There are few things that a Christian truly fears. I don’t mean here that believers are emotionless. Sure we get startled in an explosion. Or get anxious about some things beyond our control. Or get scared of heights or spiders. We do have our phobias still. We’re human after all.
The fear that I mean here is that state of being continually fearful. That fear that is the blackest of blacks. That fear that consumes you day and night and makes you give up on life. The fear that has no hope of rescue – that’s the fear that I mean, the fear that a Christian doesn’t have.
How can we have that kind of fear in our hearts if we are children of an Almighty God? How can we continually be afraid of anything if we have a Mighty Father beside us, 24/7?
No believer continued to be afraid when the recession hit in 2008 because we knew then that our Provider never left our side. No Christian was desperate as Supertyphoon Yolanda hit in 2013 for we knew then that He is always in control. How could we be afraid today of what will happen to our kids in the future if we know that God loves our kids more than we ever could?
We just can’t be afraid.
Sometimes we get derailed, we stumble a little bit, but we always find our balance. Sometimes we fall, but our hope never runs out. We always rise again for our Lord who gave everything up for us in love.
But there’s a fear that a believer does have. A fear that separates the genuine from the fake. For this fear only grips those who truly love God and desire Him deeply.
This fear is the Christian’s fear of being handed over to his or her unholy desires.
This is the fear of being allowed by God Himself to what you think is nice after He kept you away from it for so long. This is that event in a believer’s life when our conscience stops working and we go through a downward spiral of sin. That terrible time when God lets you go and stops interfering. You think that God is OK with it regardless of what’s in His Word, when in truth, He’s already miles away from you.
Picture a cat surrounded by a gang of pit bulls – pit bulls that haven’t eaten for days. The cat’s owner did all he could to keep him away from them, but the cat is stupid. He thinks that the pit bulls are friends and all that barking means they like him. No matter how sophisticated the cage is, the cat always finds a way to get out and rush to the other side. The owner always caught him in the nick of time. But then the cat is relentless. He wants what he thinks is the best for him. And he sees the owner not as a protector, but a dictator and oppressor. So what does the cat do? The next time his owner catches him, he claws and bites. The owner realizes that the cat’s problem is his desire, entrenched deep in his heart; reason will not work at all. So he sadly lets his cat go, and waits. What does the owner wait for? The cat’s own realization that he was wrong all along and his master is right. The cat’s own willingness – his panic – to get back to his master’s arms.The owner doesn’t want it, but the cat won’t listen to reason and will rather experience the pain and separation.
This is what happens to a Christian who will not stop on doing what he knows is wrong. This is what happens when the believer ignores the Holy Spirit and refuse to repent. God doesn’t want it because He knows it will hurt the believer, but the believer keeps wandering away and sees God as his oppressor. So God lets go. With great sorrow, He stands back as His child is devoured by sin.
This “handing over” is found in Scripture. The ESV and KJV Bible calls it “give up”. The HCSB Bible calls it “deliver over”. The NIV Bible calls it “give over”.
Let’s use the ESV for this article…
“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” Psalms 81:12
“For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions…” Romans 1:26.
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…” Romans 1:28
Ephesians 4:19 is quite special because it shows the sinning Christian’s personal choice to give himself or herself over to depravity: ‘Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality…”
To illustrate this more, think of David and his adultery. After that, think of Solomon, his concubines and idolatry. Think of what happened next when God have them over to their desires.
This also brings to mind the BTK killer, Dennis Lynn Rader, of Wichita, Kansas who killed and tortured 10 people between 1974 to 1991. He was arrested in 2005. During the time of his arrest, he was president of the congregation council of Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita. Before his arrest, he wrote letters to police and media about his previous crimes. These letters were not letters of remorse but of boasting and taunting. Hiding behind an alias, he told the world of his desire to defile and murder women and children. It was discovered later that some of the letters he made were written in the church using the church desktop computer. When he pleaded guilty, it was without remorse. Police say that there are many “lucky” people because Rader was on the verge of relapse when he was arrested. He is now in solitary confinement. (Source: Wikipedia)
I will not say that Rader was never a believer in the first place and will go to hell. I don’t know that. Only he and God does. But here’s what I’m sure of, while he was a part of that church, God reached out to him repeatedly. Many times God forgave him and urged him to surrender. Many times, God would fight for him and tell him to stop his evil desires so that he won’t go back to where he came from in 1991 when he killed his last victim. But somewhere along the way, God had to let go. Why did God give him that much time? Why didn’t God strike him with death and disability right away? That is not for us to know. Fact is, God reached out to Rader. Rader wanted out. God let him go.
Christian, are you in that crossroad right now where God tells you to stop? Is the Lord urging you in your spirit to come back to him?
Is it a little stealing from the company funds? Don’t wait for God to let you go and let it grow into a full blown corporate crime.
Is it just a little gambling? Your God is trying to hold you back from bankruptcy.
Is it a little porn? If God let’s go, you won’t just lose your family, you could be on your way to becoming a pedophile. Maybe your first victim would be your own daughter.
Is it just one night of liberty with your boyfriend? If God let’s go, you better be ready for single parenthood.
Is it just a little torture of a puppy? Why do you think we feel so horrified when we see that done on any small animal? That’s God telling us that it’s not right. Dennis Rader started his serial killing with animal torture.
If God holds us back, it’s only because He wants us to get back to safety. Let’s love that about our Father. It’s an indicator that He’s there and that He cares.
It is with these same thoughts that David wrote, “..Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalms 23: 4).
I would rather have His loving discipline than live a life of separation from my Father.