The Foe Named Fear
Hillsong's popular praise and worship song, "Forever Reign," speaks to a growing issue in our society. That issue? Fear. Fear of the future, fear for our safety, fear for our society, just fear. It's everywhere.
The song lyrics say, that "He is light... when the darkness closes in," and that He "is peace... when our fear is crippling." This echoes the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34 where we are exhorted to "not worry about tomorrow" or what we will eat, or wear, or any other thing. That assurance that God has us and is working on our behalf if what enables the Christian to walk through that fear with His rod & staff to guide us.
In both the song and the scripture, we see an overwhelming statement that points to our ability to trust God to carry us through our fears and safely to the other side. God is our protector and our defender. We do not need to fear. Romans 8:28 promises that all things will work out for good in the end, even the bad things, because everything eventually ends up in front of the throne where all wrongs will be righted.
Even the Rabbi Sha-ul (Paul) of Tarshish, when he wrote to the church in Philippi, said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake"
This is Paul's ultimate reminder that even the worst that the world can do to us, to kill us, is ultimately gain for us as we will be with Christ and all of our wrongs will be made right and we will no longer suffer pain, sadness, sickness, or any of the other curses of sin. So why then do we fear? Because we are conditioned to.
It is our sin nature and a humanistic society that tells us to fear. We even make movies for the express purpose of being scared. It's a response to modern life and the stressors that we have created. Yet the issue is that when we live in fear, we cannot be to the world who and what we are supposed to be, the reflection of Yeshua (Jesus) and his ministry here on this Earth.
When we live in fear, we fail to speak out, to tell others about Him, to offer His blessings and wisdom to a world so desperately in need of it; and the enemy is laughing and gleeful, knowing that he has paralyzed the Church by paralyzing its people. And the more we give in to fear, the easier it is to fear. It becomes a self perpetuating cycle that spins us down and down and down into places where we were never intended to be.
So how do we get out of it? How do we stop living in fear? We begin to trust, read, and pray. I daresay that much of the non mental health related fear comes from a lack on our part in one of the above categories. And yet, therein lies the wonderful news, we don't have to live in fear if we don't choose to. We have the keys to be free of it in Christ. All we have to do is use them, and watch as he brings shalom (ultimate peace) into our lives through His Holy Spirit.