Thursday, January 24, 2013

Afraid

We serve the God who created the Universe from nothing.  His power is infinitely large.  There is no space nor time not within His eyesight and power.  Nothing can escape Him.  He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us.  Even though we've done nothing to deserve this and done everything to avoid this grace, He still loves us that much.  Our ultimate goal is to spend eternity with God in Heaven.

If we know all of that to be true, then why do we live in fear of things or people here?  What sense does that make?  If a soldier in the service of a mighty king hid every time something scary happened, would we not call him a coward?  If we are in the service of the Almighty King, why do we act so cowardly?

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
(Luk 12:4-5)

I make a lot of decisions based on fear.  I'm afraid of looking foolish, so I don't start up a conversation with the people next to me at church.  I'm afraid I won't get enough sleep so I avoid some late night conversation.  I'm afraid I'll just make the situation worse and so I avoid trying to resolve conflict.  I'm afraid I won't be comfortable so I fail to do what God is asking me to do.

There are others with this same problem.  Thankfully I do not face this situation, but some are afraid for their jobs and so they do not walk with integrity.  Some may be afraid for their future so they stay with a job they hate instead of following their heart.  Some may be afraid of the pain relationships can cause, so they avoid friendship and love.  A great many fears rule many of us.

I've previously written about this fear based decision making in 2011 here, here, and here.  I am ashamed to admit I haven't made much progress even though I so clearly identified the problem there.  It is a constant battle to remember the eternal and not allow fear to rule the decisions I make.  We certainly don't get much support from the world on this matter as we are ever encouraged to be afraid.  One need only look at the knee jerk reactions (by both sides) to the recent gun related tragedy to see how very afraid we have become.

In the 2011 entries, I quote a post by Jennifer Fulwiler.
Sadly, I think that decision-making based on fear is increasingly common as secularization sweeps through Western society. Some of the key tenets of the secular worldview are that this world is all there is, suffering is the worst evil, and each person can and should be completely in charge of his or her own destiny. If all of those things are true, then it starts to make sense to imagine the worst case scenario of suffering, and manage your entire life around avoiding it. Without a solid belief in an eternal afterlife, the redemptive nature of suffering, and the sovereignty of a loving God, it is the rare person who can engage in hope-based decision making.
The world wants us to be afraid.  If the media truly is satan's PR department, then this isn't surprising.  Satan wants us afraid.  Those who are afraid are cowardly in battle and do not courageously serve their Almighty King in the fight against evil.  If Jesus tells us not to be afraid, then encouraging us to ignore that command must logically be a mission by the evil spiritual world set against us.

There's a great quote in the trailer of the upcoming movie After Earth with Will Smith and his real life son Jaden Smith.  "Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice."  It seems from the trailer that the young man must set out alone on a mission in order to save himself and his father.  If he is overwhelmed with fear, he will not be able to accomplish his task and both will die.

We do face many dangers here for sure, but that does not mean we must be afraid.  We can be prudent about the danger without living our lives in fear.  We serve an Almighty King and nothing and no one has more power than He does.  We must not grant them that power over our lives.  We must not be afraid of the world if we are to carry out our mission.

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