I’ve seen it–up close. I’ve seen fear in people and what it caused them to do. It can cause a person to behave irrationally. More important–it can cause a person to behave ungodly. I’ve seen it in me–though I generally prefer that it be be covered up before I go outside. Sometimes I am aware of it and sometimes not.
Fear can destroy. It can destroy relationships. Fear can cause you to get so wrapped up in your insecurities that you manipulate people in order to protect yourself. I’ve seen this first hand. Have you? Fear can cause a person to smother another. Like the person who feels threatened as she sees her friend becoming friends with another person. In her insecurity, she sees this as a threat.
Fear can be paralyzing. Fear has a way of paralyzing you so that you do not take risks. You rarely take initiative. You disdain doing anything that youâ€™ve not done before.
Fear can cause you to have a very low tolerance for pain (terminology I first heard from my friend Jon Mullican). Consequentliy, as a mom or dad, you can’t stand it when your kids are unhappy. They beg. They plead. They throw tantrums. Finally, you give in. Contrast this with a parent who has a high tolerence for pain and chooses a course of action and sticks to it becuase he/she believe that is best for the child. Parents who can not handle their children being disatisfied will respond out of their fear not their courage.
Fear can kill the ministry of a church. It is easy to get among believers and
spread fear instead of confidence in the Lord. Satan uses bad news spread by joy robbers to defeat people — to spread our anxiety instead of our God-given courage. We can leave one another even more anxious than before we came together.
How sad when fear begins to rule among Godâ€™s people:
â€¢ Fearful of what people might say about me or to me.
â€¢ Fearful of othersâ€™ disapproval.
â€¢ Fearful of conflict.
â€¢ Fearful of preaching what is true.
â€¢ Fearful of trying something new.
â€¢ Fearful of being different.
â€¢ Fearful of failure.
â€¢ Fearful of success. (Then I could no longer make excuses and blame others.)
Do you know what fear can do to a Christian (and a Christian leader in particular)? Sometimes it will create a spirit of hesitation. I have experienced this one first hand. This happened about 15 years ago. I was living in another place, working with another church. The ministry situation was tough. A friend, from another state, was listening to tapes of sermon messages that he had ordered. He called me one day and asked, "What is wrong with you? You don’t sound the same. You seem to be so hesitant." I couldn’t argue. He had made me aware, however, of what was taking place in life at that moment.
Fear can destroy passion. When passion is destroyed, then you don’t have much left. Just a human being who is on auto-pilot. It doesn’t have to be this way.