Christians: What are we Really Afraid of?


December 23, 2013

This isn’t exactly about Duck Dynasty or Phil or A&E, not exactly… but I’m losing sleep. I’m not losing sleep over rights or TV or boycotts, I am losing sleep over the fear I see. I’ve seen a similar fear before in the eyes of a leader of a well-known ministry that fights for Christian values. Nearly despairing, he described a recent conversation with his grown daughter.

“Even my daughter is walking away from the truth….she told me recently, ‘Dad, how can you be consumed with stopping gay marriage when millions of people are being traded as slaves? People are suffering and dying.’”

He adjusted his glasses and pushed away his plate and looked at me asking, “What is happening to the world?”

It hinted of anger… but it was fear. It felt like the morality and values he’d fought to protect for decades of his life were not slipping away- it felt as if they were just all of the sudden gone.

At the root of this enormous Duck Dynasty uprising, what are we so afraid of?

I think underneath the anger over reality TV and the chants of “freedom of speech” I sense a deeper fear.

A fear of losing….

our values.
our culture.
our morality.
our voice.
our control.
our institutions.
our government.

Christendom seems to be spinning in a great fear of losing.

So What?

A counselor once taught me to chase fear down with 2 words…. “so what?”

Let’s imagine I live in paralyzing fear of disappointing my father with a tattoo under my watch….

You would say, “so what if you disappoint him?”

And then somehow we would so what ourselves all the way to some very deep rooted fear of abandonment. Haha…. yep. Two words can get you all. the. way. there.

The fear that had been mastering and controlling my life, my emotions, my decisions, my relationships would be staring me in the face and then you would miserably painfully say one final…. So What?

So what if you were totally abandoned and had no one?

And with tears I would say to my fear… “My God, my Jesus will be there.” Besides just saving you a lot of money on counseling, I share all of this to chase down the fear I see today….  the one distracting me from decorating santa cookies with store bought icing.

So what?
So what if we lose it all?

Morality
Power
Safety
Control
Government
Institutions
Morality
Clean television with a family who prays at the end?

Friends, let’s not very publicly lose our minds and not deal with the source of our scandalous uprising.

So what…

What if we become a silenced minority?
What if we one day we actually are persecuted? (very important note: this is not that day.)

Friends, we live in a post-christian world, in a post-christian country. Except for Dallas. 🙂 It already feels like we are the minority and it has for a while. (I live in the liberal belt buckle of the bible belt: Austin.)

But this does not scare me… not even a little.  Throughout history Christianity has been healthiest when it is in the minority.

This occurred to Zac and me in great clarity in World Missions 101 at seminary but even without studying generations of God’s work on earth you can observe this to be true…. from the moment the apostles scattered preaching to their deaths to the fervor and passion of the underground church in China.

Christianity is contagious, pure and unconstrained where it is most restrained.

Where Christianity is oppressed…

Christians are united out of a desperate need for each other.

Wholly focused on the mission of God.

Not distracted by this world.

They are flat tearing it up… even if they lose everything.

The irony of the two headlines impacting my world this week…
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And then my pastor from our church is gunned down in Libya….  click on the photo and watch Ronnie’s wife, Anita and Anderson Cooper.

 

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God is not afraid of becoming the minority. God is not restrained by governments or even gunman.

I am not under-emphasizing the value of deep godly community and a legacy of morality. These have been privileges, gifts, blessings for many… I am not even saying don’t fight to provide or protect this with wisdom and most of all love.

I am just saying do not be afraid. Because even if your worst fears come true…

Our God, our Jesus will not leave us. He can’t be taken from us.

And it is possible….

That as we shrink in numbers- we actually grow.

And that the most powerful could come in the form of the powerless.

We have One hope. The hope of the world entered as the weakest and most powerless.
Jesus chose to save the world not through government reformation or moral correction but with unconditional undeserved relentless love.

photo copy

Dare we quit loving because we are afraid.

 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire. Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 12:28-13:1

31 Responses to “Christians: What are we Really Afraid of?”

  1. Yes!! I’ve been losing sleep over this, too! It hurts to see Jesus’ soldiers shoot each other because it’s easier to fight morality of those who have different temptations. Thank you for naming fear. I always come across this verse when others puzzle me.
    “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” – Apostle Paul (Romans 14:1, MSG)

  2. Hey sweet friend!

    Loved this. It’s so true that as we head to the minority, we will become healthier. Undoubtedly. I have to confess it is scary to me though. I don’t live in a place where I am outwardly persecuted yet. But definitely am in the minority and it is really, really hard. Hard in ways I never could have dreamed, spiritually and emotionally moreso than in any other way. It can mess with your head. To think that one day the “safe” places of this world will have run out, as the Word indicates that they will, is a very scary thought to me.. And yet, that’s what courage is. Moving forward, or, more likely being moved forward by the power of the Spirit :-P, in spite of our fears. And of course, knowing that when all the rest runs out, we still have our sweet Jesus by our side. He doesn’t make it easy. But He gives us hope that it’s all worth it in the end.

    I’m with Karen…Insanity of God is BRILLIANT. By far one of the most profound and life-changing books I’ve ever read. Definitely speaks to what you wrote about!

    Love you dear sister,
    Jen C.

  3. For me, it’s simple really, as a Christ follower, I stand with Christ, I stand with Christ on what He says no to and what He says yes to, its been decided, I obey.
    What I am unable to do, is it all, and I don’t wish to, so when the church collectively rises up to stand with Christ, whether, its’ against trafficking, slavery, abortion or when supporting traditional marriage, I stand with them, why? Because Christ, in His Word has already spoken to these issues and my opinion doesn’t matter only my obedience. And for the record, I haven’t heard Phil whining over being persecuted for his faith, and while we shouldn’t roll over and be silent as tyranny takes over, we need to rest in the sovereignty of our God and keep the peace He died to give us. 🙂

  4. Jennie,
    Thank you for your words here. Thank you for your heart and your perspective. I don’t know Anita. I’ve never met her. But I know Ronnie. I grew up with him in school and in church. He was my classmate…and it was a really small school so he was more like a childhood brother of mine.
    Ronnie’s death has inspired so many…myself included. ((hugs))
    Just know…I KNOW what you’re feeling as someone who knew him. God be glorified.

  5. So powerful! Thank you for this. And the picture of the Most Powerful appearing as the most powerless? Isn’t that the Christmas story itself? Beautiful, beautiful words!

  6. THIS is so good!

    Have you read “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripkin? Oh….what a powerful read and so along these lines!

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