Enemy Behind the Lines: FearApril 3, 2009
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
Here is an interesting list for you to consider:
- The number 13
- Body Odors
So what do all of these have in common? They are all listed as diagnosed phobias. The list of diagnosed phobias was pretty exhaustive and surprising.
Alektorophobia. That is the phobia I have. Pretty terrifying and to save you some time researching, let me define it for you. I have a gripping fear of chickens, well, roosters primarily. Oh, and I have another one, Coulrophobia. Again, another serious phobia I have of clowns. I know you are laughing to yourself, but you have them too. Those silent, hidden fears that keep you caged in yourself.
I found it interesting that when trying to determine the total number of phobias, the answer was quite simple, “there are as many phobias as there are things and situation.” When I reread over Genesis, I read about the numerous items God created, but found it interesting that fear was not one of them. So when did fear become so common and accepted as something just to name and accept. Who comes up with all of these names for the million phobias listed? I would daresay Adam had the easier job naming all of the animals.
Why is fear considered an enemy behind the line? Interestingly enough, even when you would describe yourself as fearless, you truly are not. I found this to be true personally. Granted, I have a distorted fear of clowns and roosters, I thought when it came to faith, I could be considered as fearless. After comparing myself to some of the people in Scripture, I am not that fearless.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, – Acts 16:25
After reading about Paul and Silas singing in the midst of facing almost certain execution… painful execution, I can’t really say I am all that fearless. Of all of the emotions and all of the possible behaviors to display in a time like that, I can’t say that I I would have necessarily chosen to sing hymns to God first. That, in my humble opinion, is pretty fearless. In today’s environment, we need more of that type of fearlessness.
Most of us, however, would recognize our other fears or phobias. Those who are afraid of heights stay away from high places. Others who are afraid of flying don’t even go to http://www.travelosity.com to price flights, it’s just not an option to consider. And those of us who are afraid of clowns, we steer clear of circuses. We are able to embrace the fears we know about, but not the fears that are “behind the line.”
If I asked you to speak to a group of people regarding your testimony or to simply share the Gospel with them, unless you were agorophobic, you would not have a tremendous problem with it right? Chances are, the group I assembled would be somewhat believers ready to receive or at least listen to what you had to say right? Let’s change the situation. What if I were to ask you to stand up in a crowded movie theater before a movie started share the Gospel? Ok, that feeling you just felt in the pit of your stomach, that is the enemy behind the lines… fear.
We all have it, fear of failure, embarrassment, humiliation, or rejection. This fear is the fear crippling many Christians, especially Christian Men in today’s society. As a man, it is easy to be the bold one in business, the “take no prisoners” type. Personally, at one time in my life, I felt great pride in taking down an opponent whether it be a competitor in business or simply someone who, in my opinion, needed to be put in their place. It was almost second nature. The tide has shifted though for those of us who have submitted ourselves to Christ.
There is a fear infested in us that lies dormant, it seems, until we commit ourselves to Christ and take up His armor and mission rather than our own? Suddenly, your ability to “take down enemies” seems to be nonexistent when it comes to defending your faith. What am I speaking of? Let’s say someone in your office speaks about women in a lewd and disgraceful manner. Will you stand up and tell them that it is no longer acceptable to speak in those ways about women? Ok, if you answered yes, let’s take it one step further. If you were asked why the sudden change, would your answer be, “Because I have committed myself to Christ and we are to love and honor our wives as Christ loves the church, not speak about them so harshly.” Yeah, not as easy.
Fear cripples most of us and we do not know how infested our camp is with fear until we are faced with one of these moments. Most of the time, myself included, we back down and simply retreat thinking there will be another day to fight. I have thought the same, but have been asked by Christ through my spirit, “What if the battle you needed to fight was today?” That’s a hard question to answer.
Paul and Silas may have had some fear about singing hymns while in prison, but then again, what did they have to lose? Chances are, they were told they would be executed or beaten. They had a bodily threat where today, most of us only have a threat to our egos. Paul and Silas had a greater fear though: the fear of the Lord. They knew who was truly in control and submitted themselves to Christ again, in the midst of their fear. Sometimes, that is all Christ is wanting from us, simple submission. I am quite sure that as these two men sang, their fear began to subside back into the darkened corners of the prison where it belonged.
As a result of their prayers and praise through their fear, a Phillippian jailer was converted. Their choice to overcome their fear through fervent prayer and worship saved not only the jailer, but his family. What a testimony we have in this passage! As a Christian Warrior, we are called to be bold and fearless in Christ. Greater is he that we serve than he that comes against us. If we all were to realize this slippery enemy in our own camp, perhaps Christ could use us more to reach out to the lost men we are constantly working with, speaking to, working out with, coaching with, etc. Could you imagine the impact it would have on the Kingdom?
If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:
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About the Writer:
Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.
As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses. This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.