fear

Standing Firm In A Climate Of Fear

Nathan Smith Christian Maturity, Faith, Uncategorized

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All of our hearts have been broken by what we have seen over that past few weeks with the tragedy of the south Florida school shooting and then with the passing of the greatest Evangelist of the modern era, Rev. Billy Graham.  We grieve for different reasons in each circumstance and our sorrow and pain lead us to the next natural question… what now?  What are we supposed to do to help secure our children and allow them to go to school in peace and with confidence?  Who will our nation turn to and how will we respond to the void of security and leadership that Billy Graham’s presence brought to our country? All of these are valid questions and we must pray for clear direction. However, what I feel to address is the overarching climate of fear that I have sensed growing in our nation.  Fear is cruel task master and we must be careful not to submit to its demands.  But how?

Fear always wants to take control. It never just hangs around like some nagging house fly buzzing in the window blinds. It wants to write its name on the deed and completely take over.  The challenge is that we often fight fear with more fear.  Much like fighting a forrest fire with lighter fluid, this only makes things worse.  We are afraid of what is going to happen so we make decisions in fear which creates even more uncertainty, which produces more fear, etc… This is the enemy’s plan. He wants to get us into a mindset of fear to where even our solutions are fear-based.  This ensures that the climate itself is infused with fear.  Much like a smoke-filled room it keeps everyone from being able to find the way out. (Click Here To Read ‘Dodging The Grapes of Wrath’)

Some of us respond to scary situations with a more aggressive approach to fear.  For example, perhaps you are afraid of being overlooked or being lonely so, motivated by fear, you overreach and try so hard to be recognized that you ultimately drive people away.  Of course, this produces the exact result you were afraid of to begin with so you push even harder.  And, of course, that yields the same results except now you feel even more defeated and empty.  The other side of the equation is when we respond to scary circumstances by shrinking back and shutting down because of our fear.  You go to the same party as the last guy but instead of pushing hard to be noticed you disappear into the background and hide.  However, you start to feel lost and forgotten because no one tries to know you.  But, of course, they didn’t notice you because you were hiding. These examples demonstrate how fear begets fearful responses which yields greater levels of fear. In a climate of fear where masses of people clamor in despair, bad things are bound to happen.  So what do we do to fight it? (Click Here To Read ‘You Worship What You Fear’)

Keep Your Love On

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying ‘no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.’  Fearful responses to scary circumstances come from the same level of consciousness.  Our response to fear must be courageous but it must go beyond courage.  Our response to fear must be confident but it must go beyond confidence.  Fear can play no role in our motivation to combatting fear.  The only solution to fear is love.  Fear tries to control, love sets free.  Fear tries to manipulate, love protects and respects.  Fear tries to reduce and lessen, love builds up and encourages.  Truly, as the Bible says in I John 4:18, ‘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.’ The only response to fear that will win the day and be effective in the short and long-term, is love.  But what does that look like?

My last post was called ‘What You Focus On Draws You In’ and in many ways this is a continuation of that idea.  The more we focus on the thing that scares us the more our response will be motivated by fear.  However, the more we focus on the thing or person we love, the more our response will be motivated in kind.  If we fear for the void of leadership left by Billy Graham we will give up in despair.  If we love the man and what he meant to our nation we will do the things he did with joyful, expectant hope of the great thing God will do next.  If we fear for our children and never allow them to go to school again we will have our freedom ripped away from us.  If we love the children, teachers and administrators who have suffered so much through this most recent tragedy we may find ourselves volunteering at our own schools more and finding ways to engender hope and courage in our own communities.  One is motivated by fear the other by love.

We have no guarantees in life, save death and taxes (to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin).  We can never be assured we won’t face difficult events or horrible challenges.  But we can choose how we will respond to those things.  Don’t fight fear with fear.  Fall into the loving arms of the Savior, Jesus the Messiah.  He is for you and not against you.  As you do, you will find a love that will give you what it takes to stand strong in the face of fear. (Click Here To Read ‘What Is Your Response-Ability?’)

From the Bible:

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. – I John 4:18 NIV 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27 NIV 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4 NIV

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