Fearful or Fearless?
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” – Revelation 1:17-18
For church people, it can be easy enough to understand what the Bible tells us not to do. We avoid—or at least know we should avoid—gossip, lying, jealousy, drunkenness, sexual immorality, greed, etc., but we often fail to grasp the most spoken command in the Bible – “Do not be afraid.” Why is it then that Christians are some of the most fearful people I know? Why is it that Christians are worrying about this, that, or the other?
As a pastor, I am continuously interested in what the world perceives Christians to be for or against, because that is how they define us. If you were to ask the average non-Christian American today what Christians are all about, they would generally tell you we are against the “sins” listed above. You may get someone who believes Christians to be for the poor, the hurting, those in jail, the orphan, the widow; but it is much more likely to be known for what we are against.
The world right now is afraid. It is afraid of Covid-19, the election, the protests, the economy, culture, businesses being burned down and lost, boycotts, cancel culture, politics, our rights being taken away, health, safety, and so many other things. This is to be expected from the world—they don’t have an unshakeable faith or a firm foundation. But we do, and yet Christians are all talking about these same issues in the same ways as the world around us.
What if we took Jesus seriously? What if we realized that, while the world around us is at times difficult and even scary, we don’t have to fear our circumstances because Jesus is alive and He holds the keys of death and Hades? What if we, the big “C” Church, stood against the spirit of fear that so permeates our culture and stood upon the firm foundation of faith that we have been given? What if we were recognized more for our fearlessness than for our fear?
By being a people who were fearless while the world melted down around us in fear, the power of the gospel message to a fearful and dying world would be immensely powerful. We have an opportunity to bring God glory right now. Let’s not squander that by being fearful, and instead let us stand firm in Jesus Christ.
What if we were known for being fearless because of our faith? Remember, Jesus is alive and that changes everything.