Fear Constrains and Steals Freedom

“We cannot remain cowardly and remain free. It is one or the other.”

There are many today who would call themselves wise, but who actually live in the bondage of fear. They say they are making good decisions, but really they live the lives of cowards.

Like Dionysus of Syracuse: 

For the elder Dionysus was so distrustful and suspicious towards everybody, and his fear led him to be so much on his guard, that he would not even have a haircut with barbers’ scissors, but a hairdresser would come and singe his locks with a live coal. Neither his brother nor his son would come visit him in his apartment wearing any clothes they pleased, but everyone had to take off his own apparel before entering and put on another, after the guards had seen him stripped. And once again, when his brother Leptines was describing to him the nature of a place and drew the plan of it in the ground with a spear which he took from one of his body-guards, he was extremely angry at him and had the man who gave him the spear put to death. He used to say, too, that he was on his guard against his friends who were men of sense, because he knew they would rather be tyrants than be subjects of a tyrant.

And he slew Marsyas, one of those whom he had advanced to positions of high command, for having dreamed that he had killed him, declaring that his vision must have visited his sleep because in his waking hours he had purposed and planned such a deed. Yes, the man who was angry with plato because he would not pronounce him the most valiant man alive had a spirit as timorous as this, and so full of all the evil induced by cowardice.

Plutarch’s Lives, Vol. 2

Some have noted we live in an anxious age. They say we need to tell people of their value to God. But rather we should be telling them to not be afraid, but fear God (Ex. 20.20). They should not fear men or this world, but God alone, as this is the cure for anxiety. If you live in fear, you will be given to being controlled by cowardice, as Isaiah warns:

“A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five, you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill (Isaiah 30:17). 

We cannot remain cowardly and remain free. It is one or the other. Either you enjoy liberty or you fear the world that you cannot control. Knowledge cannot make people brave, philosophy cannot make people brave, and wealth cannot make people brave. Only trust can. Trust that God has your back, even when that is not evident in your circumstance. And fearing the one who alone can destroy the body and soul in hell.

Our leaders might not be officially tyrants, but they may as well be because they live and direct from fear. Only a fearless people can be free. A people that fears naught but God. 

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