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Fears and Desires

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Esther Baumgartner in Healthy Faith, Idolatry.

Desires Drive Our Fear

To fear is to let our lives be controlled by something else besides God. When we want to be in control and know things may not turn out the way we want them to, we fear and we worry.

There are many things we worry about, being late to work, making mistakes in front of others, making it onto the sports team or into the college we want, having enough money and the list goes on and on. We believe that if we had a little more, if we were more perfect, if we had better achievements, were accepted by the right people, then we would be satisfied. And to not have those things causes us to fear.

To stop fearing we have to stop clinging to the idols we have in our hearts. Those things that we feel will satisfy us and give us worth outside of God. Timothy Keller in his book Counterfeit Gods says,

“An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

When we are able to take hold of our idol, whether it’s more possessions, more acceptance, more achievement, the satisfaction only lasts for a moment.

It reminds me of the end of the movie Finding Nemo. All these ocean fish live in an aquarium and dream of living in the ocean again. They begin by getting their aquarium so dirty that their owner has to put them in little bags to clean it out. They all then push the sides of the bags so that their bags roll out of the window, down the street and into the ocean. As the last fish rolls and drops into the ocean there is great excitement from all the fish. After a few seconds they all quiet down and one fish asks the important question, “now what?” They have made this incredible journey out of their caged aquarium to the ocean and now they are still trapped inside bags unable to swim in the ocean.

finding nemo fish now what?

Often we think we will be satisfied if we win a sports game, nail a project at work, or are accepted by others. Yet even when we achieve those things we are soon asking, “now what?” We find ourselves still unsatisfied and look for something else that will satisfy our desires.

Christ Drives Out Fear

When we desire Christ more than any other thing, our fear can’t survive. When God tells us not to fear it’s not about giving us another commandment or ideal to live up to. God tells us not to fear to remind us that he loves us and cares for us. He wants to awaken our desire for him.

He says “Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name and you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). God enjoys being with us and desires that we turn to Him to find our rest and satisfaction (Matthew 11:28). When we are with God and trust Him, there is no room for fear. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When our desire and love is for Christ we become satisfied. As we become satisfied our fears can no longer drive us. Audrey Assad paints a beautiful picture of this in her song “I Shall Not Want.” I’ll end with the lyrics of her song.

“From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want”

About the author

Esther BaumgartnerI am a natural deep thinker, which means I love reading books, getting away from things to process the week, and when all the little details line up. I also love, running, volleyball, and almost any form of competition, especially if I have a good shot at winning.