I suppose every pastor has a certain number of “fear-dominated” parishioners. I’m thankful that in my current church there seems to be very few but I know the malady can be debilitating and destructive to gospel living. Christians ought not to be dominated by fear but by hope–an overwhelming hope, no matter what is or isn’t going on around us.
Christian hope is not dependent on circumstances but on the truth of a resurrected Lord who promises to never leave us, never forsake us, who is preparing a place for us, and coming back for us that we may ever be with Him who is love personified and powerful and sovereign over every situation.
“Fear is not a Christian habit of mind,” as
author Marilynne Robinson put it.
And she is right.
Or at least, she should be right, but increasingly some Christians, some Christian leaders have been spinning out fear for the flock of America. That ought not to be. We are a people of hope. We are a people of joy. And we should, we must, cultivate those two character traits every day.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loves us.”
.(1 John 4:18-19)
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have recieved a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!'”
….. (Romans 8:15)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.”
……. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Jesus is alive. Death has no sting. Our debt has been paid. We will live with the greatest lover in the Universe for all of time. With the apostle Paul, preach the gospel to your own soul every day and “Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I say, Rejoice. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5)
Don’t forget that.