We have a lot that we can worry about. Social and political movements seem to be dividing the church. The culture’s ethical standards are often set against Christian ethical norms. And the next election cycle could threaten our favourite political and economic policies.
In light of these real challenges, we often respond out of fear. We have become combative, defensive, and panicked. Yet we don’t have to fear. And this true for one and only one reason. And it is this: Jesus rose from the dead. So don’t worry.
Delivered from fear
Jesus delivered us from lifelong slavery to fear (Heb 2:15). By dying, Christ destroyed death, the power through which the devil enslaves (Heb 2:14). Then Jesus rose from the dead and so put death to death in the flesh.
Many of us act as if this is not true. We fear political loss. We fear the decline of our denomination. We fear the “liberals” and “progressives.” We often act like we are fearful people, not hopeful people.
Fear of our demise or of our waining cultural influence betrays something sinister. Some dark presence lives behind this fear. Whenever we lash out in fear against a Christian, politician, or any person, we let darkness becloud our vision.
Fear is the devil’s domain (Heb 2:14–15). Hope is God’s (Rom 15:13). Whatever theological, cultural, or political worry confronts us, we must choose God, not the devil; hope, not fear.
And yet we so often dig deep into our ideological trench, fearing loss and demise. But we must not fear. We must not. Satan thrives on fear. The devil delights in it. And we hand him the keys to our heart when we fearfully lash out.
By using fear, the devil sows discord and division. Our fear isolates us, preventing us from taking the risks that a heart brimming with hope would allow. We become increasingly suspicious and afraid of the other. So we isolate ourselves.
Take heart. Satan will not and cannot win because Jesus said so (Matt 16:18). Hope is our clarion call, not fear.
When we fear, we act as if God is not the Lion of Judah, the Voice in the Whirlwind, the Creator of All. We act as if the church down the road will crash the gates of Hades if we do not act now by attacking, thrashing, and bashing.
It feels right to lash out to protect God. But God needs no protecting. He tells us, “Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). When the world readies for battle against God, when false teachers scheme to enact evil theology, God “sits in the heavens [and] laughs” (Ps 2:4). He is not like a man who needs our help. God is our helper. He acts as he pleases.
And for this reason, we have nothing to fear—with one notable exception. The only being worthy of our fear is God because fearing him (in the sense of awe) is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7).
When we fear anything else, we lack wisdom and we become brutes before God (cf. Ps 73:22). We work for the domain of darkness from which Christ snatched us when he brought us into the kingdom of his glorious light (Col 1:13).
Do not lash out because of fear. Do not give the devil a foothold. He thrives on our fear. We thrive in hopeful love. We have no need to fear. God has already won. Jesus rose from the dead. So don’t worry.