Is it just me, or does it seem like Christians are scared of everything?
I was on Facebook the other day and saw a conversation that has me thinking. A friend of mine posted a link to a book. The caption to his link said, “I want to read this book. Has anyone read it?”
And The flood of comments that followed were about how this book might steer him away from the truth of the Bible.
I understood the sentiment, to a certain extent, and despite the fact that I didn’t know a single one of his commenters in real life, I can easily assume that none of them meant any harm. In fact, I’m fairly certain they were trying to do the right thing. I could identify with them.
I’ve done the same thing before, cautioned people against places or things that I was worried would hurt them.
But it got me thinking about a deeper issue. What are Christians so afraid of?
What am I so afraid of?
It isn’t just books that get Christians really freaked out. We take pretty much any excuse to get our panties in a bunch. We’re scared to celebrate the wrong holidays, to date or marry the wrong person, scared to talk about sex or alcohol or anything that might lead us to stumble.
We’re scared to watch the wrong movies, scared to elect the wrong politician, scared to enjoy anything “secular” that we might fall into the traps of culture.
And I get it. I’m probably the worst at this. But lately I’ve been feeling really convicted.
I must think really highly of myself. What am I so afraid of?
There has to be a difference between conviction and fear. Doesn’t there? Because what I’m not suggesting is that Christians should live without convictions. The problem is, I know from my own experience that sometimes the difference between conviction and fear can be really hard to discern. Which one is driving my decisions? Which one is dictating the advice I give?
Conviction? Or fear?
The Bible talks about fear more than just about anything else, and Jesus talks about it most of all. It makes sense. We live in a scary world. There’s a lot to be afraid of. Every day people are dying or getting Cancer or suffering a broken heart from a relationship or a church or a job gone wrong.
I have lots of friends who have fallen into the “traps” of culture, and lost sight of what is really important in life.
I’ve done that myself.
And yet — God still commands us to “fear not.” He doesn’t suggest it. He commands it. In fact, from what I can tell, the command is in the Bible nearly 400 times (I’m not totally certain about that statistic. I was having a hard time verifying the information. Maybe someone who knows can jump in and help me?) Either way, the Bible has a lot to say about fear. One of my favorites goes like this:
Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
Fear is really unattractive.
People who are controlled by fear spend their whole lives being against things. They often miss out on opportunities or experiences that are really good because they’ll only engage with “good” if there is no chance of “bad.” The problem is there are very few (if any) opportunities for good without bad — at least not this side of heaven.
When I look back on seasons of my life that were dictated by fear, I feel embarrassed. I think about how I acted when I was scared i wouldn’t get married, scared I would be rejected, scared I didn’t have anything valuable to offer. Those are just a few examples.
I made really bad decisions, and I missed out on what God had for me.
Fear doesn’t protect us like we think it does.
While conviction brings clarity, fear clouds our vision. Fear is a natural response to danger, so we think that we’re doing ourselves a favor. We figure this is the way to protect ourselves, and our children. But fear doesn’t protect us. If it did, why would God command us against it? He is our defender, our protector.
Are you living controlled by fear, or are you living by your conviction? To reply, click HERE.