Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Preaching and Teaching With Fear and Trembling

I believe that one of the most underrated emotions is fear. For some reason, we have equated being afraid with cowardice and wimpiness. This is simply not the case, at least I certainly hope not. As I look over my ministry and my Christian walk, one of the primary motivators in my life is fear.

I confess to you that I preach and teach because I am afraid. I study my Bible because I am afraid. I pray because I am afraid. I often feel guilty that I haven't studied because I am afraid. What, you may ask, am I afraid of? I'm glad you were thinking that.

Imagine, if you will, a soldier standing on the rampart of a castle. His charge is to defend the keep, to the death if necessary. The armies of the enemy have surrounded his home and castle. They are a ruthless enemy who offers no quarter to survivors. Their one intention is to destroy, ruin, and obliterate the castle, the soldier, his family, and his way of life. The soldier knows this, as well as every woman and child who is huddled in the castle for protection.

Suddenly, the soldier sees a breech in the gate, and the enemy threatens to overwhelm the castle. How do you suppose that he feels? How would you feel?

If he charges headlong into the battle and fights valiantly to drive off the enemy, many may name him "Fearless". I think not. I believe that it is fear that drives him into the breech. Yes, he may fear losing his life, but if that causes him not to act then he is indeed a coward. But I believe the fear that drives men to such deeds is the fear of what will happen if they don't act. It is the fear of what will happen to the women and children if the enemy wins the field. It is the fear of what will happen to freedom and culture and home and all that they find good if they cower and do not act. How could they face the Lord of the Keep if they are found to be derelict in their duty?

This is why I preach and teach the way that I do. I do not wish to dissappoint the Lord of Heaven, and I fear for the souls of those who listen. This is why I cringe when TV Evangelists act absurdly. I do not cringe merely because I think they are idiots; I cringe because they are dangerous enemies who threaten to overwhelm the faith of many.

Of course, love drives me as well. It is what undergirds my fear. If I did not love the Lord or His people, I would not be afraid of shaming Him or seeing them harmed. This, I believe, is the difference between a servile, slavish fear and the fear that Scripture encourages. It is a fear born of love and awe, not of contempt and terror.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

'Love "constrains" you' you might say?


Also, you have to change the "award title" in the wooden nickel code snippet, or it will just say "award title"