Sunday, January 9, 2011

Courage vs. Fear in the New Year

"Fear is the mind killer." - Dune

Photo: By Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." -2 Timothy 1:7

In our day and age, especially in the Washington DC area, fear is an extremely powerful emotion. Fear can drive us to our automatic “fight or flight responses” that are designed to protect us. Fear can also paralyze us so that we cannot “move,” make decisions, or live “normally” or healthily. Fear can cripple us relationally and professionally. Fear can lead us away from boldly making intentional and well thought out decisions. Fear can send us running in the wrong direction, or in all directions, aimlessly, and unintentionally. Fear is deadly and must be dealt with.

A well known minister of the gospel and author A.W. Tozer said, “The prevailing attitudes of fear, distrust and unrest permeating our world are known to all of us. But in God's plan some of us also know a beautiful opposite: the faith and assurance found in the church of Jesus Christ. God still has a restful ‘family’ in His church." Tozer recognized, even in his day, the power of fear and its default position in our lives. He also recognized that God’s church is to be different. God’s people are to be the “beautiful opposite” of fear. The church is to be faithful, assured, and restful as God’s family.

The scriptures teach us so much about fear. We are instructed many times by God not to fear and it is clear from scripture that fear is not of the Lord. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul instructs Timothy that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but has given us the Spirit of power, love, and of sound mind. This is God’s will and the result of God’s Spirit at work in His church. God’s design is that the believer not be fearful but that they are powerful, loving, and of sound mind.

As we enter into a new year, would we be courageous as God’s church. Would we be “beautifully opposite” of fear and live faithful, assured, and restful lives that are filled with power, love, and of sound mind as we live as God’s family. May we, as Tozer put it, “Only fear being out of the will of God.”

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