How Does Knowing God Help Us?

Michael Frost asserts that human brokenness can be traced to fear and/or laziness. How do we move forward, and can God help us?

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. How have you seen fear and laziness at work in your life?
  2. Do you agree that fear and laziness can be found at the root of much of humanity's brokenness?

Well, I would say that the two greatest expressions of human sin or brokenness are fear and laziness. Yeah, lots of Christian preachers all zero in on various sins of one kind or another, but I would say you could track just about every expression of human brokenness down to their root cause, and you would find fear and/or laziness. Fear, that is, I'm, I'm afraid to embrace change or I'm, I'm afraid to take this step because I fear what chain reaction it'll set off or, or, or what it might result in. Or laziness, which is eh, this is interesting and I might read a bit more and I'll explore it a bit down the track. Uh, but you have a look, I mean, domestic violence, it's either fear or laziness. Uh, fear of the, uh, repercussions of dealing with your relationship or laziness. I, I just couldn't be bothered changing. You, you have a look at, uh, any kind of sin: lust, uh, violence, uh, drunkenness. You name it. Any kind of human brokenness. Why won't people change? Because they're afraid of the consequences of the change or they're, they're simply too lazy to make those choices. We all know what it's like. You know, I need to lose weight. Why won't you? I'm just too lazy to, or I'm, I'm frightened to. You need to deal with your own— your estrangement from your father so, you know, deal with that. Yeah, I, I need to do that, but I'm just too afraid of how he'll react or I'm too lazy to actually make the trip out there to see him or whatever. You watch time and again. I always think of it as like reigns on a charging horse. You know, we were destined to charge. We were destined to run free, but fear and laziness pulls, holds us back. Fear and laziness will say, "Blame the circumstances." Fear and laziness will say, "Be bitter and angry about these situations." Fear and laziness every time will, will ask you to become static in the situation; whereas if we dare to believe what Jesus calls us to is courage and effort and sacrifice and work. Those kinds of choices invite us to step beyond the circumstance, not to ignore it, not to pretend it didn't happen, but to be able to draw from it the very best that we can and to move forward in significant ways. And for me, uh, this is at the very essence or center of, of the gospel message about Jesus. Like, Jesus dies on the cross to deal with human sin. Now what does that mean? I think what, what it means is that Jesus kind of lays an, an axe into the root of fear and sin in our lives, and they begin to wither. They're like a, a vine that's grown up all around our souls, and it's like the work of Jesus is laying an axe to the, to the very root of the trunk of that vine. And slowly but surely over years, it starts to wither. We start to charge, we start to run free. I'm mixing my metaphors with vines and charging horses but you might get the gist of it and so I would say that, uh, that for me there's something marvelous about having followed Jesus for a long time and to see that I am less and less lazy. I'm less and less fearful. I tend to think, but I don't know if this is— it's not a general rule, but I tend to think fear is stronger as you're younger and laziness as you get older, but I mean, I've been frightened and lazy all of my life. I'm an expert in fear and laziness. Uh, but if you are expecting that you can embrace a life that will call out the most courageous choices in your life and will invite you to make the most sacrificial or hardworking effort in your life, you're going to be a far better off person for doing it. It would be a new way of being human, which would be about courage. It would be about effort and work. It would be about embracing a, a journey to become all that humankind was intended to be. This quest— this exploration and relationship with God— actually doesn't lead you to become closed down in this life. It doesn't stunt you. The pursuit of God countermands fear and laziness, and invites us in fact to embrace everything humankind was intended to be. So yeah, be afraid but countermand that fear. Um, it doesn't happen overnight. If you're expecting that, that's laziness, but if you embrace courage, embrace the work of pursuing God, and I promise you, you're a better person at the end of that process because what Jesus wants in your life is for you to be freed, to, to embrace the way of being human that he modeled for us.