As I was listening to President Obama's State of the Union speech, this statement unsettled me -
"And finally, let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe, to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want."
On first blush, this sounds very magnanimous - doing good for others, helping promote freedom. But that is not the precise words about freedom. He says "to free people from fear and want". What exactly does this mean?
Would you want to live in a world of people free from fear and want? I don't. Fear is a necessary survival instinct built into our brains. Wants are different than needs. How boring a world would be without fear or want. A flat world of emotion.
Actually, a goal to free people from fear and want is a naïve attempt of being God. It's God's job to teach us how to cope with fear and wants. In fact, God reminds us that we are to fear him - have no other God's before him, obey him, worship him, and love him (e.g. "want him).
In the book "The Practice of Godliness" by Jerry Bridges, the balance of our desire for God, the fear of God and the love of God creates the basis for building our foundation of total devotion to God. We should seek to grow equally in each of these three areas, otherwise our devotion becomes imbalanced. If we grow in the fear of God without comparable comprehension of his love - we begin to view God as far-off and austere. If we grow in awareness of God's love without equal reverence and awe - we begin to view God as permissive and indulgent to our sins - the prevalent view in society today.
God doesn't think we should be free of fear and want. God reminds us we are to fear and want him - and him only!