Day 164 – Good Fear, Bad Fear
On: April 13, 2015 | By: admin
| Under: Blog
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“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:4-7
The words “fear” and “afraid” appear 540 times in my iPad app version of the NIV Bible. Fear is a big issue, and we will be looking at its various guises over the next few days. Here, Jesus tells us that there is good fear and bad fear. He warns us against fear that is limited to the life we live on Earth. Instead, we are urged to channel our fearfulness to the life beyond – eternity. In particular, Jesus tells us who to fear and who not to fear. And this is key, as it will determine our actions. If we fear people who can inflict nasty things on us, from oppression, mockery and insult to taking our lives, it will leave us under their control. But allowing this, and this is pretty tough, is a form of idolatry, as it will draw us away from trusting Him who holds our eternal destiny in His hands.
Is it better to fear the dentist’s chair, or rotten teeth that will fall out? A somewhat trite example, maybe, but is it not best to brace ourselves for short term discomfort to avert long term crisis?
Jesus urges us to consider the bigger picture and opt to take the path, however tricky it may be, that leads to eternal life. If we consider this to be too big a risk – is God to be trusted? – Jesus points to the world of nature we can see around us and how He has put in place a support system for all He has made. Sparrows have no choice but to trust their Maker and Provider. Being made in His image, we do have a choice – free will. We must decide the path we will follow – and, consequently, who we will fear.
Father God, please forgive me where I allow fear of Man to govern my actions and shrink my faith. Grant me boldness to live a life consistent with the confidence that You hold the keys to eternal life. Amen