Motivated by Fear 1 Kings 8:40 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This lesson is on being motivated by fear. Men have always used fear to motivate people. And as long as the person is truly afraid of whatever you are scaring him with, you can move him to do what you are scaring him to do. That’s how many things are sold these days [emergency supplies, gold, insurance, etc.].
Today, we are going to look at some Biblical examples of fear and we are going to see the limitations of most of these. Our hope is that you will be careful not to use the wrong kind of fear to motivate folks [or yourself] and that you won’t be intimidated by others who use the wrong kind of fear to scare you.
Motivated by the fear of hell – Jude 22-23 – these verses are often quoted to justify scaring people into salvation by preaching hell – getting saved to stay out of hell is not bad – however, if the only reason a person gets saved is to get out of hell then after you have led him to the Lord with that kind of fear his problem is solved – in that case he is not going to be inclined to grow as a Christian because he no longer fears hell – he is likely going to keep living the way he did before he was saved.
Motivated by the fear of consequences – Gal 6:7-8 – these verse are quoted to scare saints into obedience because they will reap bad things if they sow bad things – while these verses are certainly true, the problem is two-fold – first, people become more afraid of getting caught than they do of doing wrong, so they are more motivated to be careful than they are to do right – second, the reaping often takes place such a long time after the sowing that they lose their motivation to deny the flesh – see Ecc 8:11 – for instance, cigarette smokers are often not motivated to quit just because smoking kills – the time between the pleasure of smoking and their eventual death is too long – when they are much closer to the time of reaping then they are more inclined to quit.
Motivated by the fear of superstition – Acts 17:22-23 – religions are famous for using this kind of fear – they want their parishioners to believe that evil awaits anyone who disobeys the superstitions of their religion and good awaits those who adhere to these superstitions – statues of saints, rosaries, crucifixes, aquariums, Mormon underwear, Hindu flags, and so forth are just a few of the gimmicks that are used to keep people in subjection – the trouble is that all of these are man-made scare tactics with no valid benefit or curse associated with them.
Motivated by the fear of man – Prov 29:25 – many young people grow up afraid to disappoint mom and dad – they grow up people-pleasers – as they get older they are inclined to put people they value on pedestals – thus they do what they do out of the fear of man – there are numerous problems with this kind of fear – God is not glorified in what you do – you are easily intimidated by men into doing what you think they want which is often contrary to the will of God – you are motivated to impress men, which is much different than, and often contrary to, pleasing God – you begin to resent the person you fear and you end up quitting altogether.
Motivated by the fear of doomsday – 2 Pet 3:3-4 – preachers have said for years that Jesus will be back any day now – true Bible believers have always had sufficient evidence in their lifetimes to believe that Jesus’ return was imminent – however, he has not returned yet – the Bible says that people get calloused to this warning over time and they scoff at this preaching – Jesus is coming back, no doubt – but if the only reason you began to get in line with the Lord was to be ready for his coming [Matt 24:44], you have probably long since given up living right because he didn’t come when you were expecting him – and quit worrying about the future; you are driving yourself crazy.
Motivated by the fear of God – 1 Ki 8:40 – now if you are motivated by the fear of God, you are motivated by the one fear that is right – a person motivated by the fear of God will get saved, will love God, will acquire knowledge and will thereby grow, will gain wisdom, will be confident, will find treasure, will abhor sin, will yield to righteousness, will humble himself before the Lord at all times, will shun evil companions and will do right in the dark – the fear of the Lord is the only fear a man should ever have and is the only fear that really needs to be preached.
Conclusion: Fear God and not any of these other things – don’t intimidate people with fear and don’t be intimidated by fear.