You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
James 2:19 NKJV
I deliberated what to use as the “featured” image for this post. All of us fear something. Even the toughest-looking biker harbours fears in his heart. The toughest warrior is scared of something.
It’s in our nature.
Without fear, there can be no courage. Courage is that part of our nature that feels the fear, but gets on and does what needs to be done anyway.
My fear has always been losing the ones I love. The small freak in the picture is my younger brother, Robin. It was taken in late 1984. A few months before he took a right turn on a bike and changed a lot of lives forever by losing his own. But he wasn’t my first loss. My dad’s sister died in 1981, killed in a house fire in London.
So I fear losing the people who matter to me.
For a long time I dealt with this by not letting anyone get close. I hardened my heart and refused to allow myself to care about anyone. Or so I kidded myself.
I’ve recently realised there were people in my teenage years that I actually did care about. Some of them have – courtesy of Facebook – come back into my life in the last ten years or so.
I now find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to deal with fears from my teenage years that I didn’t let myself feel then, as well as the new fears that come with developing relationships as a 40+ adult.
So I do the only thing I know that genuinely works.
I lean on God.
Yep, it sounds trite to me too. But it’s what I do, and it works.
There’s a lot in this world we can’t control. But believing God isn’t one of them.
And yes, I didn’t say believing in God. Most people on this planet believe “in” God. It’s why Satan has been able to twist hearts and minds with false religions and idols. We are designed to worship, and even the most ardent atheist worships something. They just use a different label to describe their actions.
But believing in God and believing God are completely different.
Satan believes God – and it terrifies him.
Abraham believed God and Isaac was delivered from death.
David believed God’s promises and consequently he killed Goliath.
Joseph believed God’s promises and despite going from pit to slave to dungeon he held fast to the promises and saved Egypt and his own brothers who had sold him into slavery.
Josiah believed God and saw revival in Israel.
Esther believed God and spoke to the king, saving the Israelites.
Samson, even though he’d faltered, believed God at the end and saved his people.
Mary believed God, and we all got Jesus as a result.
They all overcame fear to believe God. Abraham had only one son, David was a youth not a warrior, Joseph was an imprisoned slave, Josiah was a child, Esther faced death for approaching the king, Samson had to face his own failure, and Mary could have been murdered for believing God.
Believing God is scary. Dave Duell used to say “if your dreams don’t wake you up at night, you’re not dreaming big enough!”
My dreams stop me getting to sleep.
My dream for this ministry is to help the people these words have touched in more than words. My brothers in Kenya who have to worship under a tree because they have no money even for a tent. In Myanmar and Pakistan who meet in secret so they don’t get killed for speaking out loud what I take for granted.
My friends in America who are scared to describe themselves as “evangelicals” since November 9th 2017, and more who are accused of “hate speech” for simply speaking the Gospel as it has been written and settled for 2000 years.
At a time where “fake news” is anything that disagrees with the US President, we all should have some fear.
But we must face that fear and speak out the Truth.
“People will ·put you out of [ban you from] their synagogues. Yes, ·the time [ an hour; an indefinite reference to a future time but likely connected to the period after the death and resurrection of Christ] is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering ·service [worship] to God. They will do this because they have not known the Father and they have not known me.”
John 16:2-3 Expanded Bible
Make no mistake, in Germany after Hitler took power telling the Truth got preachers sent to Dachau and Auschwitz alongside the Jews. How long is it going to be before Guantanamo Bay starts getting preachers who dare to speak out? The holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers. It started with travel restrictions and registration based on religious views.
Some fear is warranted, based on history.
But we must face that fear. The Truth must be spoken.
“Humanists” in England tried to stop Andrew Wommack being allowed to speak at a Christian event a couple of years ago because he dared to say what the Bible says about sexual immorality in general, and homosexuality in particular – it’s sin. I’ve listened to a lot of Andrew’s teaching, and he does say that. Mind you, so did St Paul. Both of them also teach against greed, selfishness, idolatry and all the other things listed as things that drive a wedge between us and God, and the path back being through Christ.
But there’s something about sex that’s different. Even Paul noted it:
“Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.”
1 Corinthians 6:18 Amplified
I hate summer. It brings temptations every year that make fleeing thoughts very difficult. Clothing gets smaller, sometimes to the point where you have to wonder why it’s being worn at all. My wife and I hope to have a baby in the next year or two, and I fear the world they will grow up in given the current trend.
But it’s time to face our fears.
I’ve not counted myself, but I’m told “don’t be afraid” or something meaning the same is spoken 366 times in the Bible. It’s a nice concept, but whether there is one for every day of the year, even in a leap year, or not all it took for Peter to walk on water was one word. A sentence should be enough for any of us!
In the last 12 months the world has changed completely. America had to choose between two candidates who were unsuitable for the office. Britain chose to leave the EU by a narrow margin. Globally racial intolerance is becoming “acceptable”.
There’s certainly enough to fear.
But God is bigger than the hate that pours out of the mouths of politicians and their drones.
As Christians we need to focus on Christ, not the rhetoric in the media. We need to reconcile in ourselves that there is a big difference between the action and the person. The thief on the cross faced his fear of rejection and was rewarded with Eternal Life. Jesus didn’t see his sin – He saw the man’s value to His Father.
We are called to do the same. If your answer to abortion involves killing the doctors who carry it out, you’re missing your own point. God doesn’t hate homosexuals, but the Bible is clear about homosexuality. Too many people on both sides fail to differentiate between the behaviour and the person. The sin and the sinner.
We fear the sin. As if somehow someone else’s behaviour contaminates us. But Jesus hung around with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors without becoming one Himself.
Time to face down the fear. It has no hold on us any more.