PASTOR'S PEN: Fear: Help or Hindrance? Part 2

Last week I was working late at the church and had my truck parked just outside the door. I finished my work and stepped outside to a familiar, yet unwanted odor – a skunk. I immediately looked around and slowly sidestepped my truck and went toward the road. I didn’t see the skunk and wasn’t sure if it was around the corne or perhaps, under my truck. From a safe distance, I used my remote to turn on the truck and scare away the intruder avoiding a rancid result.

The smell of a skunk elicits fear and causes one to be much more cautious in their steps. In our last article I mentioned how fear can be a hindrance to our faith causing us to avoid fully serving God. This week let’s look at the other side of fear, how it can actually help our faith.

The Bible has much to say about fear. Psalm 111:10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.” I like that verse. It reminds me of my father’s instructions as a child. He would tell me what I should do and, honestly, I didn’t always want to do it. But much of the time, whether with the right attitude or not, I would obey because I had a fear of the consequences my father could and would give me if I didn’t obey. He didn’t do this because he didn’t love me, but because he did. The Psalmist lets us know that if I fear God, recognizing that His instructions come out of a great love and compassion for me (read the rest of Psalm 111), then I will grow in wisdom and understanding.

The apostle Paul had fear as well. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Paul had a fear that he would wonder from the faith and not receive the prize offered to Him by Christ. Because he had that fear he made certain to discipline himself to obey God’s Word. Paul expands on this in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11,

“So we make it our goal to please Him…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things we have done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.”

Paul knew he would have to come before the throne of God and be judged by Christ. This put such a fear in him that he made certain he followed God. He didn’t only have this fear for himself, but for others as well. He knew everyone of us would appear before God and have to make an account of our actions. Paul not only made certain he kept the judgment in his own mind, but he made an effort to persuade others to follow Christ as well.

Like a skunk’s scent warns you to stay away because there is danger ahead. Paul made certain to avoid those things that would take him away from following God and warned others in this life that there was judgment to come in the next. Does your fear match that of Paul’s? Do you live in light of that warning and prompt others to do the same?