Wednesday, March 18, 2009


How much of my sinful behaviour is motivated primarily by fear?

I fear for my financial future - will I have enough? Consequently, I act in a stingy or dishonest fashion in the present, or perhaps I just live in a way that is sinfully conservative, venturing and risking nothing financially in order to secure my future. Fear leads to sin.

I fear for my acceptance with God - am I good enough? Consequently, I seek to build my own righteousness, work hard at being the best I can be, or perhaps I just steer clear of any contact with the world that might dirty me, and in so doing pass up the opportunity to be a witness. Fear leads to sin.

I fear for my relational abilities - can I really sustain a marriage? Consequently, I am tempted to retreat into fantasy and avoid reality, or perhaps I just fail to open up as much as I should. Fear leads to sin.

The most absurd fear I am aware of in myself (the foregoing are not necessarily autobiographical, but this is): I fear that the gospel doesn't have the power to stop me sinning, so I decline to deploy it when I am tempted, just in case I see it fail. Fear prevents me from fighting sin!

No wonder one recurrent message of Scripture is: Do not fear!


  1. Thanks Dan, really helpful. Thus the big theme (in Mark - I don't know otherwise) of fear contrasted with faith in God in Christ? E.g. All of Mark 5: "Don't fear, only believe" [implication - in Christ, who has God's will and power to raise the dead]. Contrast necessary because fear of other stuff chokes trust in God. "Can't quite trust God for this" = "Just that bit afraid that he doesn't know and do good / can't pull off his plans..." Hmm.

  2. Yes, fear vs. faith seems to be a major theme - which isn't so surprising, because fear is a symptom of unbelief (along with pretty much all the other wrong attitudes described in Scripture!)

    One interesting thing is that sometimes fear is driven out by fear - e.g. fearing the one who can destroy body and soul rather than the one who can just kill the body. Fear him ye saints and you will then have nothing else to fear?