Take a board 12 inches wide and place it on the ground. Now walk across the board without falling off. No problem, right? Now take that same board and place it two feet off the ground. Still no problem. Now take that 12-inch wide board and place it between two buildings 30 stories high. Can you walk across it now? Why not? It’s the same board and the same distance. What changed?
Fear has an amazing affect on even the easiest of challenges. A confident stride across a board that posed no threat of death becomes a series of wobbly, staggering steps when the fall holds serious consequences. Fear causes uneasiness. Fear paralyzes. Fear makes enemies of everything. One of the great blessing of being a child of God is the emasculation of fear in our lives. Sadly, it is also a blessing that many do not allow themselves to enjoy.
The Christian does not fight and strive and labor in this world for fear that the giants of the land might crush him. If we fear the world we will either retreat from it or surrender to it. The child of God who dwells in the favor and safety of the Father patiently, steadily, and peacefully advances into the land before him because he knows that every bit of it, from the heart inside his chest to the house next door to the far reaches of the earth, has already been conquered. Upon Jesus’ resurrection, He ascended to the right hand of His Father, from where He rules and reigns over all things. The strong man has been bound. The true enemies (our own sinfulness, Satan’s seductive temptations, and the worldliness of the world) have met their match in the righteousness of our Savior. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1)
The man or woman who lives in fear of condemnation, who dwells in the shadows of shame, or feels the slavish grip of self-righteousness; they are the ones who fight with a blind fierceness. They see enemies everywhere. They see themselves as the enemy so they punish or indulge the enemy within. They see their true friends as enemies and seek to push them away or control the friendship. They see God as their enemy because they do not allow themselves to see Christ standing in their place.
Fear makes their walk unsteady and causes their feet to stumble. Fear keeps them in small little cages when God has broken the lock and swung wide the door. Fear causes them to crawl when they should be running. Fear draws them into the alleyways of isolation when the great city of God shines brightly all around them.
Let us not beat our bodies needlessly or beat at shadows blindly. Let us not give ourselves over to a spirit of fear. Let us live in the freedom of adoption. Let us eat and drink with merriment for we do not fear the death that may greet us in the morning. Let us give ourselves to ordinary duties of the day and the kind of work that will take generations to bear fruit because we do not fear that our labors will be in vain.