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No Fear

November 30, 2012

I apologize for my lack of blog posts lately.  I tend to write blog posts on the whim, and I have not had many whims lately.  Strangely I have not had any blogging whims about my pregnancy, which is going well, by the way- 3 weeks till due date!  Maybe facebook status-ing is distracting me from actually writing in full here on the blog.  In any case, this post is similar to my previous one in that it is a result of some of my routine study of the Bible and thinking/discussing/praying about it. I had tea (and pumpkin bread!) with my Czech friend and sister in Christ, Eva, the other day, and she was very encouraging.  Our discussion sparked many of these thoughts, which have been formulating for some time.

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I have been fearing God as Judge, and indeed he is a judge.  But I have been fearing him as the strong, fearsome judge over the ancient nation of Israel which rejected him countless times even after he showed them kindness countless times. (As read in the Old Testament).  Yet, I am not the nation the Israel, and I just realized that means I am experiencing God differently.  I still respect God’s legitimate wrath and I repent of my sin, indeed I must because God is holy.  But I am an individual Christian, covered by the blood of Jesus (not a nation of people repeatedly rebelling against God as a group).  So when God, my Heavenly Father, looks on me he is filled with love for me – he is not ashamed of me.  God loves me and looks kindly upon me, and so I need not approach Him with a spirit of fear.  I can operate in joy and confidence.  God loves me!

“There therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by who we cry Abba, Father!”  (Romans 8:1, 15)

I am a daughter of God– the perfect Father who loves me, perfectly.

Why has this basic theological truth struck me as profound recently?

I come from a Christian tradition that rightly emphasizes the whole character of God– he is not just a God who loves by showing grace for sinners, he is also a judge that punishes unrepentant sinners.  We don’t dissect the “judgement” parts out of the Bible, instead we seek to understand God better as a whole.

But there are legions of Christians that live in fear, anxiety, and judgmental attitudes towards themselves, each other, and non-Christians because their knowledge that God is judge is predominant in their mind and heart.  They know the God of grace in their mind too, but this knowledge does not control their heart as strongly. (And of course Satan wants it that way).  God’s love is an acknowledged belief, but not a controlling belief.

And so out of fear these Christians seek to manipulate each other and force repentance out of each other.  We do not let God saturate our hearts with his love, and so there is less love to give to both Christians and non-Christians.  We show judgement first instead of grace.  But ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’!!

Not only do these Christians desire to control each other, they seek to control truth, which is ridiculous because truth is God and God is not controllable.  Our personal confidence should not be placed in our ability to define truth, our confidence should be placed in the love of God.  There are nuances to truth, puzzles pieces that can only be put together 100% by God.  So why live in fear of gray areas by trying to make them black or white? Yes, discuss them and seek the black or white, but don’t let this trump love.

Worst of all, these Christians — and I have been one of them — don’t experience the joy of knowing God’s love even though they have already turned away from sin.  They have professed faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, but they don’t love themselves as God loves them.  They don’t really accept his love and forgiveness.  They condemn themselves daily for a thousand normal imperfections.  And all the while God is there saying– “Child, I love you.  Would you accept that, forgive yourself, let go of your need to be perfect (Jesus was perfect for you!), and enjoy being with me, your Father?  Will you trust that I am making you a better person?”

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Will we listen to this voice?  As my friend Eva said, are we not hearing God’s voice because we are listening for condemnation when he wants to tell us of his saving love?

Are we willing to let go of control over our lives, stop living in fear, and just bask in the love of God?

I am just beginning to, although I have been a Christian for about 12 years now.  Will you join me?

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