… I just don’t see anything negating fear other than that which looks like the kingdom of God and the way of love. We read Hebrews 2 last night at our Sunday night gathering. The author writes that Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection came to
free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
John notes in his letter that
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how we have confidence when we are judged: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he loves us first.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,
flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable… when the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
So many things we put our hope in foster fear.
– Governments use fear all the time… and not just on a national scale, but on a global scale
– Our commercial, consumer economic system keeps us in fear
– Our need to stay young causes fear
– Our need for safety causes fear
– Isolation, individualism, depression, anger, retaliation… all results of this deep fear
We are a fearful people in a fearful country in a fearful world. We put our hope and spend so much time in this realm of the perishable. It is as though we have these deep needs and we try to fill them with things that will fade. What happens when the perishable fades? Its death. The reason why death hurts is because of sin… that seeking to fulfill our deepest needs with that which fades. We move beyond this fearful existence when we become those that look like Jesus. We “clothe” ourselves with his image.
This is more than an affirmation… I feel like it is more than an adherence to certain doctrines… maybe even more than what we traditionally consider “Christian.” It comes down to looking like Jesus in all areas of our living, loving, breathing, serving, and sacrificing. When our hope is here, we have no fear. No fear. This does not pass away like the shifting of governments, economics, disasters, relationships, and so much more. All these things will come and go like the tide… like the fog. People will always be divided over these things. The republicans will not be able to love the democrats, the socialists will not be able to love the commercialists, the rich will not be able to love the poor, and on and on. We will live in fear until we live the kingdom of God. Where there is fear there is not love.
And so, no, I don’t want people to be afraid. It hurts me so much to think of this world in its fear and desperation. We must… we MUST be a light in this dark place. Face to face, heart to heart, breath to breath, and stride by stride as we walk, live, and serve together in love.