Have you ever done a good thing for the Lord and were afraid to relate it to those who are of Him? Or, maybe you had a good thought in your heart for Him and did not share it with them, because you feared you might be wrong. Such fear is not all that uncommon when you are living for Christ. There are times you could have shared your beliefs or the things God has done for and through you, but did not; simply because, you felt you might end up having to think your faith is misplaced. As far as your heart is concerned, you know you are sincere toward the Lord. However, you continue to fear losing the state of your being caused by the Spirit’s guidance which gave you inward joy. Such fear makes you to presuppose that expressing yourselves to those who are indeed of faith as trivial. God wants you to be without that fear. You know He knows all things. He watches every thought that floats in your mind. And He desires you dispose those that cause you to fear opening up to the faithful.
Now, there are various fears; all of which are harmful, except one. It is the fear of God; it is a good one to have. In the current article we will discuss two fears we should avoid. The first is mentioned above. The second can very easily appear, if possible in all. It is the fear of admitting to have known the Lord. If we do not sustain them, we will increase the horizons of our freedom in the Lord. But first, a word about fear of God is fitting. It is showing reverence or utmost respect to Him. Coming to the first one, if we have it, we must find ways in the Lord to remove it. Or, show amiability that the Lord guide us to remove it. The best example for it is Paul. He showed amiability or was willing to accept the Lord’s way to open up to the faithful. He said, “It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain” (Gal. 2:2).
If Paul did not have a revelation to meet up with those in Jerusalem in order to relate his gospel to the gentiles, he would have never done it. For the fear he had in him would have bound him against it forever. But, God who knew the hearts of His servants and who knew their faith to be one made it possible that each become more acceptable in the eyes of the other. It is amazing that a man as Paul would have such fear in him. He was called by God, made an apostle, had the Spirit immeasurably, preached the gospel according to Christ while having greatly suffered for it, earlier spent time with Peter in Jerusalem for fifteen days and yet, developed a fear that would restrain him from sharing his work with the faithful. It was the weakness of his flesh that made him fear losing his joy. Yet, God knew that with him and with those like him there is no reason for such fear. He basically told him to go and speak with them. Still, Paul would only do so in private. We may be surprised by his behavior. But, when we have been exclusively called to be an apostle to the gentiles and have suffered for Christ as he, we too would be no different. And his fears were all not that unwanted. There were actually some there who demanded circumcision to the gentile Christians. At the same time, his meeting with the apostles and others in private gave him more courage to speak of his work and they quickly accepted all things he said.
When God revealed to him that he should go, He knew of the hurdles present. It seemed best to Him that Paul first meet up with the faithful in private. Paul too knew that God’s hand of freedom and protection was with him. In the end, everything worked well. So, having seen the wish of God and His mightiness toward it, do not seek to lay low, but rather be willing to seek Him or have the amiability for His desire and expand the horizons of your freedom in faith. He will never lead you to someone who will insult your faith or repudiate you. For He who is working in you is also working in them. It is to your advantage when you connect with the faithful. The principle of being in one body produces even more understanding of the Lord. The proof for it is the following. “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Pet. 1:2).
When all are believers according to everything said by the apostle, there exist no consequences as fear makes one to presuppose. Once fear is removed through God’s guidance, the weakness or the law of the flesh disappears giving way to courage and joy through the fellowship God wants. It is part of fulfilling His righteousness. Trusting in Christ to lead us and then obeying His guidance can never be detrimental to us. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). If we believe Christ to lead us to good, any law that causes weakness will end. Perfection is becoming.
Now, speaking of the second kind of fear, here is an example for a vivid understanding of it. “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ‘You are not also one of His disciples, are you?’ He denied it, and said, ‘I am not’” (John 18:25). It is difficult to see how Peter denied Jesus. We read it in the Word and so, plainly accept it. Nevertheless, it is the circumstances and fear for self that played a pivotal role in denying the Lord. Any of us would perhaps have acted like him. If we are trapped before people like him and if Satan is bent on sifting us like wheat and if the time of the day is as horrid as it was then, perhaps we would be no different. John was there, but inside the court of the high priest. Yet, he did not face the temptation to deny Jesus. The Lord forgave Peter even before he denied Him, for He knew Satan chose Peter. So, the point is we should be ready to resist the fear of admitting to know the Lord and increase the horizons of our freedom in Him. We never know what may befall on us! The way to be ready is to plead Him for strength; plead Him to protect us from Satan’s wishes; plead Him to strengthen us to be faithful to Him. The greater point we learn from Peter’s situation is that anyone can be vulnerable to deny the Lord with dire circumstances. So, let us see what the Lord seeks from us. He wants us
- To always be mindful of His coming. “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark 13:33). Then,
- To expect Him to do great things in our life. “Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the LORD has done great things” (Joel 2:21). And,
- To know that He will bring us out of every situation we are stuck in. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Ps. 42:11).