Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours. (Matthew 25:24-25)
Fear is a paralyzing thing. It makes of us faithless and lazy servants. The man in the above verses was given a great gift, gold worth more than a million dollars today. He, instead of using this gift, hid it away. His fear kept him back from obeying his master.
Last year I went to a young adults group in Sarasota, FL called the Summit. A friend of mine named Levi was preaching that night. He spoke about not letting distractions keep us from doing what God has called us to, that we must guard our first love and make sure it does not grow cold. As I listened I felt that he was speaking straight to me. I got down on my knees and began asking the Lord about different things in my life. He then gave me a revelation, something that I believe truly is from His Spirit (and found in His Word).
I’ve always considered fear to be an emotion. A bad thing, to be sure, but only something that we must push through. But the Lord showed me that fear is not just an emotion, fear is a sin. A sin that must be repented of. It is not something to be tolerated, it is not an acceptable excuse, it is the very thing that may damn us in the end. As Revelation 21:8 says,
The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
The first group of people thrown into the lake of fire (the place of eternal punishment) is the cowardly. Those who are driven and hindered by fear. Those who let fear paralyze them and keep them from doing the will of God.
Repentance means that we change our mind. We purpose in our hearts to do the opposite of what we previously did. To repent of fear is to change our very thinking about it. To realize that it is not an acceptable emotion. It is evil. Because fear stems from two things. First, it is come from unbelief. Unbelief in the goodness and character of God. When we fail to recognize the goodness and power of Christ, that He is no hard task-master, but is instead a loving Friend; that He is a King who offers us a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light; a Savior who promises that in Him we will find rest for our souls, when we fail to see that, we become blasphemers and worship a god made in our own image. Everything is about Him, and in Him we find all that we need and everything we are meant to become. That is the Lord and God we serve.
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Not only must we believe that God exists, but that He is good, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Those who do not let the storms of this life color their view of Him, or dampen their love, but who keep an enduring zeal, who press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Those who know and trust in such a God will overcome their fear.
But the second source of fear is this: self. Self-love, self-pity, self-conscienceness, self-esteem, self-confidence. When we love ourselves, we will not be willing to die. Anything that begins to touch our comfort and pleasure immediately causes fear. We fear losing our lives, and so we cling to them. But Christ said this,
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)
If you wish to hold onto your comfort and your pleasure, then in the end you will suffer an even greater loss, you will lose your own soul. But if you will let go of self-pity, if you will stop worrying about your life, and the possessions it consists of, then you will find true peace in Christ. Christ alone will be your rock, the everlasting possession which none can steal.
How do we rely on Christ alone? By repenting daily of our fears. Repenting of not believing God’s Word. Repenting of pride and self-love. I would say that the simplest way to follow Christ is to repent in every way. What holds you back from following Him with everything you are? I believe most would say it is fear.
Fear will damn the soul. We live in a day where the so-called church is pandering to the society and culture around it. Out of cowardice and unbelief (because the two are connected) they have compromised God’s truth. Now homosexuality is called good, and the divorce rate among Christians is through the roof. Premarital sex is rarely confronted. Idolatry is a foreign word to our churches and their great swelling congregations. The idols of health and wealth go unchallenged.
My friends, let’s be done with fear. I am not saying that we should forget love and gentleness (because everything must be done in love), however let’s not clothe our fear in the name of love, compassion, and mercy. Let’s not hide our cowardice behind the excuse of wanting to draw people to Christ and not offend. Remember what Jesus Himself said,
Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. (Matthew 11:6)
We do not try to be offensive my brothers and sisters. I am not saying that at all. But the Word of God is offensive to a culture that has refused His voice, that denies His truth. But what is a King without His law? What is a Prince without loyal subjects? We are citizens of another kingdom, subjects of another Lord. And this Lord demands complete and total allegiance. He has given to us all that we need for life and godliness!
Oh, let’s not put our treasure in the ground. Let us not hide our light under a basket. Let’s repent of our fears and be willing to lose everything!