|Volume 17 Number 2 February 2015||
Do you have a fear that you are afraid to face? Pride often prompts the fearful to feign boldness. The Greek word “phobos” is the background for many English “phobia” words. Claustrophobia is “abnormal fear of being confined, as in a room or small space.” Hydrophobia is “an abnormal fear of water.” Fear can be divided into two classes – proper and improper. Solomon pinpointed what mankind’s essential pursuit ought to be. “Fear God, and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is proper for every human to give their Creator the highest of respect, which is evidenced by their submission to His will. Improper fear is the cowering state of mind that hinders proper conduct. In the Parable of the Talents, the servant entrusted with one talent “digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money” (Matthew 25:18). When the Master returned, he declared the man to be wicked and slothful. The slacker made this admission, “I was afraid” (Matthew 25:25). It is eye opening to learn that along with murderers, fornicators, and idolaters, “the fearful” will be eternally lost (Revelation 21:8).
Wise counseling from the Scriptures can help you face your fears. Fear of failure, fear of responsibility, fear of growing old, fear of death, etc. What is a good starting place? “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Psalm 111:10). Proper fear of God will prepare the way for successfully tackling any debilitating fears. The Psalmist said, “I will fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). Do you desire this peace?
We all have them. Webster defines “habit” as “a thing done often…; act that is acquired and has become automatic.” What habits have you acquired? Habits may be divided into three basic categories: (1) Detrimental, (2) Beneficial and (3) Inconsequential.
Examples in the first group would include profanity (Ephesians 4:29), viewing pornography (Romans 1:24; Matthew 5:27-28) and smoking (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19). Exercise (1 Timothy 4:8), prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and worship (John 4:23) are all worthwhile habits. An example for the third division would be which shoe one puts on first – right or left.
Human betterment requires stripping away bad habits and increasing good ones. Jesus declared: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). For true disciples, following Jesus must be automatic and daily, not just some days (e.g., a one hour on Sunday exercise).
The letter to the Hebrews addresses a habit that was directly opposite of what it ought to have been. Some church members made it a habit of choosing to be absent when the church gathered (Hebrews 10:25). Some folks today have this same shameful habit. The Bereans were praised for being daily students of the Bible (Acts 17:11). Is that your habit?
Bad habits are notoriously defended by countless excuses. Blame is transferred to genetics, parents, environment, peer pressure, stress, ad infinitum. However, God has said each one shall be judged for “the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Let’s stop making excuses and determine to quit the bad habits and make godliness our habitual lifestyle. Come be with people who want to see you succeed; visit the church of Christ in your community.