Why Fear Stops Us From Love

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“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice, “but don’t strike me–please don’t!–and I’ll do anything you want me to.”

Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.

“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.

“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.

“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.

“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.

“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”

From The wonderful wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Some of us would like our god to be like the wonderful wizard of Oz. Someone who can conjure up smoke and fire and loud noises when needed. Who offers us courage for a task, or a better brain, or a safe journey home, in return for the odd favour we do him. But someone who can’t hurt us – a god who is ultimately just a kindly old man pulling strings behind the stage.

Bert reminded us last Sunday that such an image of God is both unbiblical and illogical. This is the God who created and sustains the universe, who knows the last hair on everyone’s head, whose glory fills the temple and brings our sinfulness into sharp relief. How can we not fear such a God?

Yet there is a kind of fear of God that is unbiblical too. This is the fear of an oppressed servant cowering before the wrath of a harsh, judgmental master. But this kind of fear doesn’t come from the bible – it stems from the Fall, when Adam and Eve hid from God because of their guilt. For those who know and love God, there shouldn’t be any guilt or fear of judgment, because we have a covenant through the blood of Jesus that guarantees his acceptance of us.

So how do we approach such a God? Boldly, because of grace, yet fearfully, because we know that it is still the throne of an awesome and holy God we come to.

“Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

From The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S Lewis

This was a continuation of our series for this year. You can find the message as well as the worship at the BCEC Sermon Page or listen to last week’s sermon directly – Why Fear Stops Us From Love.

2 Responses to "Why Fear Stops Us From Love"
  1. bert says:

    Great post Mark. Really got me thinking as well about the interplay between fear & courage – and how even in the magnificent grandeur of God – and the fear that we have – through Christ we also are now filled with courage.

    Hebrews probably says it best, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-21)

    Question now is, shouldn’t the knowledge that we are on the side of the living God, give us courage to herald his good news?

    • mark says:

      Thanks! I agree.. last night’s study on Revelation 4 at cell group made me think of how the absolute sovereignty and awesome goodness of God is reassuring and courage-inspiring in uncertain times.

      Look forward to hearing this Sunday’s sermon with the enigmatic title!

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