Shortly after my oldest son turned 10, he approached me and said, “Dad, it’s only six more years before I can drive!” This comment led to a very interesting conversation.
I said, “Son, I know the law says you can drive when you turn 16, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be driving on your 16th birthday.” You could see the wheels turning inside his head, so I clarified, “Just because the law says you can drive does NOT mean that your Daddy says you can drive.”
“You mean you’re not going to let me drive when I turn 16?” he asked. My answer was simple, “Son, I will let you drive when I see that you have fear.”
Fear is one of those things that shows up in many different ways. Some fears show up as phobias. I am claustrophobic and experience great anxiety in closed in places. The kind of fear I’m talking about is the kind of fear that anyone should have who gets behind the wheel of a car. Not the kind of fear that paralyzes us and prevents us from acting, but the kind of fear that causes us to carry ourselves very, very carefully. I believe that I am a confident driver, but I also know that every time I venture out of my driveway that I am assuming inherent risks. I can mitigate those risks by buckling my seatbelt, putting my phone out of reach, and ensuring that my vehicle is well maintained, but I still have to possess a healthy fear of the road – for the safety of my passengers, myself, and other drivers.
Peter challenges his readers to have a fear of God. In 1 Peter 1:17, he wrote, “…if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each ones work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence.” Simply stated, if God is your Father, then conduct your life with fear.
Just like driving, however, this is the kind of fear that accompanies confident people. You could just as easily say, “If you drive a car, then drive your car with fear.” It doesn’t mean you don’t drive, or that you have an anxiety attack every time you get behind the wheel; it just means that you drive your car with the utmost respect and awareness, knowing that it is serious business. Christians are to live their lives with the full knowledge that following Jesus is serious business, and is best approached with a healthy dose of fear.
In fact, it is so serious that it came at a great cost. Peter reminds us that we were not redeemed with cheap stuff like gold and silver, but with the priceless blood of Jesus. Gold and silver, though valuable commodities in today’s economy, will one day be worthless. The blood of Jesus which secures our redemption is eternal and will never lose its value or its power.
Be Afraid (Sort of),