Archives For Fear

Long-time readers know Easter is one of the few times of the year I write something time-specific. My hope has always been the articles on this web site will live for years outside of any context, but be helpful to someone whenever they might come across it. Easter is special. It’s my favorite day of the year. It’s the most important day in history. Christmas may have brought God to earth in the form of a man, but it’s Easter which proved He was indeed God and provided the only way to an eternity of peace and joy in the presence of God.

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As I write this, Easter is almost a month away; when this post first publishes, Easter will have been yesterday. But the feelings I have about Easter are already about to burst from within. Truly it is good to remember at any time Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

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How might your life look different if you knew you had only thirty days to live? Pastor Craig Groeschel says you would do three things differently. First, you would turn your “when” into “now”. Second, you would trade your intentions for actions. Last, and certainly this applies only to those who are determined to be Christ’s disciples, you would devote your whole heart to Jesus.

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I agree with Mr. Groeschel. I think we recognize all these points to be worthwhile changes in our lives. If time were winding down, we’d want to make the most of it. I have news for you: time is winding down for all of us. The question then begs to be answered, “Why wouldn’t we alter our lives to affect those changes now?”

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Most are familiar with the story of Moses and the burning bush. If you grew up in church, it was one of those Sunday School lessons that tend to stick with you. Too often, the story is left in one of those Sunday School rooms, never to be examined again. Re-reading the story this week, it struck me how like Moses we all are. Before you feel too good about yourself, I’m not intending this as a compliment.

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Moses had many amazing qualities, but this was not his finest moment. God called, and Moses balked. He gave excuses why he wasn’t the right man for the assignment. He explained he wasn’t equipped for the job and asked God to send someone else. How many times have we done this when God gives us something to do?

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Reading A.W. Tozer, I was struck by a passage he wrote: “It cannot be but a major tragedy in the life of any man or woman to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear – and no heart to love!” How many of us have become content with a faith in Jesus which provides nothing more than a ticket to Heaven?

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Worse yet, how many have settled for a Christianity which makes little to no impact on the lives of those around us?  Is the life we are living worthy of what Christ endured for us on the cross?

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Whether we realize it or not, we are all suffering from a shortness of breath. Each inhale leaves us one less before we breathe our last. While this may sound morbid and depressing to some, it should not be the case for followers of Jesus. For me, the thought invokes both excitement and a sense of urgency. I have no greater desire than to be with Jesus.

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I don’t fear death and neither should you if you have placed your faith in, and pledged devotion to, Christ. Paul said to be absent from the body was to be in the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7-8). There is no fear in being surrounded by perfect love (1 John 4:18).

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Everyone wants to make a difference. We all want to live a life of significance, to live a powerful life. Why then do so many lead lives of quiet desperation? Should Christ followers even aspire to any form of greatness or recognition? Nelson Mandela said there is no passion in playing small, in living a life less than you are capable of living.

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I think Jesus would agree. He created you with a unique blend of skills and passions to do the work He designed for you to do. He created you for a reason. If Jesus is your Lord, the very Spirit of God resides within you. How then could you not live a powerful life?

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In his book, “The War of Art”, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance we face when we endeavor to become the person we were created to be. While Pressfield is most concerned with living out our artistic or entrepreneurial passions, I believe the same principles apply in our quest to utilize the unique combination of skills and passions God has instilled in each of us in order to complete the Kingdom work He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

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Resistance is defined in “The War of Art” as anything keeping us from starting or achieving the work necessary to reach our goals. While Mr. Pressfield refers to “The Resistance” as an unknown, somewhat mystical – yet very real – entity, I propose this “Resistance” is actually Satan.

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Much of our life is ruled (and ruined) by fear. We don’t take a risk for the Kingdom because we are afraid. We cower in fear over a medical diagnosis. We’re afraid to help a stranger because we fear for our own safety. We stay frozen and never move forward because we are afraid of what it might require of us or it might disrupt our comfortable pattern of life. When we strip away the pride and braggadocio, we are a fearful people.

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I have good news! For those who are followers of Jesus, fear is optional. We need not fear anything. God is the embodiment of love, and the Bible tells us perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). In other words, whenever we are fearful, it is because we have chosen to be afraid.
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“Walk by faith, not by sight” is an old saying in church circles. I recently heard Pastor Steven Furtick put an interesting twist on this. He said, “If you walk by faith and not by sight, you’ll always hear something from God before you see any evidence of it.” Most of the time, the things we hear from God seem a little crazy.

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The promptings of the Holy Spirit are often potentially dangerous, defy social norms, or push us way out of our comfort zone. We have to choose to either obey God (walk by faith) or ignore him and go our own way (walk by sight).
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Josh Husmann, pastor at Mercy Road Church in Indianapolis, recently made the point that, “Your faith is most contagious when it is fully alive.” Dormant faith rarely spreads. If we aren’t living in such a way that our faith drives everything we do, we will struggle to be effective witnesses for Jesus.

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When we are fully engaged in our faith, our lives take on an irresistible glow, a fire that is visible to all those with whom we come into contact. We all want a faith that is fully alive, but the struggles of our own doubts and insecurities leave our faith simmering just below the surface. It’s time to let it explode. It’s time we unleashed our faith into the world.
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