Motivated by Fear

Has fear ever motivated you to do something that you were not proud of?

For a stint of nearly ten years, I had worked at a well known cola company. When I had first started, there was a very aggressive owner with a skewed authoritarian leadership style mixed with an abusive toxic leadership style. Fear was his friend. He demanded respect when he entered the room. Respect was given, but only out of fear of being screamed at or the fear of losing one’s job. Out of fear of losing their jobs or maybe fear of failure; management would work ridiculous hours, which strained their marriage relationship. I seen several managers choose their work over their family; many marriage relationships ultimately ended in divorce.

Fear is a powerful emotion.

Has fear ever motivated you to do something that you were not proud of?

Fear has motivated all of us to do things that we are not proud of. This was no different with the great Apostle Peter. In Galatians chapter two, Peter was separating himself away from the gentiles because of his fear of man.

Galatians 2:11-13   11 But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.  13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

Peter use to eat with Gentiles; this goes back to Acts 10 with a Roman centurion by the name of Cornelius. Cornelius was a devout man, who feared God and prayed to God continually. God visited him in a vision and told him where Peter was and to him to dispatch some men to retrieve Peter. Peter came back with them and ate.

According to Acts 10:28-29, Peter talked with Cornelius saying, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.  29 “That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.”… (verses 34-35)   34 … Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,  35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

Early on, Peter realized that the gospel is now going to every nation, with Cornelius being considered the first gentile to become a Christian. Instead of following the Jewish customs, Peter is to follow the Gospel; but sadly Peter is now withdrawing or separating himself from the gentiles because of fear.

The real problem is that the rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocrisy and even Barnabas was led astray. Peter knew it was alright to eat with gentiles but out of fear he wasn’t eating with them or if he was, it was done in secret.

Peter was not being straight forward about the truth of the gospel. The gospel is for all walks of people. Peter shouldn’t have allowed fear from racial pride, man-made tradition, or a perverted gospel of works to motivate him to treat his brother in such a way.

Fear is a powerful emotion, but one should not be motivated out of fear of man. Don’t let fear motivate you to do something that later you will not be proud of.

“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little…” G.K. Chesterton

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