 (NIV84)
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings? Psalm 89:6-8 (NIV84)
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Psalm 113:4-6 (NIV84)
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. Isaiah 40:22 (NIV84)