Category Archives: Fear

Worst. Job. Ever.

You seriously could not pay me enough to do this job. There is no amount of money, fame, fortune, etc… It freaks me out just watching this guy.

This guy handles king cobra snakes like I handle my laundry. This is insane. He isn’t even wearing close toed shoes! I can’t get over this. Of course I am like Indiana Jones—I turn into a WKBW (wimpy kiddy baby whiner) when harmless snakes are around. Disgusting creatures. I believe when Christ renews creation He will destroy all snakes. Don’t judge me—it brings me comfort.

Advertisements

A Delightfully Frightening Warning

The Mortification of Sin has become one of my favorite works. It has greatly encouraged me in my fight against sin and has continually pointed me to our great Triune God. The primary thesis of the book is that it is the Christian’s daily responsibility to put off the works of the flesh and put on the works of the spirit by the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit. Owen gives many warnings to Christians if they neglect this work. The following quote drove me to my knees and I begged for mercy. I hope that you find it frightening and edifying.

If ever then, thou hast enjoyed peace with God; if ever his terrors have made thee afraid; if ever thou hast had strength to walk with him, or ever hast mourned in thy prayer, and been troubled because of thy weakness; think of this danger that hangs over thy head.

It is perhaps but a little while, and thou shalt see the face of God in peace no more: perhaps by tomorrow thou shalt not be able to pray, read, hear or perform any duties with the least cheerfulness, life or vigour: and possibly thou mayest never see a quiet hour whilst thou livest; thou mayest carry about thee broken bones full of pain and terror all the days of thy life. Yea, perhaps God will shoot his arrows at thee, and fill thee with anguish and disquietness, with fears and perplexities; make thee a terror and an astonishment to thyself and others; show thee hell and wrath every moment; frighten and scare thee with sad apprehensions of his hatred; so that thy sore shall run in the night season, and thy soul shall refuse comfort; so that thou shalt wish death rather than life, yea, thy soul may choose strangling. Consider this a little, that though God should not utterly destroy thee, yet he might cast thee into this condition, wherein thou shalt have quick and living apprehensions of thy destruction. Accustom thy heart to thoughts hereof; let it be known what it is like to be the issue of its state; leave not this consideration until thou hast made thy soul to tremble within thee.

Confession

Over the course of the summer the subject of confession has come up often. I have some buddies that I meet with and we know when we come together that we are going to ask each other tough questions so we can grow in godliness together.

I was at middle school camp a couple of weeks ago with three other adults and forty-one middle schoolers. Yes, a forty-one to four ratio is not favorable for the adults and needless to say, at the end of the week I had to confess… a lot.

The speaker at camp hit on the subject of confession hard one particular night and it really sunk in with many of our students and in our church group time, they starting confessing sin left and right. I shouldn’t have been surprised at what I heard. My belief in Total Depravity should have prepared me for anything, but it didn’t. The confessions ranged from hypocrisy and disobedience to parents, to self-loathing and cutting. All in all, it was a good time as a group. We were able to pray and encourage one another and I think the beginning of some real healing took place.

One particular thing the camp speaker said that really bothered me was he was stating how vertical confession (between us and God) is easy and involves no accountability. He stated that horizontal confession (between one another) is the difficult part because we are afraid for people to see us as we truly are, broken. I get what he was saying about vertical confession being easy because we have so privatized our faith that we can struggle with dark sin for years and no one will know because each time we say, “Sorry God, I’ll try harder next time.”

Again, what he said really bothered me, not because I thought he was wrong, but because I agreed with him completely.  So here is my question: Why is it so easy for us to confess our sin to God? Is it because we know He already knows? Is it because we take His grace and make it cheap? Do we take 1 John 1:9 (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) as a license to sin?

Ultimately, this is where I land. If this is our attitude in our confession of sin to God, then we have revealed that we have NO fear of the Lord in our lives. I would also submit that it is impossible to put off sin without a hatred for it and we cannot truly hate it unless we have a genuine fear of the Lord. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Solomon’s last written words as an old man who tested everything under the sun and found no pleasure in them were, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether god or evil.”

So fear the Lord. Guard your steps. Jonathan Edwards once described God as an archer whose bow and arrow is pointed steadily at your heart and the only thing that keeps him from releasing that arrow is His love and mercy. We are often so arrogantly certain that God will forgive us, and He will. However, keep this in mind, he has killed some of His people for a lot less. Just ask Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).

Disclaimer: In defense of Jeff Mangum (the camp speaker), his focus that night was not on fearing God, but on confessing sin to one another so that genuine community and healing would take place. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jeff a little over the course of the summer and I do not think he would disagree with me on the issue of fear.