John 12:42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; (43) for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Remember those old tee shirts in the ‘90s that proclaimed “NO FEAR”? I always found that an odd thing to have to announce to the world. If no one surmised a person was afraid, why the need for that person to announce that they weren’t? It’s like telling someone you’re cool. If you have to tell people, odds are you aren’t.
Since the clothing line was so widely embraced here in the United States, it’s a plausible assumption that fear grips the hearts of everyone who endorsed the product.
Actually, it’s a fact that fear exists in all of us to varying degrees and those shirts were merely symptomatic of that fear.
I often act out of emotion.
Love for my wife and child keeps me working when I’d rather not.
Love of God gets me to Church on days I’d rather stay home.
Love of friends motivates me to keep in contact, even when thousands of miles separate us.
Love of many keeps me praying for others.
But what about fear?
I contemplate my actions and how they will affect my future, for fear of bringing harm to my wife, spiritually, emotionally or financially.
I’ve tried to take better care of myself since my son was born out of a fear that he might have to grow up without an earthly father, as I did.
Worst of all, I often fear sharing the gospel.
What if people ridicule me?
What it I’m labeled a “bible thumping nut job”?
What if I’m lumped in with the Catholic priests who molest children? Or the zealots like Joseph Kony who pervert the word to give themselves power over other humans?
While those are real thoughts, the one that hamstrings my efforts the most is the fear that people will simply stop listening. How can I communicate God’s love if the person on the other end won’t answer the phone? It’s a question I’ve wrestled with for years now. Unfortunately, it’s a wrestling match I’m having with the evil one and so far, he’s winning.
My fear has turned to inaction.
One of my favorite new quotes is from Max Lucado’s book, Fearless:
"The worship of safety emasculates greatness"
It’s almost as if the safety I’m worshipping is the ability to keep the ear of people I touch in my everyday life. But, by holding on to that, I’ve fallen into inaction. And, don’t believe otherwise, inaction is in and of itself, action… in my case, one motivated by fear.
So, I’m turning over a new leaf.
Another quote I’ve always loved goes like this “If you never try, you’ve already failed.”
Better to try and not succeed, than to sit on the sidelines, pretending I can get in the game tomorrow or the next day. Especially when there will come a day that has no tomorrow and if that day is today, what will I tell God when he asks me why I lived in fear?