I listened recently to commentary regarding the week in UK politics, this comment is with the back drop of the coming elections. Running down the days to when a nation decides the shape of its government for the next 4 years. The commentator announced that we had experienced a week in electioneering as a week of fear mongering, fear of what would take place if this political party or that party got their hands on the economy, fear in voting for another party and losing the Health Service, fear with this one and fear with that one, what ever party painting a fear on the voting faithful. It seems they were all trying to win votes, in truth they were cultivating a fear and the nations worst fears to gain, negative really. You may be one of the listeners and think you feel nothing but all these words are adding to our international concern regarding security, concerns on immigration, worry of radical attacks in our streets, all we hear is really is cultivating the attitudes and dispositions of people – FEAR…
It was said that during the war years, WWII, with nations attacking Berlin bombing in the day time, bombing at night, a strategy which did not allow people to settle, to find any peace or a rhythm to life, a life of fear rather, fraying the nerves of the people, even the strong hearted person. All to do with producing a certain emotion and fear in people, hoping to bring a nation to its knees.
Today we only have to look at nations events and hear nations heads declaring, after an fearful onslaught, “we will not bow”, “we will not give in”.
You and I of the household of God are those who have to withstand the fear moulding, for we are to be a blessed people in order to be a blessing not those living under a siege mentality, or are fearful, even down to the fear of becoming religious, a form of godliness with out life, a gospel that says much but delivers little.
We end up with a siege message if we take hold of fear, fear of being overtaken by secularism, fear of the church losing its ground, losing its position in the nation.
Many young men and women will admit that they are weary of the churches having the need to fight a losing battle against the secularization of culture. Weary of sermons and magazine articles sounding a “clarion call” to faithfulness, or scolding readers about the dangers of various “slippery slopes.”
What has happened?
We have become part of a fear movement it seems it captures us, stints our confidence, undermines creativity if we are not careful rather than holing on to Gods’ promises and goal, which God will be fulfil completing the task ordained through a glorious church, a body that is commensurate to the head.
It has been reported that, “Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political.
One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.”
What is happening here? Announcing the problem as immaturity or even saying that they are a disloyal people group, (which I don’t agree with), of young people might be a natural response, Dietrich Bonhoeffer opened a letter that stated “It always seems to me…that we leave room for God only out of anxiety.”
Only out of anxiety?
Is commonplace fear really the main reason we cling to God?
If we’re honest with ourselves, it seems many people, even leadership just don’t gathering as the body of Christ, the church to be obedient, to empty oneself before the Father, to sing and make melody to the Lord of all the earth or to commune with his people. We’re there for a spiritual pick-me-up to get us through the working week ahead, or to get us out of a ’hell’ of a week last week and for some we just have to be there.
Do you and I gather because we fear being without God in a world that’s leaving us behind?
The political commentators are announcing and we find fear looking at the economy and our own money, some fearful with the lack of available homes, possible failure in work, this list can be long. We fear the changing of government, the fear of being invaded by laws, social concerns. We fear persecution in society. We fear the weather. We fear being alone. We fear losing the life to which we’ve grown accustomed.
I have noted that this that the younger generation can sense or perhaps ‘smell’ this fear as soon they step into a Sunday morning, especially if it’s coming from the preaching and teaching or songs etc.
We all are aware that a life lived in fear is far from the abundant, you and I have been introduced to a life, a promise of life and life more abundantly….? If we are living in fear, we send a message that we don’t feel secure in the love of the all-powerful God. If we panic at the demise of our life style, how would we stand in the midst of actual persecution?
Are we crippled by anxiety when finances change or for some giving declines, what if God calls us to voluntary poverty?
I know many that are in real challenge with family health, financial challenge, it is a real wonder as they go deeper into God holding on to their trust in God in these times and people do it rather than being overcome, let these individuals, families, couples inspire us.
People especially youth do notice when we show a lack of trust in God.
My oldest daughter inspired me recently in resigning a lucrative employment in education in the UK, stepping out to make a difference without secure support, just wanting to take the love of Jesus to people in Africa, to make a difference rather that let fear govern her financially or where and who she should live with. I am sure we can all tell of some one that has let go and trusted God.
Peter of the scriptures speaks to the disciples of Jesus, “Do not fear what they fear!” and there was much around Peter’s day to cause fears that were debilitating.
Paul challenges the fears around us: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We are to join those down the ages and those who live in midst of lack or challenge and we must live declaring “God’s people must not give in to fear”.
Bonhoeffer’s letter, which I referred to earlier suggests a way of living “I’d like to speak of God not at the boundaries but in the center, not in weakness but in strength, thus not in death and guilt but in human life and human goodness.”
God wants each of us in our place, in our condition, in our life to live life “to the full.” A life of thankfulness to, and trust in, God which means leaving the outcomes with God.
Let the world around us the world of anxiety around us sense a quiet strength of trust not fear, when trust is around you and me we aren’t constantly calculating and worrying, they will ask the reason for the hope that’s within us.
This way of life will assist so we are aware of not only what we say, but how we say it.
Avoid using a fear of the future, unknown, people of different backgrounds or ideologies to bring about conformity
Prevent, stop right now making apocalyptic statements in our conversion, from our teaching forums when we speak about political, social, and economic problems as this does not point people toward Christ.
Tell, speak, preach, teach of Christ as God Incarnate and Christ as the Crucified One, about the God who will put an end to the darkness and brokenness of this world.
It is the love of Christ, which drives out fear. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Ps 56:3 NRSV).
No better way than to close my thoughts with Bonhoeffer words “The Bible, the gospel, Christ, the church, the faith—all are one great battle cry against fear in the lives of human beings.”
Raise your battle cry and overcome the fear molding of our lives LIFE ABUNDANTLY…