Seems like just the other day a professor uttered the memorable little sentence, “Fellas chances are good you will not be saying a whole lot in your ministry that folks haven’t heard before.” Obviously he wasn’t aware of how super smart I was! (the nerve!) He had also made the terrible mistake of failing to realize how extraordinary the little group of preachers he was blessed to be instructing really were. (Yes…a humble confession of arrogance and pride…which, ironically is Sin #4…go figure) 🙂
The professor’s prophetic accuracy is worthy of praise and adoration. I humbly admit he called this one. This particular blog is a textbook case-in-point. Every Christian from here to Timbuktu knows we are not to fear or worry. The Old Testament is loaded with “do not fear/do not be afraid” references and the New Testament picks up the same theme and runs with it…with bells on. Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount not to worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34). Paul told Timothy, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim 1:7) Cockrell quoted 1 John 4:18 which is as straightforward as any verse in the Bible. John writes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Sounds so simple…and I bet you already knew it…again, this is not new.
The truth is fear and worry are about as common as breathing itself. Another truth is that fear and worry impact us in every way imaginable. Maxie Dunnam says, “Fear is one of the most debilitating emotions known to the human race. It is unbelievably powerful. It penetrates the heart, poisons the spirit, and paralyzes the soul. It can affect you not only emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; but it can even affect you physically.” I wish I could say I was a Jedi at not worrying and not being afraid. Oh I could say it…but it wouldn’t be the truth. I struggle in this area. I always have. I have to believe I’m not alone in this.
I’m sure some would say this is “normal” and certainly not worthy of the “sin” title…at least not a really big sin. Cockrell stated in her introduction that this list was compiled of sins “we can’t afford to ignore any longer.” Why is this true? In short, it’s tied to faith itself. Go back to 1 John 4:18 for a moment. John’s point is that we are loved by God…He loves us fully and perfectly. And if we allow fear to set up camp in our lives, then John says we have not been perfected in love. Ouch.
The Gospel highlights God’s love and care for His children. Jesus dying on a cross for us in love is “love beyond degree.” We are not to doubt this…and that is Cockrell’s thought-provoking point. Fear and worry attack our faith with a vengeance. Weakened faith weakens Christians. The seriousness of this is evident.
Life and circumstances will undoubtedly create moments of fear and worry in all of us. But as Christians we have been assured that someone greater than we can possibly imagine loves us. He’s proven that love over and over. Our world is fallen and chaotic on its best day. But God’s love remains steadfast and assured. May God help us not to lose sight of this. We trust Him with our lives now AND our eternal destinies…and NO ONE is more trustworthy than our Creator and Sustainer God who really does love us. As our trust deepens our fears and worries lose their grip.
I offer this to encourage you…but I must confess I’m preaching it to myself.
Blessings to all. Thanks again Monticello. 🙂