Which is the more powerful motivator: fear or love?
As Christians, we would like to say that love is what drives us, and to at least some extent, that would be true. We know of the love of Jesus towards us, we know somewhat about how we aught to love others, and we love Him more and more as we see the beauty of His sacrifice working in our lives and showing us what love is.
Though we have some idea of love, and we would like to live our lives as examples of His love by the way we treat others, there are often things that stand in our way – one of those being fear.
Fear can have such a tight grip on a person, and we all have something that we fear. Some measure of fear can be a good thing. It keeps you safe, helps you make reasonable choices, and so on. But, there is fear that is not aligned with a Christian life – fear that keeps us from living a life of love.
Many things can cause fear to rule over us. For some it’s past abuse or other traumatizing relationships. Others have dealt with things like loss of loved ones, living in poverty, experiencing a traumatic event that left an impression on them – the possibilities from which fear can powerfully grasp a person are practically endless.
The trouble then becomes the way fear changes how a person deals with life. For example, someone who has dealt with past pains that caused them to be very insecure in themselves might fear things like betrayal, being left by people they love, or battle this feeling of being somehow unlovable, or be over-concerned about how they appear to others.
For this person who’s fear is in the form of insecurity, this can lead to a wide-range of sin from judging people harshly or preemptively, to turning to harmful behaviors like drug use, eating disorders, promiscuity, or some other addictive behavior as ways of dealing with the broad-range of associated negative feelings, like anxiety and depression – all of this rooted in fears – fears of insecurity that were caused by past pains.
The purpose of this is that I want to lead you on a train of thought. What is it that you fear? Where did it come from? How does this fear impact the way you live as a Christian? How does it hinder your ability to love as you would like to?
So much of what is sin can be rooted in fear. But, so much of what is fear is rooted in pain. For Christians however, there is hope. There is a great, merciful, and mighty physician who can heal the innermost wounds – no matter how deep they run.
The promises of Jesus are true. He says we are called to live a life in His image. He tells us that sin is bondage, and if you struggle with any kind of fear that rules you and how you treat others, you might feel this bond is so strong that this thing, this fear, is just who you are. It isn’t.
There is no reason for any sin, including fear and its associsted sins to rule the life of a child of God. There is freedom in Christ! Not only can He take away the fear, He can heal the damage within you that brought fear into your heart in the first place, thereby releasing you from an abundance of sin.
When I tell others about how Jesus came to this earth to free us from sin – in a very real and meaningful way – this is the kind of thing I’m referring to. Sin is a heavy burden, not always rooted in some past experience, but most often it is. Whatever the root of the matter might be, His love can work things in you that take the darkness from you, changing your very nature, restoring you to who you were before that darkness took root and then grew into something much bigger than you could ever battle alone.
This article is part of a series entitled: Faith vs Fear and the Duality of God