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We can all remember a time as children when we needed to do something in a dark room, but we were afraid to go in.  However, when the light was turned on, we discovered that there was really nothing in the room to fear at all.  Yet we had allowed our own irrational fear to stop us from doing what we knew that we needed to do.


Fear is a natural feeling, and we are all afraid of something.  However, too many people allow their fears to stop them from serving God appropriately.  Their fears of rejection by family or friends and embarrassment before other people prevent them from doing what God requires.  Some day, they will come to realize that what they had feared was really as insignificant as the darkness which the child fears.


Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."  Fears of the reactions of other people to our obedience to the gospel or our teaching of the gospel should never stop us from serving God.  He is the final judge of our lives, and no matter what other people say or do, we must please Him.  God will not accept the excuse of "I was afraid" when we are called to account for failing to obey the gospel.  Christ died for each of us, and no amount of fear should cause us to forfeit that sacrifice.  God will not accept "I was afraid" when we are judged for failing to teach others.  His anger will be well justified if one for whom Christ died is lost simply because we were afraid to speak to him about the Christ.  Would you want to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and plead "I was afraidô?


God's judgment of the fearful is pronounced in Revelation 21 :8: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."  Eternal punishment from God is something that we should truly fear, and that fear should motivate us to obey Him.


We must remember that we have a God who loves us and who will save us if we are faithful to Him.  It is not His will for us to perish, but rather that we repent (2 Pet. 3:9).  Therefore, we ought not to allow the fear of anything prevent us from fulfilling our responsibilities to God.  When we are afraid, we must have the faith in Christ and the courage to overcome our fears.  Courage is the quality of acting despite fear.  Therefore, we could say that no one is courageous until he is first afraid.


Stacey E. Durham



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