I have a friend who has always said this one simple line that stuck with me.
“Fear is a cruel taskmaster.”
Indeed.Fear is a cruel taskmaster. #Nofear Click To Tweet
I suppose you start to notice patterns more after you’ve been around for a few decades. I’m nearing birthday number 47, so I’ve seen the reality of this truth.
The Manipulation of Fear
Fear manipulates people to action. If you create fear and panic with some conjured up worst-case scenario, you can make people do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Many people manipulate others using fear in this way.Fear makes it easy to manipulate others into doing what they wouldn't normally do. Click To Tweet
The person or group peddling in fear uses it as a whip to get people to stay on the course laid out.
Fear, that cruel taskmaster, pushes on you to make foolish decisions. Fear silences the Holy Spirit within you and your own conscience. Fear tricks you into jumping through hoops you’d not likely choose on your own. All for the self-serving purposes of the one peddling fear.Fear pushes on you to make foolish decisions, afraid of some impending doom Click To Tweet
Resisting the Urge to Act in Fear
I experienced a season of acting on fear alone. I felt I should stop and turn around, but I couldn’t seem to. The real issue for me was that I was ignoring for too long the voice of God in my spirit telling me to stop. Fear was a huge motivator in pressing onward with a course of action I knew I shouldn’t continue on.
This course of action was not something “wrong” in general. The path wasn’t God’s best for me at that time. Fear kept me on it.
Perhaps this is why in Proverbs 3 God urges us to not to lean on our own understanding, but to let Him direct our paths. My own understanding (and that of others) said I was on the right path. God was saying, “No, stop, turn around. I have something else in mind.”
It took me a while to let go of the fear of turning around.
Fear and Christlikeness
Fear makes us reason against the plain teachings of Jesus Christ.
We are afraid of what may result if we trust God by obeying in hard things. Fear pushes us all explain away those hard parts that contradict our societal norms. We reason against God’s best for us. Many of God’s principles appear foolish or dangerous in our time and culture. You and I find it easier to look for excuses to not obey.
When I walk in fear my attitudes + actions become less Christlike Click To Tweet
I’ve noticed fear’s work in my life, as Christ convicts me and teaches me about this issue in my own life. In short, the more I walk in fear, the less Christlike my attitudes and actions will be.
I react in fear instead of acting according to the principles Christ taught.
This is because fear doesn’t lend itself to living like Christ.
Fear lends itself to trusting in our own human understanding.
Fear pushes us to protect ourselves from any perceived dangers.
Driven by fear, we do this even if it means living contrary to the nature of Christ in us.
The Keys to Defeating Fear
So how do you defeat fear in your own life?
The Apostle John wrote,
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
When you study the gospels, God’s will becomes clearer. If you focus your life on Christ and Christlikeness everything else falls into place.
What is perfect love? Perfect love is Christ Himself.Perfect love is Christ Himself. Click To Tweet
We are to fear God but we can have an unhealthy fear of Him. If you do good works to appease your idea of an angry, temperamental God, you are living in fear.
When you experience the love of Christ, you will do the right thing. You will please Him. You will have pure motives. Paul wrote that the love of Christ controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14)
If you focus on bad things that may happen, you’ll let yourself become paralyzed with fear. This applies to every area of life. We can have fear about money. We can fear childrearing decisions. We can be afraid of possibilities in our marriages.
In contrast, when we walk with Christ and in His love, we have peace with these things.
Making decisions while fear is cracking a whip behind us leads to bad choices. Letting fear push us down its path leads us away from Christ and His will.Making decisions based on Christ's example & love for us and others is a game changer Click To Tweet
But, making decisions based on Christ’s example, and His love for us and others is a game changer. When I am focused on what pleases Christ and how Christ responded to others in the Gospels, I want to please Him. I find it easier to make decisions I don’t later regret. I make decisions that focus on others. I live out principles in my actions and attitudes that show an honest picture of Christ to a lost world. I feel peaceful in leaving the results up to God.
Which Mirror Do You Look Into?
What we look at and focus on matters.
In the epistle of James, he compares the Bible to a mirror. As we look into it, this mirror leads to us changing to conform to the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul teaches us that as we focus on the glory of the Lord, we will change. The Lord will change us more and more into His image.As we focus on the glory of the Lord, we will change more into His image Click To Tweet
What feeds our hearts and minds will make us like it. If you feed your heart and mind with media that incites unhealthy fear and anxiety has a similar effect. We become more and more like those we behold.
Would you like some examples that come to mind?
Watching sarcastic and snarky news stories doesn’t make you more Christlike. When you consume media about how bad the world has gotten, you become more negative. Reading political propaganda from either side will incite fear in your heart. If you consume media designed to manipulate you into a course of action via fear, it will affect you. You will feel trapped and with no other options but to do something that goes against your values.
What we read and watch has a huge affect on us. If you’re feeling fearful, maybe it’s time to tune out.
Fear, after all, is a cruel taskmaster.