Like money and our bodies, fear is a great servant but a brutal master. When money rules, acquiring it or holding on to it become the prime directive of life. When bodies rule, satisfying its cravings and meeting its pleasures become the morning drive and the evening fix. Fear is like this.
When fear is the master, fear stops you from doing what you should do or could do and goads you into doing what you shouldn’t do.
When fear is the servant, fear prompts you to do what you otherwise would not do and prevents you from doing what you shouldn't do.
Think in simple terms. Fear is a heartless master when it stymies a guy from asking out a godly and beautiful Christian girl. On the other hand, fear is a great servant when it prevents a married Christian man from flirting with the attractive woman at work or behind the counter at Starbucks. I could spend the rest of the day providing examples from work, school, athletics, marriage, friendships, swimming, horseback riding, sports car driving, and so much more. You don’t have time for that, and this is a musing not a paperback. But be certain, from the time you read this Musing until you go to bed tonight, you will encounter a circumstance where you will choose if fear is your master or your servant.
In the Garden of Eden and before the fall, fear was unknown to the human condition. The Bible tells us so when we read, “Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame (Genesis 2:25).” No body shaming meant no reason for fear. No sin anywhere meant no threats to the first humans. Fear was unknown because sin was unknown. But when sin entered, fear came with it as a source to combat sin and as an impetus to sin. Fear is a great servant but a merciless master.
Think what God says. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27). If terror of God’s response turns you away from a trap that brings spiritual or physical death, fear served you well.
On the other hand, Proverbs says, The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected (29:25). Fear betrays you when it lays the trap of “What will she think?” or “You can’t risk this relationship” or “Your job is on the line.”
The challenge for us is to identify where and when fear is a master and remove him from the throne. Then, welcome the efforts of the helpful servant named “Fear” who can deliver to us a protected life.
May God help us all to know the difference.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.