There is healthy fear and unhealthy fear. A healthy fear spoken of in the Bible is referred to in Hebrews 4:1 — a kind of fear about missing out on GOD’s rest because of our unbelief. I was reading up on this and saw a healthy kind of fear attached to this. We should fear losing belief! We should fear being lured away from GOD, falling to the temptation of not trusting, falling to the temptation of anger, bitterness, self-reliance. Finding our selves in a dark an anxious self-imposed exile. It is healthy to fear that.
This fear is motivational. This fear is the kind of fear that keeps us away from danger and in the freedom and joy of healthy boundaries. John Piper uses the illustration of a child being told to STAY OFF the busy street where there are cars zooming by. In the yard the child plays, full of freedom, not thinking about the street at all. It isn’t as if those boundaries have stolen joy, they have actually given the child a sigh of relief to be able to play safely. If they look over at the street they might think for a moment, “What would it be like to play there…” and maybe imagine it. Along with this should come a little warning in their conscience, “Don’t do it.” The “don’t” instills a little fear of consequences. That fear should be enough to make the child determined to keep playing within the safety zone and not risk losing it!
Piper says that in our journey following Jesus, “persevering is a group project.” We need our “fellow followers” to be united with us in faith. We need to take care of each other and call each other to not fall away. When we see our brothers and sisters heading towards that curb by the street, Hebrews says “call out” (exhort!) each other so none of us are deceived and pulled away from what we believe.
Pulling away from belief happens. It is usually not an abrupt denial, it is the slow “not sure” and the step back from “being with” and the gradual withdrawal of our affections and our "worship. It is the grumbling, it is the disgruntlement, it is the dissatisfaction that excuses the erosion of our faith. It is when we begin hiding and justifying stepping out onto the street.
Pulling away can happen when we wrestle, waiting on GOD to solve something. In the waiting distance can grow, we can forget the GOD of miracles. Impatience can make us rush towards alternatives found elsewhere.
Fearing this is healthy! It causes us to put into place things that will keep us sure-footed. What we do in community is the yard vs. the street. There is safety in numbers as we ponder GOD together, pray together, be in His Word, share from our lives, practice being family, looking out for one another, partnering with one another (speaking of Partnership, if you would like to be unified with us and confidently be on the same team, join in with the Partnership class this Sunday afternoon, September 8, from 11:30-1:30, lunch included. Contact Shawn Klassen: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Small Group sign-ups are up! Run towards it — have a little healthy fear for being “out there” on your own, and get in a group where you will be known by people who will watch your back. Feel the relief of being prayed for and celebrated and part of the conversation and the growth that happens as we sharpen one another.
Sign up on Sunday at the Connect Center (even if you have been in a group previously), or online!