Fear of what could be, what may be, and what is likely to be, keeps many believers from contending for the faith. The devil is good at stoking fear and uncertainty, and every once in a while, you will hear a story of a pastor getting arrested or a grandma getting interrogated by federal agencies for the high crime of praying in front of an abortion clinic. Murderers and thieves can wait; we have real criminals to contend with!
It’s no accident that anything virtuous, moral, wholesome, or traditional is demonized to a degree heretofore unseen since perhaps the days of the apostles. If you are a follower of Christ, in the world’s eyes, you are, by virtue of your association with Him, a second-class citizen. Those who study history recognize the pattern and know what’s coming next. It can’t happen all in one fell swoop; Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, but if you can manage to single out a particular class of individuals, isolate them, vilify them, demonize them, and dehumanize them, you can do pretty much anything to them, and no one will bat an eye.
I know what you’re thinking: this was supposed to be an encouragement to contend for the faith, but instead, you’re bumming me out. There’s no point in sugarcoating something that Jesus was very clear on. I’d rather you understand the situation upfront than nurture the misconception that the world will love and embrace you for your defense of truth and righteousness. They will not. They will hate you for it, attempt to silence you at every turn, and even justify the most hateful outbursts and actions. Freedoms may be well and good, but they end the moment you confront someone about their sin. In the words of a spoiled child with no understanding of the world, who is now, coincidentally, an honorary doctor in theology, “How dare you?”
That whole coexist thing only works as long as you fall in line and agree with every delusion some sycophantic loner comes up with. We can coexist as long as you agree with, validate, celebrate, and even venerate everything I say. Otherwise, you must die! What sort of monster would deny the existence of interstellar unicorns? I’ll tell you what sort, the sort that has no place in a civil society.
The way to get past the fear, to eliminate it altogether, is to determine what the worst-case scenario would be for contending earnestly for the faith and decide if you’re willing to endure it. Once you’ve determined that you are, then nothing that happens will shake your confidence, cause you to fear, or compel you to retreat.
The worst they can do is kill the body. That is the pinnacle of the enemy’s threat, and given that eternity is on the other side of your last breath, that’s no threat at all. Are you willing to die for the cause of Christ? If the answer is yes, then the fear of death no longer has sway over you.
I ran across a street preacher some time back who liked to stand outside of bars before last call and do open-air preaching. He said it wasn’t God who told him to do it; he just liked the excitement that came with the possibility of getting swung on by a drunkard. Judging the wisdom of his actions is not my intent, but the story he shared with me is.
I asked him if it had ever come to blows, and he said a couple of times, then proceeded to ask him what his most dramatic experience had been since he’d started doing this.
“There was this one time,” he began, “when a guy pulled a knife on me and said if I didn’t shut up, he’d kill me right then and there. I told him he’d be doing me a favor, and I don’t think that was the answer he expected. He put the knife back in his pocket and just walked away.”
Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
That was Christ’s take on fear, and being who He was, we can take His advice to heart. We can play the what-if game in our heads until we go mad, or we can defer to Jesus and determine that we will not fear those who can kill the body, no matter how fearsome they might seem at first glance. By the way, that’s always the case. The enemy always looks fiercest at first glance. Once you let your eyes adjust, you realize it’s not a hulking giant standing before you but a confused pimply-faced kid who likes to scream too much and doesn’t have the bone density to land a solid punch.
If you shy away from delusionally overconfident children, you’ll never make it before governors and kings.
Matthew 10:18-20, “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
Fear is something you can regulate, it is something you can control, and it is something you can overcome, especially given the knowledge that it will be the Spirit of God speaking through you and not you alone. What have you to fear, even before governors and kings?
We are strong not in and of ourselves but in the Lord and the power of His might. We overcome not in our strength but in His. Why be afraid? Your life is forfeit anyway. Be bold, and have courage, God is with you, and He will not fail.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 21 May 2023 | 11:06 am
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