Fear – a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain,etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. (Dictionary.com)
Fear isn’t fun. It can serve a purpose, but it is not considered an admirable characteristic. Let me go ahead and make it clear that this post isn’t about defining appropriate fear. I am interested in sinful fear.
When I think of everything that could go wrong with our pregnancy I nearly break into a cold sweat. I am usually not one to worry, but for the past month the fear of losing Andrea and our son has bullied me around. I know I am not alone. It is a legitimate concern. Things can go wrong- Things have gone wrong. Recently a tragedy took a young mother’s life at a unit where my wife works. The news broke our hearts and it stirred a fear in us that I had been trying to suppress.
It is a reasonable concern. However, most people would agree that worrying does nothing to help solve a problem. Most Christians respond to fear with prayer. Obviously this isn’t a bad idea, but is it enough? There is problem I have found within myself regarding prayer. I have been using prayer as an excuse not to deal with my sin. Hear me out! Not for a second would I claim that I have the power to deal with my own sins. Only Christ has the power to overcome. What I am getting at is that when I pray, too often I am praying for God to simply remove the sin, or temptation. When I am done with my prayer I am content with taking my cares to God. I get warm fuzzies that last until my next course of fear. The problem is I am not doing my homework. I am not taking responsibility for my sin. There is no action on my part to grow and mature out of my sin.
At the heart of every sin beats a living idol.
What I fail to acknowledge when I pray, “Dear God, take this fear from me,” is that I have an idol. I am putting a concern over the power of God. Idols that reap fear come in many different forms. Some close friends of mine confronted me on the issue. By talking it out, and with a lot of prayer, we identified my idol as control. This came as a shocker to me because I have never considered myself as one who needs to feel in control. I know that the outcome of my wife’s delivery is completely out of my control, but the problem with this acknowledgement was that I am not at peace. I am not OK with not being in control of Andrea’s pregnancy. Just by coming to this realization I have been able to identify sin in my life and have been able to make adjustments. Here are two changes I have seen.
My prayers have been more specific. Rather than just praying, “God, take this fear from me.” I pray now that He continually reminds me of the truths of his power and omnipotence. By comparing my finite self to his infinite wisdom and power I now I have peace. I also rebuke my idol of control to God and proclaim that I yield to Him.
I read scripture that relates to my circumstances. This is mainly how God speaks to me and reminds me of his power. King David, Joseph, Daniel and Paul are my favorites when it comes to having faith in God’s power.
The peace I have now comes from me telling myself, I am much better off with God being in control. More importantly I have learned to ask myself with each sin I identify, What is my idol? This question is one I need to ask myself often. If not, I will miss not only the opportunities to overcome my sin, but I will also miss my chances to grow and learn. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?