Fear Mongering Among Us
By Michael Tummillo
That horrible "Da Vinci Code" flick has reared its ugly head at a theatre near you. Omigosh! What are we to do? From bird flu to nuclear threats, the war on terrorism, global warming, on-line predators ... the talking heads of the news networks are feeding us a steady diet of politically correct pablum--if not blatant lies, yet we continue to tune in, as if their words were the Gospel. What IS a Christian to do?
Should we get more political, try to change things by lobbying to change the laws? Shall we protest, handcuff ourselves to movie theatres and abortion clinics? The onslaught of everything of an anti-Christ nature seems to keep coming against us in a tidal wave of never-ending evil. It's overwhelming!
Even within the Church itself, things are not looking good. The media is sure to publicize every sinful act of Christian ministers that they happen to hear about and make sure we ALL hear about all about it too.
The righteous are bold as a lion. The people who know their God will be strong and do exploits. Be bold, be strong, for the Lord thy God is with thee! Whatever happened to Christians who lived by those mantra verses? In most cases, the enemy has the western Church scared spitless and virtually ineffective, exhibiting "a form of godliness with no power" to speak of. The devil loves it this way, as we spend less time making a difference and more time making a mess of all things spiritual. Yet, we persist; content in our self-righteousness to continue with Church-as-usual, deceived into thinking we're fulfilling the Lord's Great commission.
No, we're motivated by fear, and it's tainting everything we do. Fear of death. Fear of disease. Fear of the latest headline.
IF GOD IS FOR US ....
Fact is, we've got our spiritual enemies right where we want 'em! How so, you ask? Allow me to use my own life as an example in an effort to explain.
Before I gave my life to Jesus, I was king of all my own kingdoms; a veritable "Lord of all" I was.
To the best of my pea-brained knowledge, all things revolved around Me, Myself, and I... the unholy trinity. The realization that my god (me) simply wasn't big enough, caused me to fall, and fall HARD. I needed to fall hard AND to the point of breaking! I thought I was in control of those demons assigned to me. I wasn't. My kingdoms fell.
I had obviously acknowledged the necessity of having a "God" in my life, and I gave the REAL God a great deal of religious-sounding lip service. Even put in some pious "pew time." But all of those gods I was ACTUALLY serving proved to be impotent and insufficient for the job, including my own bad self.
I turned to Jesus ONLY after recognizing my NEED for the BIGGEST GOD OF ALL. The greatest impact came from a very small group of unrelated people who had at one time or another exhibited to me a living faith in Christ in their lives outside of church buildings. They didn't preach at me. They didn't tell me how evil I was. They simply loved me without condition.
And it's very likely they prayed for me.
Therefore, it remains my contention that, through prayer, by a consistently growing relationship with God through the study of His Word, and by repenting of our feeble attempts at ruling our own lives, God alone will war on our behalf to get rid of all the monsters under our beds that we believers incessantly scream and shout about.
Believers? That's our job description ... to simply believe, with childlike faith, that His Word is true and that, if we do our biblical part, we can see our prayers answered in a most miraculous way. If nothing else, we can have peace in the midst of life's storms. With that, let us not be surprised when others begin to notice, as I did, that it is possible to actually KNOW God, the ultimate ruler of all things. We CAN have a relationship rather than mere ritualism and religion. Who can be afraid when they know HE is on their side? Be not surprised when you begin to make others jealous for that kind of relationship (Romans 11:11-14).
After all, we are to be "epistles read by all men" (2 Corinthians 3:2) and, as Francis of Assisi said, "preach the Gospel at all times ... using words only when necessary."
So, fear not! Whether it's the current world scene, or that scene playing out within the walls of your own home, or in your own head, "greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world," (1 John 4:4).
READ 'EM & REAP
Let's take a look at fear from Christ's perspective. After all, He said that He was the Way, the TRUTH, and the life, right?
The truth? Good! We can use some of that. Here's what Jesus had to say about the fear factor:
(Mathew 8:26) He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
(Mark 4:40) He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
(Luke 8:50) Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."
(Luke 12:5) But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
(Luke 19:21) I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.'
(Revelation 1:17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last."
(Revelation 2:10) Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
A careful review of the Scriptural references to fear reveals that God alone is to be feared, and reverentially at that, out of awe and respect; not based upon a demonic form of terror.
First John 4:18 tells us, "Perfect loves casts out fear." Psalm 23:4 says, "I will fear no evil." Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Yes, there are many variations in Scripture exhorting us to "fear not" our circumstances and to "fear the Lord" only.
Let's keep our wits about us, Christians. Fear is faith in the devil! Fear is a spirit, and "God has not given us a SPIRIT of fear..." (2 Timothy 1:7). In fact, Jesus gave us "power to drive out all demons..." (Luke 9:1), including the spirit of Fear. Think about it... very few people have died from bird flu in comparison to auto accidents or heart attacks, which are registered on a daily basis.
So, chill, Church! We ought not to lock ourselves indoors while screaming "there's a lion outside" (Proverbs 22:13)! We already KNOW there's a lion outside ... his name is Satan, and 1 Peter 5:8 says he roams about "seeking whom he may devour." If we focus on the prospect of a lion in our midst, those bad reports of what MIGHT happen (just read the papers and you'll see evidence of his evil works) will hinder us from going about our Father's business--building His Kingdom and making disciples as we were commissioned in Matthew 28:18-20.
And the lion wins.
(All Scripture taken from the New International Version of the Bible)
Michael Tummillo's mission is to bring Discipleship and Encouragement to the Body of Christ. Since 1999, he has broadcast nearly 600 inspirational articles and a dozen booklets on subjects that will interest the thinking Christian, all designed to accelerate the process of spiritual development in God's people. He is the founder of t.e.a.m. ministries, and an Author, Pastoral Counselor and Teacher, with his eMail broadcasts, known as "Your Town for Jesus," reaching millions around the globe weekly. Michael has ministered in Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, College and Cowboy churches. He is also a Speaker on the Christian Speaker Network and may be available to speak to your church or Christian group. Google "Your Town for Jesus" to read more of his articles and build up your own most holy faith, or you can contact Michael through the Letters page of this magazine.