I believe there are plenty of things to be afraid of today – changes in our education system, distant wars, and rising prices of goods. These are just a few things that can bring uncertainty to our lives. In talking to friends and coworkers, it seems that we are all trying to cope with things. Many of these things we have very little say or control over, so what can we do?
I believe a natural response to these times is fear . . . and not the good kind. Proverbs mentions that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (9:10). I don’t think it’s wrong to have fear, but we need to focus on the right kind.
If you are a Christ-follower and have been influenced by fear, I am here to tell you that it’s ok. You are not a failure for experiencing human emotions. We are, however, called to rise above those emotions and act differently. Let’s look at 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)
God has given us a spirit of Power. We have the power to influence our immediate surroundings and we shouldn’t take this for granted. I remember talking to a friend of mine years ago about possibly sponsoring a child. I remember him saying, “there are so many kids in the world, we can’t possibly save all of them”. He was looking at the world as a whole and became unintentionally apathetic about the possibility of helping. I couldn’t save all the children but I did have the power to save one. We should not discount our worth or role in this life because of the immense problems the world faces. We can make a difference in our immediate circle, at our kids’ schools, and in our places of work and worship. We have power to help those around us.
Following power, God has given us a spirit of Love. It is certainly easy to have an “us” and “them” mentality, whoever “them” may be. But consider this: Jesus died for ALL mankind. We have the power to love those who disagree with us, who have it out for us, and who even hate us. I think of Jesus, upon being crucified, telling the Father, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He had the power to forgive and love those who persecuted and killed him. This is an amazing power, and one that I would personally like to use more often.
Lastly, God has given us a spirit of self-control. How often do we feel the need to share our opinions, make sure our voices are heard, or ensure those around us know that we are right? This doesn’t just pertain to opinions either. Self-control can be used in many areas of life. Fear can tell us to hoard toilet paper and to buy gallons of hand sanitizer. But those who have self-control are not controlled by fear. They know that their help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
We should not be Christians who act out of fear. Our actions should not be similar to those who do not know the Lord. Instead, our actions should resemble those of a people who know that God is the ultimate authority. We should be people who walk in confidence with a spirit of power, love, and self-control.
Mauricio Paredes is Junior High Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 559-582-1528.