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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

By Michael McBuba


I approach this onerous assignment with utmost trepidation and consternation mainly because it is my very first attempt ever to participate in the Faith Writers’ Writing Challenge, and because I will be working with a suggested topic! Consequently, right at this moment, butterflies are dancing in my stomach, fearful tremors are coursing through me, and my fingers are getting rather two clumsy and clammy on the keyboard! Can you believe it? Yet it is nothing but the gospel truth!

But why is this so? I believe the answer lies in the fact that any assignment for which you are least prepared for should naturally give you the shivers! And any venture for which you have never previously embarked upon should normally stir up consternation and agitation in your heart — except if there is nothing worthwhile at stake; and unless you have deliberately set up yourself for a fatal fall!

Can you for just a moment envision with me the fate of an athlete who goes into competition without adequate training under a qualified coach? And can you also imagine the waterloo that awaits that athlete who would not follow the golden rules and regulations of best sportsmanship practices?

Furthermore, can you imagine a candidate who is attempting any particular examination for the very time who would not normally approach the task with a level of trepidation and circumspection, since he has no intention to fail, knowing that in the event where he should fail, the consequences might be too traumatic and devastating to absorb?

Again, can you envision with me a young couple standing before a priest to be joined together in holy wedlock who would not normally approach the altar with at least, a certain amount of reverence and veneration, having the prior understanding that the vows about to be administered on them are not for the cowardly at heart but for those with a strong resolve to keep the marital vows for life?

This was exactly what Jesus meant when He posed the following query in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

It is my considered opinion that a lot of believers may miss out mainly because we no longer live with the consciousness of Finishing Well, and because aimlessness and apathy have set in on us. As strongly indicting as it may sound, I believe that most of us have forgotten that our God is Fearful and Awesome, and that it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands, (Hebrews 10:31)!

In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul reminds us that, “…every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things…” in order to “…obtain a corruptible crown…” If athletes work so hard to win corruptible crowns, how much more fearfulness and carefulness should we as believers exercise in order not to miss out of the Heavenly Race for which “…so great a cloud of witnesses…” have gathered to watch and cheer us on, (Hebrews 12:1)?

Finally, in Philippians 2:11b, Paul urges us to, “…work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” The term “work out” is both a mathematical and an athletic term. In both contexts, a workout exercise of sort is implied.

In a mathematical examination, the examiner is not only interested in your getting the correct answers, he is even much more interested in how you arrive at your answers. Christianity is much the same. It is first of all an in-work by the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t end there. We are expected to go further to work it out, and we are instructed to do so with fearfulness and trembling because our salvation cost God the life of His Only Begotten Son.

No wonder that when I first started working on the topic for this essay, the foremost thought that came to my mind was to steer clear, exit the website, and simply face my own very familiar terrain. I had thought within myself, “Why trespass where even the eagles would dare not?” But then, there was this inner conviction—the silent nudge— that convinced me that I could and should give the project my very best effort, and here we are!

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This article has been read 621 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/30/07
Some great examples here, and a nice conversational tone.

It's usually best in non-fiction to avoid use of exclamation points. It's like bapping the reader over the head. Your writing is fine, and your word choices more than adequately convey your meaning.

I enjoyed this essay.
Rhonda Clark09/01/07
I think many of us here at fw have had the same feelings now and again. You did a great job making your point. I like your math analogy very much.

Great work.
Dee Yoder 09/03/07
Yep! That first entry is exciting and fear-filled at the same time. But you did a good job of writing out your thoughts, and you followed through by submitting the entry. Now, you can breathe a sigh of relief and prepare for the next Challenge!
Darlene Casino 09/03/07
Congratulaions! You clearly made your points. You overcame your fear. You jumped in with both feet. You're one of the 'gang'. Keep it going
Darlene Casino 09/03/07
Congratulaions! You clearly made your points. You overcame your fear. You jumped in with both feet. You're one of the 'gang'. Keep it going...
Darlene Casino 09/03/07
Congratulaions! You clearly made your points. You overcame your fear. You jumped in with both feet. You're one of the 'gang'. Keep it going...
Darlene Casino 09/03/07
Ooops...I don't know how this was entered 3 times...guess I made my point.
Tracy Walshaw09/04/07
Honesty is the most important thing a writer can bring to the page. Each of us has a different experience on this earth, and if we're called to write then we have to find our own "voice" on the page, which I think is one of the hardest and most terrifying parts of writing, for me anyway. But I've learned that the thing you're most afraid of is the thing you're probably best at, and Satan is trying his hardest to give you the most doubt in that area. He's great at smoke screens. When you just take the leap, afraid, you always find your feet touch the other side!