When King David was right with the Lord and in good fellowship, none of his enemies could stand before him. When David sinned and became estranged from the Lord, his enemies grew bold and triumphed over him.

After one of his greatest victories, David’s sin of adultery immediately followed. This great man of God, basking in the glory of a great victory, began to lust after Bathsheba. He killed her husband Uriah and committed adultery with her. “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27, NKJV). The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David. The prophet did not come to counsel David on how to handle his guilt and condemnation. Rather, Nathan got right to the heart of the matter. “You have despised the commandment of the Lord. You have done evil in the sight of the Lord. You are guilty of secret sin.”

Ultimately, David fled into the wilderness. He was a weeping, barefoot, cowardly man, shorn of his power and courage because of sin.

Sin causes Christians to become craven cowards who live in humiliating defeat. They can’t stand up with courage against sin because of the secret sin in their own lives. They excuse the sins of others because of the disobedience in their own hearts, and they can’t preach victory because they live in defeat.

I have no simple solutions. I do know there is much comfort in the Bible for those who are fighting battles between the flesh and the spirit. That said, many Christians today haven’t had the fear of God planted in their hearts. The writer of Proverbs declares, “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). The ‘fear of God’ referred to here indicates much more than reverential awe and respect. We can’t receive the full revelation of God’s truth until his fear is deeply rooted in us. All revelation is tied to his holy fear.

I’m convinced that without the fear of God, we cannot experience lasting deliverance from sin. Embrace the holy fear of the Lord, and don’t allow sin to steal your power in the Spirit!