In preparation for a message on Psalm 27, I began reading Ed Welch‘s book, Running Scared. Penetrating. Convicting. Comforting. All of those words are appropriate, at least for me. For as I have aged I have come to see how fear, often very subtle, effects my thought, actions, and reactions. My fears may not show, but they are very present. I have to regularly identify them and subject them to the Gospel.
Perhaps this does not seem to be a topic for you. You may feel you have no fears. For a long time I would have said similarly of myself – not that I had no fear, but few fears. But I learned differently about myself.
Interestingly, not long ago I was watching a rerun of the film First Knight, with Sean Connery & Richard Gere, set in King Arthur’s Camelot. In one scene I overheard an interesting conversation between Connery’s Arthur and Gere’s Lancelot. Arthur mused:
“A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing; and if you love nothing, what joy is there in your life?”
This was not the turning point in my thinking. But I did find it an interesting illustration of what I had learned. And while I do not think that it is necessarily a universally true, I do think it is a question worth pondering.
It may not be universally true because one who loves God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, loves what is good and yet should fear little. After all, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4.18) But then, which of us loves perfectly?
But I do think, in a sense, Arthur’s statement is widely, if not universally, true. There are many who mistake apathy for peace. It may be that some do not fear because they do not love; And they do not love because they fear fear. I know that is a dizzying statement. But think of it as the opposite of Franklin Roosevelt’s famous words: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” What if people do fear fear? If one knows that love is often risky, and fears fear enough, could that person not repress love because of fear?
OK. Enough philosophizing… In short, I suspect there must be a reason God says 300+ times in the Scripture: “Do not fear.” There must be a reason that this is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible. My suspicion is it is because fear is a near universal component of our personalities in this fallen world. And we would be wise to recognize both our fears and their effects on our hearts and lives.
Above is a video preview of Running Scared, featuring the author, Ed Welch. His insights and application of God’s Word to our plight are freeing.