Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fear...And What To Do With It. Part I

Fear strikes me as one of the most profitable psychological responses God has given us.  I can't imagine trying to cope in this broken place without it.  As an aviator, fear often keeps me from doing something really stupid.  The mountains of Papua are littered with the wreckage of aircraft whose pilots were not afraid when they dearly needed to be.

Fear Deficiency

But it also seems to me that our emotions, corrupted by the fall, don't always serve us in the way they were designed to.  I end up fearing the wrong things.

Take people, for example.  I'm not afraid of people.  Except when I am.  If I'm not walking in communion with God, I'm far too concerned about what people think of me.  I particularly don't like it when folks are mad at me, or worse, have a firm conviction that I'm an idiot.  Fearful of these things, I tailor my actions to avoid anger and ridicule.  I may actually do the right things, but I'm motivated by the wrong thing: fear of man.

I'm still leisurely making my way through the book that the good doctor Luke has written for us.  In chapter 12, Jesus gives us some explicit guidance on fear.  Apparently there are things that we should not fear, and things that we should fear...and like the aviator, fearing the right things will keep us from doing something stupid with catastrophic consequences.

Luke records these remarkable words from our Master:

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body...
...and after that can do no more.

Jesus spoke these words to a group of men who, by their association with Jesus, had ticked off some really important people.  These guys were keenly aware that there was a demographic who would love for them to be dead.  That was their context.  My context?  Well, I know a few folks who are not exactly fond of me, but I don't believe that, at present, there is anyone out to put arsenic in my tea.  For Jesus and His early followers, most of people with real power in their context were wholly committed to doing them grievous bodily harm.  Jesus tells His friends that all these supposedly 'powerful' people can do is kill the body...

...and after that can do no more.  

Profound.  Jesus is saying that the very worst thing that another human being can do to me really isn't that bad.  This is absolutely liberating...IF we see things as Jesus does...that this life is not all there is...that we're temporarily trapped in a broken place that is groaning for renewal...that our lives here on earth are but a vapor that passes be followed by life as it was originally designed by our Creator to be lived...redeemed back to the beauty, peace and happiness of the original design.  What have we to fear?


Kim said...

Found your blog after searching online for info. about the Kimyal people and am enjoying it. Have always wanted to do mission work after my salvation 10 years ago but am for now a mission-minded mom at home. Thanks for sharing!

Kim from Texas

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