I know the world seems like a scary place right now. Everyone seems to be ringing alarm bells all over the place. The human race appears to be terrified. We are afraid of losing our rights, whatever we perceive those rights to be. People are afraid of being offended. Folks are afraid of dying. We are afraid of loss and pain. People are afraid of the economy. Folks are afraid of our presidential candidates. We are afraid for our children. Fear appears to be ruling our lives and it shows no sign of going away any time soon. Don’t let fear win.

Fear is a Powerful Motivator

It seems to me that much of what we do in life is motivated by fear. People are afraid of death so they do what they can to prolong life. Folks are afraid of pain and discomfort so they work diligently to make themselves as comfortable as possible. We are afraid that something terrible will happen to our children so we become helicopter parents to keep our children from feeling the effects of pain and failure. We are afraid that the other person’s political candidate will win and that they will destroy our way of life, so we paint the other candidates in the most unflattering way possible. People are afraid, and it shows in almost everything we do. Don’t let fear win.

Fear Doesn’t Bring Freedom

When fear gets ahold of us, it can rule us.  It can take over slowly and before we know it, we are making decisions because we are afraid of something. Fear can keep us a prisoner. There is no freedom in fear. Fear can be a positive force because it can help keep us honest. A healthy fear of fire keeps us from getting burnt. However, if we are not careful, a healthy fear of fire can turn into the abandonment of fire all together despite its benefits because we have decided the risk isn’t worth it. When fear determines our behavior at every turn, bad things happen. Don’t let fear win.

Love, Hope, and Conviction

I don’t know about you, but I miss seeing love and hope and hope in action. When we watch the news, we stories that bring dread and despair. Very little of the news cycle is dedicated to uplifting stories that promote peace and love among neighbors. I also miss courage and conviction. I miss seeing lives lived on the basis of convictions over the pursuit of comfort. I miss seeing people that do the right thing with conviction regardless of the circumstances and consequences. I miss seeing or reading about superheroes that really understand what it means to do the right thing and inspire us to be better. I miss real-life heroes who inspire us to do the right thing, promote hope, and believe that the world can be a better place.  I miss people who thoughtfully and intentionally bring light into the darkness that they see because they have a deep and abiding love for God and others. Instead, we look to the famous and the powerful to model our lives after because we are afraid of the cost of true conviction. Don’t let fear win.

Complaining Doesn’t Offer Solutions

Unfortunately, It isn’t enough for me to see the problem and complain about it. Complaining about something never actually fixes anything. Complaining can help us identify a problem, but complaining rarely identifies solutions. We spend so much time in deconstruction mode.  We rip apart the ideals, passions, ideas, thoughts, convictions, and beliefs of other people. I think we do it because we are afraid. The deconstruction has to stop. There must be another, better way. The better way is Jesus. We need to reconstruct, recreate, redeem, reconcile, and rebuild relationships, ideas, and community as Jesus did. Fear keeps us from doing that. It keeps us at odds and makes us enemies. It keeps us from hope. It keeps us from love. Don’t let fear win.

Love Drives Out Fear

Let us consider the words of 1 John 4: 7-21.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidenceon the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Questions for Reflection:
  1. What areas of your life are a result of being motivated by fear?
  2. What areas of your life are a result of being motivated by love?

 

To read more from Jeremy check out his spiritual formation and discipleship blog, his faith formation facebook page, and his two books Holy Awkward Silence and Questions for Reflection.