There are some things in life that seem predisposed to happen. Certain things are almost guaranteed to happen as we go through this craziness called life. For example, we are likely to overbook our schedule. We are likely to at some point wake up in the morning regretting how late we stayed up the night before. We will, at some point, lose track of how many pounds we have put on since starting college, or getting married, or having a baby. We probably will at some point start budgeting what we spend our money on (hopefully not too late!). We will most likely settle into a career, that hopefully we enjoy. Many will get married, buy a dog, start a family. Many will develop a habit of going to church on Sunday mornings. It’s likely that we will develop a group of good friends in the same life stage as us and will spend a good amount of time with them.
All of these things are fairly common human experiences. There are not many surprises there.
The Old Testament book of Judges reveals something that, by the end of the book, seems predisposed to happen. There was a certain thing that was almost guaranteed to happen as the Israelites, the chosen people of God, went through this craziness called life. Sadly, this pattern was a very negative thing. You see, the Israelites seemed naturally predisposed to walk away from God. God had chosen them, rescued them from slavery, saved their lives, and given them victory to conquer the Promised Land. Things were good. Things were great. Life was awesome. They had everything God had ever promised. They were happy and safe and strong. But they walked away from the Lord.
The Israelites walked away from the Lord because they lost their way. They began to fear other things rather than fearing, i.e. respecting and being in awe of, God.
“And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.” Judges 6:10
As we go through life and experience the trials and temptations and ups and downs of every day living, we can get into this same habit. We can get into the habit of getting distracted from the main thing (i.e. God) and we start fearing what our friends think, what our parents expect, what we want, what the world says we should do.
There are many reasons this distraction comes and many different things that we can fear. I wanted to keep this short and just go with three different reasons I think we start to fear the wrong thing:
- We start to fear the wrong thing because we don’t understand what we should fear and why.
- Fear isn’t bad…but misplaced fear is. Fearing God is a good thing. We develop a healthy respect and awe of who God is and we follow Him because He is worthy to be followed. He is our Savior, Redeemer, Heavenly Father, and Helper.
- We start to fear the wrong thing because our vision is narrow.
- Fear can be overwhelming and come up like a tunnel around our vision so all we can see is what we are wrongly afraid of. We need to zoom out and see the big picture. In reality, that big lion of a fear turned out to be a harmless little kitten (who has already been declawed!).
- We start to fear the wrong thing because our focus is on ourselves.
- We can be afraid because of what someone might think or what they might say about what we do or do not do, so our fear is born out of a selfish comparison or desire to be something that others will accept instead of being the real person that we were created to be.
- A powerful thing we can do is to focus on others. It is a healing and fulfilling experience to focus on others needs before our own wants. Try it out and see what happens.
Fear none but the One. Fear God because this is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). When we fear God, we will change the world by His power and for His glory.