“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Fear and unbelief might not seem like such a big deal, but it can be. We all have times when we feel afraid. We all have times of doubt. These things, in and of themselves, are not sin. However, if left unchecked, fear and unbelief can lead to all kinds of sin, and the end of sin is death.
I know that fear and unbelief has led to a lot of sin in my life.
When I am afraid, and I do not turn to Jesus and trust in Him, I do what all humans do: resort to our natural “fight or flight” mode of being—which again, is not in and of itself sin—but can lead to a variety of sins.
For example, when I feel trapped in a situation that threatens me, I can become tempted to fight my way out of it in an unrighteous way. I might become full of self-righteous indignation and feel justified in tearing someone down verbally. I might lose my temper in a general way or yell and stomp off.
If I were to turn to Jesus instead, know that He is in control of all things, face my pride, my need for self-preservation, and my fear, I would react in a different way. I might state the truth of the matter, speak up about an injustice, or look to my own actions so that I am an example of what I want to see in others. However, what I will not do is murder people—spiritually speaking—with my words or other actions of wrath.
When I feel trapped in a situation that is overwhelming, I can become tempted to run away from it, especially when feelings of hopelessness take hold. Sometimes I all but shut down. I become numb, and my heart becomes hardened. I can tell myself that “I don’t care,” and for a time that becomes true.
If I were to turn to Jesus instead, know that He is in control of all things and all things are working out for my good, I would trust in Him. Instead of running away or becoming emotionally callous, I would face the emotional pain and know that God sees it all. I would wait on Him and His timing, find peace in the teachings of Jesus and in His suffering, and know that even though this life means suffering, I am looking forward to the Kingdom of Heaven—and even now—my King reigns. If called to speak out about something, I would do so without fear or shame.
I think most of us can think of times when fear and unbelief took hold of us and caused us to sin. Maybe we lashed out at someone. Maybe we gave into despair. Maybe we ran away from something we should have faced instead. Maybe we denied something that we knew was right because it was easier to go along with the crowd.
When fear and unbelief take hold, what else might we do?
Will we trust in Jesus, or will we trust in man? Will we stand up for what is right, or will we pander to the ways of the wicked? Will we become full of self-righteous indignation and justify harming others, or will we stand up for what is good in an upright manner? Will we become so overwhelmed with grief that we roll over and allow evil to consume us and those we love?
Whatever we do, if we are doing it with a spirit of fear and unbelief—a spirit that leads to resentment, murder, pride, irresponsibility, and acceptance of evil due to fear of man over fear of God—then we are at risk of doing the work of the enemy and not of God.
We should stand up for what is good and true—especially the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Doing so is violence to those who deny what is good and true. There is violence of God and there is violence of Satan. If we are not aware of the “spirit we are of” then we can do the work of the devil and not of God. Sometimes, we don’t even know it.
I know this from experience.
For example, if we stand up for something that is good, but we do so in a way that is demeaning, lacks understanding for those we oppose, and feels justified in harming other human beings rather than attempting to convert them, then we are doing no good. We are only hardening people further.
“Many will kill you thinking they do God’s service, and this they will do because they have not known the Father nor me,” says the Lord, Jesus.
This can happen because we don’t know what is good and true, so we push harmful ideas. However, this can also happen when we know what is good and true, but we either attempt to overcome evil with evil, or we deny the truth because we are afraid to speak out. All of these deeds are murderous in the eyes of God.
They all lead to being among the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars.
We can kill people with fight and with flight that results from fear and unbelief—and those who love death will have death—even the lake of fire which is the second death.
Even so, I am thankful to know that Jesus will deal with the fear and unbelief within those He loves. This might mean going through fearful and faith-trying things. I know that was the case for me, and I am still being worked on in these things.
Having been through some of this myself, I also know that though Jesus chastens those He loves, He also preserves them. He heals the deep issues in our heart that cause our fearful and unbelieving natures. He shows us what is good and true and gives us the strength to stand up for His ways by His Spirit and not the spirits of devils.
Many claim Jesus, but due to their fear and unbelief, just as I have done at times, they “cover with a covering, and not of the Spirit.”
There are many things we can turn to due to our fear and unbelief—things that are not of God.
However, Jesus is merciful. He will forgive us, and we can trust in Him. We can grow and get better at walking after the things of the Spirit, and as sons of God we will. He will cause us to. He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” Never turn away from that. His mercy is incredible. His wrath doesn’t burn forever. Respect Him. Trust in Him. Turn away from man and turn to Him in all things. See what wonderful things He will do!
In all things, keep moving forward and trust in Jesus. ❤