Teach Me to Fear

17 03 2006

Teach Me to Fear

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (NIV) 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

People want something that holds their attention – good preaching.  I struggle with this.  I want to see our church built up with people who are a part of the story, not mere spectators.

The actor Morgan Freeman made a statement in a 60 Minutes interview that resonated with me.  He said that he never wanted to become a movie star because he didn’t want people to come to the theater to see him.  Instead, he wanted people to come to see the story.  This is how I’ve looked at preaching and I may have sabotaged my preaching because of it.

The vision I have for Common Ground is for people to be spending regular time in the Word and in prayer – QT3 (Quality, Quantity, Quiet Time).  Then, as a part of a small group they share in fellowship and community.  And finally, when they come to our worship gathering, they come with something to give.  They are not consumers, not spectators, and not coming from a sense of obligation – but they come to worship our almighty creator and savior!

But this is a bit of an elitist attitude.  Some are not there yet.  Some haven’t come to the point where they are ready to make that kind of adaptation in their personal walk.  And in expecting that – in teaching that – many seekers are going to feel intimidated and won’t come back.

In the above texts, Paul tells me that it isn’t with eloquence and persuasive words that people are convinced – instead it is with the Spirit’s power.  And, he says, he comes to the pulpit with weakness and fear, and much trembling.  This is where the power is.

Our culture teaches us to be confident.  We are told to prepare well and to “never let them see you sweat.”  Everything we do is supposed to be done with an air of strength.  Sometimes we overcompensate and get cocky and arrogant.  Other times we take a nonchalant approach and come to the pulpit in mediocrity.  Neither of these are acceptable.

Every time I present the Word of God to people – it needs to be in the Spirit’s power, not my own.

Fear and trembling are not because of a lack of preparation – but because I fear that they will hear me and not Him.

Preparation is good.  Confidence is good.  Understanding the message is good.  But none of these are great.  Good is the enemy of great and greatness only comes from relying on the Spirit.  To be a great preacher, takes great reliance on the Holy Spirit.

My fear and my trembling need to be based on where my strength lies.  I need to fear that I’m not being arrogant, self-confident, or mediocre.  My trembling needs to be a complete reliance on God.  Trembling that I don’t put any stock in myself.

Dear Lord, teach me to rely more fully on You.  Teach me to let go of my own strengths, my own hope, and my own experiences.  Teach me to be more fully doubtful of my own abilities.  Teach me to fear Lord.





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