When you read the news, it is easy to get sucked into the doom and gloom. Every page you turn we see another shortage, we see another tragedy, or politicians making decisions that are good for their career but bad for the country. If we rely only on our own rationality, it is easy to give into fear, and this is exactly what Satan wants. However, the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that we are not given “the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Don’t get me wrong. I think the world is headed toward true evil which eventually leads to the loss of Christian culture and our lives. I just don’t believe that our response to this should be fear.
Western Christianity has allowed the heathen to take control of our narrative. Every time a Christian stands up for a moral principle, they are quick with words like love, acceptance, tolerance, and my personal favorite “that’s not what Jesus would do.” Honestly, I am tired of people who don’t love, accept, or really tolerate others telling me how I should act. More importantly, why should we listen to commentary about how Jesus would act from people who don’t really know Him (academically or spiritually).
So what does this have to do with fear? Well fear is mostly generated from uncertainty. So, if Christians are made to doubt their morals, the authority of Christ, or the absolute goodness of God then fear is quick to follow. Fear always leads to one of three things: fight, flight, or freeze. All of these things are about me and self-preservation. The Bible says in both Matthew 12:29 and Mark 3:27 that unless the strong man of the house is bound, no one can enter and spoil his goods.
So how do we move past fear? First, we must rely completely on God. Not just the idea that God will take care of us, but we must have a better understanding of who He is. What will He do what will He not do? What can I absolutely count on him for?
Secondly, we have to be Jesus. Not in a catchy phrase way, but in a real practical way. Jesus was here to do the will of the Father who sent Him. We have to be here to do the same. We have to not just wait for His plan, but we must always be looking for His plan. A servant waits to be told what to do. A true son is looking to please his father. He studies the plan. He listens to the father until his plan and the father’s plan are inseparable.
With difficult times coming for Christians, the time for being ashamed of being a Christian is gone. The time to be a courageous Christian is now. As western Christians, we have been told to be humble and not to not esteem ourselves too highly. Paul even admonishes us of this. However, we must not confuse being humble with who we are and what we bring to the table with being humble about serving a mighty God.
The Bible tells us to be humble in who we are. In Philippians 3:8, Paul says “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” We are supposed to be humble about what WE bring to the table, because in the end He doesn’t really need us. But we are not supposed to be humble about who HE is.
Christians are good about saying, “Our God is an awesome God,” but then we put Him in a box through our own insecurities and false humility. As Christians we sell God short by saying things like, “If God wants me to die for the faith, I will.” However, are we also willing to say, “I will serve.” If He calls me to be a prophet with no possessions, I will do that. If He calls me to be a king, I will also do that. Don’t be afraid to let God do great things through you. God used twelve common men to change the world.
So how do we move from being fearful to being courageous sons and daughters of God? To me, the answer is love. In 1 John 4:18, the Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” And in John 15:13 it says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This sounds pretty courageous to me.
But what truly is love? Love is only an idea unless it is expressed, or love is a verb. It is an action. Love and action are inseparable. Action without love is hollow, but love without action never really exists. It was absolute love for God’s plan and His fellow man that helped Jesus be courageous at the cross. It was love for his country, culture, and people that drove David to kill Goliath. Peter was not just asked if he loved Jesus, because that was not enough. He had to also go and feed His sheep. Peter if you love me then “feed my sheep.”
True love gives us no option but to act courageously. Ask a parent who has sacrificed for a child, and they will tell you it wasn’t courageous; it was what had to be done. This is love. True love is not always going to be easy. Anyone can love someone when they are happy or enjoyable. Can you love someone when they aren’t? Will you love enough to confront someone when they are wrong? Do you love their soul more than your own comfort or even them liking you? Do you love enough to put someone before yourself? Do you admit when you are wrong and apologize? I have seen this kind of love. The wife who cares for a sick husband who can give nothing back. The spouse who admits they are wrong even when embarrassed. The person who gives something and expects nothing back except the chance to share Jesus’ love. The man who is willing to fight, sweat, bleed, and if need be, die to preserve his family, faith, and way of life. This is all courage through love.
I truly believe that we are coming on hard times. And I think we have two choices. We can either be overwhelmed by fear, or we can choose courageous love: love for God’s plan, God’s message, and God’s people. The child of God who acts in courageous love will be able to see that difficult and dangerous times are sometimes God’s way of opening doors and people’s hearts to spread His love even more.
— Written by Jeremiah