Fear… Sin or just mere Weakness

Posted: 01/14/2009 in Articles

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:”Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephania 3:15-17

A few days ago I received a question on our Romanian blog and so I decided to answer it by way of post. The question was as follows:

“Are things like fear, deterrence, or shyness sins? Let me tell you what I think. I think they are more like weakness or problems with ones character. If I am wrong please tell me, it won’t bother me. I await your answer.”

Well, here are a few of my thoughts concerning this question:

First of I think it’s safe to say that every human being fights with these things to a certain extent. It doesn’t matter if you are  the Apostle Paul, the President of America, or just a simple little child. We are all born in sin, and thus our nature, our character is stained by these “weaknesses”.

I don’t think it’s necessarily sinful to be shy, however because of our shyness, we can be overcome with fear, and when overcome with fear we will be inhibited to do that which is good. Fear is sin because it keeps us from serving God, and loving one another. Fearful people seem to concentrate on their own needs, or on the things that they might lose. In situations where one fears something or someone, he will be looking only to his own interests, and this we know is the opposite of love. ” Love seeks not it’s own.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 Yes, fearful people are very selfish and sinful.

We all have this weakness that causes us to sin, but how do we overcome this sin with which we fight? My answer is to take the promises of God and hide them deep in our hearts and minds.

For example, when we are afraid of something, we take a promise like Romans 8:31 which says “If God is for us who can be against us?” or Romans 8:37-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And so reminding ourselves of these Gospel promises we receive grace and courage to do that which God is calling us to do.

I like the example of Moses given to us in Hebrews 11. Moses conquers fear by faith in the promised reward.

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,  esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”

May God strengthen our faith so that we can conquer the sin of fear that wars against us.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

If anyone else has some other opinions I’d love to hear them.

J. C. Hahne

  1. Krista says:

    I liked your post, Joey. I would just change the sentence, “Fear is sin because…” to “Fear is sin when…” because not all fear is sinful. Some fear is wisdom (fearing God, for example, fearing sin, fearing to touch a hot stove). And some fear is a bodily response to a perceived threat or danger. The question is what you do with it. If my knees start to knock, my hands turn to ice and my throat dries up when I get up to talk in front of 300 ladies, that is not sin. But if I use that unpleasant sensation as an excuse to run away from lGod’s call to love those ladies, then it becomes sin.
    But you make a lot of good points about how we can and too often do respond sinfully to feelings of fear. And I liked the promises you shared.
    As one who knows the battle against fear, and struggled to overcome it all my life, I agree that to let it control me is sin, selfishness and failure to trust and be satisfied in my great God. To let it rule me is to be paralyzed and remain a spiritual infant…or worse. I think it is significant that in Revelation 21:8, the cowardly are cast into the lake of fire along with murderers, the immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, etc.
    But one of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” There may be times I cave in to fear. I should repent when I do. But I don’t have to keep on living that way. And by His grace, more and more like Moses, it will be faith, not fear that will characterize my life.

  2. J. C. Hahne says:

    Yes Mother… I figured that someone would comment on “the fear of the Lord” type fear… Of course that is good. Obviously I don’t need to explain that…

    I also think there is a difference between the temptation to fear (as we are all somewhat fearful to a certain extent. Even the great apostle Paul ask for prayer because of fearful thoughts.) and actually not doing what is good because of the fear that has conquered us…. Probably similar to being tempted to lust, gossip, lie etc. and resisting…

    Thanks for commenting… Good to know someone is actually reading this… 😉

  3. criscocorner says:

    Joey, I read your stuff and I being very blessed by your writings. Your writing is better than my pinko political blogs because it inspires people instead of tear people apart like politics does. Politics divides. Inspiration unites.

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