If I were to pick the top two scariest moments in my life, the first would be the day I found out I was going to be a father. The second would be the day I got married. Now the day you get married and the birth of your first child, are generally the most exciting moments in a person’s life. However, for me—that was not the case.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be married or to become a father; it was because of fear. The cause of my fear was my struggle with inadequacy. I didn’t think I was going to be a good father. I thought for sure I would fail because I was NEVER “good” enough. I couldn’t escape being married and becoming a father, so I tried to bury the fear. I tried to ignore it, but nothing seemed to relieve me from the overwhelming fear I felt. The only thing that was left for me to do was face it.
The fear that plagued my life wasn’t because I was going to be a father, or because there is something terrifying about marriage. The issue for me was simply a lack of faith. Fear entered my life long before my wedding day and the day I found out my daughter was coming.
Fear was initially a result of the “fall of man”. In the aftermath of sin in the garden of Eden, we see Adam and Eve hiding from God because of fear. Because we all get our sinful nature from Adam, I inherited sin (fear) the moment I was born.
The apostle Paul says to Timothy “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love and self-control.” (2 Tim.1:7 ESV). Now, in this context the word spirit most likely means disposition or attitude. So God has given us an attitude of power. The word power in the Greek means strength, might, or the ability to perform an activity. Next, God has given us the spirit of love from the Greek word agape’.
Finally God has given us the spirit of self-control, from the Greek word sōphronismos which means to act sensibly for another. Therefore, the spirit God has given us is foremost for serving Him and also for serving one another; not ourselves. The spirit of fear however, is the opposite and it makes us selfish and cowardly. This is the opposite of faithful.
I said all that to say this; Fear is a sin (see Revelation 21:8). No man can be a husband or a father biblically if he operates out of fear. Fear is slavery (see Romans 8:15). Fear caused me to be disobedient to the command of God to love my wife (see Ephesians 5:25). Since fear makes us self-centered and cowardly and God calls a husband to give himself up for his bride; fear says it is too risky or too hard. I was a slave to it.
So of course I was afraid to be a father because it required me to give up more of myself, but I was too full of fear to answer the call of God. If we set our mind on Christ and not on ourselves, he strengthens us with the power to accomplish what He has called us to.
The only proper attitude towards the spirit of fear, is a declaration of war! Only God can free us from the bondage of fear. He does this by adopting us as sons, through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Rom.8:15) It is in Christ we can do all things because He strengthens us. (Philippians 3:14)
I graduated from high school at the bottom of my class. I don’t come from a prestigious family. I’m not a genius. I’m not charming. I’m not special. I don’t have any outstanding gifts that draw attention to myself. One thing I am, is a sinner! God chose me; a nobody by worldly standards, and it’s in the Lord where I can boast.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 1: vv. 26-31, he pointed out the fact that most of those who were chosen by God in Corinth, weren’t part of any special class of people. As I was studying these verses I was encouraged by it because I “considered my calling “(v.26). For many people who knew me before I was converted, probably saw me as a jokester, not that bright, no ambition. I didn’t take high school or anything else seriously until it was too late. I was rarely well behaved and somewhat of a bully. Consequently, I was not a candidate for “success”. I was headed for prison or the streets. None of this was anyone else’s fault but my own.
God chose what was weak in the world, a wretched sinner like me, to show that change doesn’t happen through human wisdom or some self-help strategy, but by grace through faith in the crucified Christ. The preaching of the cross, is to the world foolishness, but it shows God’s wisdom. God called me out of my foolishness by grace. So I can only boast in God and his grace. It’s a simple message (the Gospel) but it’s the wisdom of God to save sinners and a wretch like me; from ourselves.