Fear makes a liar out of each of us. In both big and small ways, fear causes us to fall short of pursuing and fulfilling God’s promise for us. (In Greek, the word sin, αμαρτία, literally means “to miss the mark,” so I don’t see sin as something that breaks us, but rather simply separates us from our true selves…just like it separated Adam and Eve from God.) Fear stops us from following God’s calling for us. Think of the Denial of Peter – Jesus knew Peter would deny him three times out of fear of being associated with Christ. We’re often shocked by this, but would you be strong enough to act differently? DO you act differently? Each time you give into fear and ignore God’s call to you, you’re denying him and the power he has over the world.
Alabama native and U.S. Civil Rights leader Ralph Abernathy was known to say, “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.” No matter what, life is in God’s hands and that’s the ultimate comfort. Jeremiah 29:11 highlights this: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Remember Christ came into the world to save all people, and in giving his life, Christ overcame the world. Not just some of the world, but THE WHOLE WORLD – that includes monsters under the bed, getting to know new people, standing up for your rights, sharks, divorce, being a bad parent, not having enough – all of those fears have been beaten. With that in mind, what do we have to fear if the scariest of things have been conquered?
Tonight marks the beginning of Great Lent, a period of time where 260 million Orthodox Christians around the world focus on fasting, prayer, giving and learning in preparation for Christ’s resurrection. And although pop culture has made the notion of “fasting” trendy, we fast from worldly items and behaviors to increase our dependence on God.
That’s where this post comes in. I’m giving up fear. If I choose not to listen to fear, I force myself to put all my being into God’s hands. Any sinner will tell you, the more you sin the easier it becomes. Well, I know the same is true for the opposite. The more I ignore fear, the easier it will become to ignore fear.
I’ll keep a running log of how these next 40 days go and I’d love to hear your successes and your challenges, too. We believe that where two or more are gathered, God will grant their requests. If this appeals to you, join me as we work to be more dependent on God’s will for us.