Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The only thing we have to fear is fear...

...and yet we live in fear. Parents fear that something is going to happen to their children. Children fear that something is going to happen to their family. Democrats and Republicans both fear that the other party is going to win the White House. Christians on the right fear losing the "culture war". Christians on the left fear the right being an influence. Some fear being deprived of their freedoms, others fear the influence of "the world". Ministers fear that their ministries will fail.
We fear the future, and we fear the results of past actions. At some level, we all fear failure. We don't want to not measure up, to not please God.

I've been reading Following Jesus by N.T. Wright and Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson, and one of the things they both emphasize is that fear is not to be a part of the Christian's life. We are children of the God who raised Jesus from the dead. The fact that Jesus is raised from the dead changes everything. It means that God is in control, that no matter what happens, God is making all things right. His Kingdom is coming and His will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are also children of a God who has loved us with an everlasting love, and has shown us an infinite amount of grace. Because of this love and grace, we can be sure of the promise that God will work everything out for the purpose of making us into the image of Jesus. The Apostle John tells us that this perfect love drives out fear. God's grace is free and is inexhaustible. There is nothing we can do to earn God's favor and there is nothing we can do to drive His favor away.

Think about it. We don't have to live in fear. The resurrection of Jesus and the grace God has shown us mean that God is going to work in us and all of His children. We don't have to worry when our spiritual growth is not where we think it should be, or when someone else's growth is not where we think it should be. We can live freely, knowing that our Father loves us and takes everything in our lives and works in and through that. Even when we screw up, God's grace is still ours and His Spirit is still working.

I want to live a life that is free of fear. I want to totally depend on God's grace and His resurrection power. I want to sin boldly and trust God even more boldly, to paraphrase Martin Luther.


Nathan said...

Great post. Of course I like Wright, and Peterson is so wise.

I think we are certainly a fear driven's everywhere and when Christians get caught up in that...there is this reactionary tendency that isn't good.

Anyway good thoughts.


re:patrick said...

Great points. I totally agree.

It is a sad cycle and a very anti-Christian mind set. God has redeem us and is working through us to redeem the world--we should be excited and hopeful, not living this doom and gloom isolationism that I see Christianity embracing.

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