The Fertilizer of Fear

It’s an interesting thing to write about sin.

After all “sin” is such a Christian word.

Not that Christians are the only people who deal with sin, but calling it that isn’t something that non-Christians regularly do.

They call it doing the wrong thing. Or making a mistake. Or an error in judgment.

But Christians realize that when God says we missed the mark (which is what sin means) it is much more serious than a commonplace phrase would suggest. So we call it what God calls it when we violate His commandments; we call it sin.

As I wrote about previously, the Christian should be focused on fighting sin. If that is our aim, it helps to know the reasons why we sin. What is the root cause of our inclination to not do what we know we ought, and to do the things we know we shouldn’t? (See Romans 7:15)

One of the most off-suggested causes is pride – and I think there’s a case to be made for that. After all, pride was the impetus for the first sin (See Isaiah 14:12-15), and pride is the little voice that says my way is better than God’s. However, if pride is the root cause, I think fear is the fertilizer. Fear is the prompting in our minds that says we can’t trust that God’s way is really the best way. This is what caused Eve’s stumble into the first disobedience. When the serpent said, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5), Eve was afraid that maybe she was missing out. Maybe God really was keeping something from her. Maybe what her senses told her – the words of the serpent and the sight of the tempting fruit – was more trustworthy that a command that seemed without reason. And so she ate – not realizing that in giving into her fear, she know how to deal with the ultimate reason to be afraid – the righteous wrath of God.

We wonder if when God says “do not be anxious about anything“, He really knows how little would be accomplished if we didn’t fret over it.

When He tells us to wait, we fear that our dreams will go unrealized unless we act when the moment seems opportune to us.

When He says to obey Him, regardless of the consequences, we are afraid that He doesn’t know how painful that might be.

But He does.

And just like Eve’s sin paved the way for humanity to rightfully fear our eternal destination, through His Son He has provided a way to cast out that fear. (I John 5:8, I John 4:18 )

And because of that, we no longer need to listen to fear’s prompting us to sin.


  1. “like God”

    I agree that a common theme among all sins is pride, the desire to be like God Himself. Sometimes my pride makes me COMMIT actions I shouldn’t. Sometimes my pride makes me OMIT actions I shouldn’t. It’s subtle. But powerful. Pride.

    Thanks for helping me see into my heart this morning.

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