Fear of sin leads to sin.
We have a fear in the church and in our culture of what people think of us, and it runs deep. we keep our distance from the opposite sex; we guard ourselves in case we don't appear to have life together enough to garner approval from the general people around us; we make more rules for ourselves in friendships and the workplace to avoid doing wrong as though that will be the perfect protective fence. In the church we do only leader-approved activities and have certain boundaries that are sometimes healthy and sometimes empty of relationship. these things sound good but we must look at what motivates them and the things left unsaid to see if the root of it is fear of man, or fear of the Lord. don't be motivated by fear or caution, but LOVE which casts out all fear.
through this most recent season, I've been convinced the most difficult thing in life is to do without people and places I love. I can feel that some of what has affected me is fear based and I want to remove it. I don't think I doubt the goodness of God in these times; just that this truth is no longer like the warmth of the sun on my face.
PAIN = LOVE
1. pain is necessary.
a sacrifice must die, and cost something, to truly be a sacrifice. Pain is a necessary part of death and cannot be bypassed. Just as Christ's sacrifice was necessary, we also must give a sacrifice of praise that takes something of us and it dies to make room for more of what we need, more of the holiness and restoration that we need planted in our souls.
2. pain was the motivation and the evidence of Christ's love for us.
pain was the evidence that Jesus, as perfect and blameless as a human, was crushed for us and had blood and scars as evidence. this evidence costs something and proves his love for us. Isaiah 43:4 begins with "because I (the Lord) love you I will..." this love became a powerful motivation for a sacrifice and pain that God AND his Son endured that saved mankind from sin. any separation from those we love can deepen the affection in our hearts, and we are never the same.
therefore, know and search out the depth of love, and the pain that accompanies love and sacrifice, and embrace it. this is the example Jesus set for us.