Fear is a Cruel Taskmaster

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

The easiest way to get people to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do is to make them afraid of some conjured up worst-case scenario.

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 is just one more way to manipulate us into doing what someone wants us to do, for whatever reason.

Fear, that cruel taskmaster, pushes on you to make foolish decisions, silence the Holy Spirit within you (and your own conscience), and jump 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

A few days ago, I wrote about giving up the chase, as far as pursuing the “logical” course of action in building a business or trying to earn a decent living online.

It’s not that I think having a business online is “wrong” generally. Quite the contrary. 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.

Perhaps this is why in Proverbs 3 we are urged to not to lean on our own understanding, but to let God 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. Clearly, there has to be an explanation against what, to any American in the 21st century, looks foolish or even dangerous.

The more I walk in fear, the less Christ-like my attitudes and actions will be Click To Tweet

Since Christ first started convicting me and teaching me about this issue in my own life, I’ve noticed fear’s work in my life. In short, the more I walk in fear, the less Christ-like my attitudes and actions will be.  I react in fear instead of acting according to the principles Christ taught.

This is because ear 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)

The longer I am alive and the more I study the gospels, the more convinced I am that focusing my life on Christ and Christlikeness is the key to pretty much everything.

What is perfect love? Perfect love is Christ Himself.

Perfect love is Christ Himself. Click To Tweet

When we fear God to the point where we are doing good works to appease our idea of an angry, temperamental God, we are living in fear. When we do the right thing and live like Jesus because we have experienced His love in our lives, and now we’re walking in it, we please Him.

When we are afraid of what may happen (financially, politically, socially, in our marriages, raising kids, etc.) we let ourselves become paralyzed with fear. 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, steering us towards it’s favored choice 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 find it easier to make decisions I don’t later regret. I make decisions that are others-focused. 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 be changed more and more into His image.

As we focus on the glory of the Lord, we will be changed more and more into His image Click To Tweet

Feeding our hearts and minds with media that incites unhealthy fear and anxiety has a similar effect. We become more and more like those we behold. 

For example, if you’re watching sarcastic and snarky news stories about how bad things are, don’t be surprised if you’re anxious about these issues. if you are always reading political propaganda from either side of the aisle, don’t be shocked if the thought of the “other side” strikes panic in your heart. If you fill your heart and mind with information designed to manipulate you into a course of action via fear, don’t be surprised when you 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.

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