Who Do You Fear? (Matthew 10:28)

In chapter 10 of Matthew, Jesus is preparing his disciples to go out to various towns in Israel and spread the good news. He gives them strategies and methods, and he prepares them for the challenges they will surely face. He focuses their attention and reminds them of what is most important.

In verse 28 he utters a truth that we need today, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

It is easy to be controlled by our desire for others to think highly of us and consider us cool. We carefully think about the clothes we wear so we can look cool at youth group. We laugh when everyone else is laughing in an attempt to fit in the popular crowd. We say things to impress others. And as we do all of these things, we can have an underlying fear in our hearts.

We may not face the physical dangers the disciples faced, but we may face the social effects of being in the “outside” or “un-cool” group. We may experience ridicule and mockery from peers. And we are afraid. The answer is not to give in to our fears. We must be aware of the dangers we may encounter so we can navigate them and live in a way that pleases God.

Ultimately, we need to fear God. He controls all, sustains all, and knows all. Man can hurt us and harm us, but God can do much more. He controls our souls and our eternal destination. His opinion of us matters the most. His instructions for us should guide us more than anything else. And his eyes are the most important eyes observing us.

It isn’t easy to fear God more than man, but it is essential to live the Christian life.

Who do you fear?


Ronnie said...

A great insight on fear (not just for young people). My 13-year-old son is beginning your book this week. I'm confident that it will prove helpful. Thanks for the important work you're doing.

Karl Graustein said...

Ronnie -- Thanks for your encouragement. I'm excited to hear that your son is reading my book. Please let me know what he thinks of it.

Kurt Graustein said...

Hi Karl! I've often been amazed that there is so much more to "the fear of the Lord" than simply being scared. The Bible is peppered with promises of wonderful things if we fear God. Examples are wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), prolonged life (Proverbs 10:27), and the list goes on. I've been meaning to talk my pastor into a sermon series on what it means to fear God and why we must.

Karl Graustein said...

Yes, it would make a great sermon series! Jerry Bridges' book The Joy of Fearing God does a great job laying out the blessings that come from a healthy fear of God. I highly recommend it.