Faith vs. Foolish Fear
I just preached online from my living room at live.restorelife.net to encourage us in this season where fear would seek to take the heart of us. Strategic and Kingdom-centered #socialdistancing has nothing to do with fear, but has everything to do with faith in God (and in His created design for this world) and love for neighbors.
You see, God Loves science… He created it. You should love science too. Knowing and understanding this amazing universe we find ourselves in is a huge part of us living out of our dignity and dominion as image-bearers of God.
Hosea 4:6 says that people perish for lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge of God and His creation, lack of knowledge of God’s word and decrees, lack of knowledge of ourselves and other human beings. Knowing God and His Word, understanding this world we are in, and truly knowing ourselves and our fellow humans, is how we flourish the way we were designed to. We believe God’s word and his promises, not like the fool who built his house on the sand, but like the Wiseman who built it on the rock. God is our rock. Everything he is is our refuge and strength. The more we know God, the more secure we are in every aspect of life and the storms (and coronavirus’) that come and try and disrupt Shalom.
Now, more than ever we need to find creative ways to love our neighbors and serve the most vulnerable in our communities while practicing a Kingdom-minded #socialdistancing that faithfully and boldly proclaims the gospel hope and Ressurection power of Jesus and helps bring restoration and relief to the chaos this virus is bringing to our world. Selfishness must exit and we must put others and the whole of society above our own impulses, rights, freedoms, consumerism, and addictions. Fear has no place, and now, for such a time as this, we need bold faith that is willing to take the risk of putting others over ourselves.
What could that look like and where do we get the power to live that way? I love what 2 Timothy 1:7 says: “He has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
Power – “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.” – Romans 1:16The gospel is our power source. The Good news that Jesus is Lord. That he has lived the life we could never live, died the death we deserved in our place, and rose again from the dead and will return to fully rescue us and restore all of creation. We can rest in the love and sovereignty of God in all things. We have Ressurection hope. Death has no power over us. We aren’t afraid of death or anything that might compromise these bodies because this flesh is already dead. Death has no sting any longer for the believer in the gospel.
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 – For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
The gospel allows us to put others’ interests over our own. The gospel is not an individualistic consumerism driven force but a saving, unifying, justice-oriented power for a community of people trusting God together. It’s a Gospel that manifests Shalom – the nothing broken, nothing missing peace of God that transcends all our understanding (Phil. 4:7) There’s so much power in the blood of Jesus for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). Not just eternal, but here and now. Through the power of the same Spirit that is in Jesus, we can speak and live out healing into others’ lives… Just like Jesus…
Isaiah 61:1–4 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.”
Love – We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means we put our selves in our neighbors’ position and then ask ourselves how we would want to be treated if we were experiencing what they were experiencing or found ourselves in their circumstances. The Love of God for us drives us. It leads all our decision making. It’s a love that is shown so fully in Christ who gave himself away for others and laid down his individual life for the sake of the flourishing of the whole. It takes humility (self-emptying) to be able to do that. The security we have in the love and plan of our Heavenly Father for us gives us humble confidence to live our lives as living sacrifices and sacrifice for others. Through the love of God in us we can go halfway hungry so someone else can go halfway full. We can lay down our rights and plans and agendas and share our time, talents and treasures with others without fear. Just like Jesus did.
Sound Mind – another translation says self-discipline. That means we use the mind God has given us. Our faith is not foolish. We abide in connection through Christ with the God of the universe and have an eternal source of wisdom and guidance through the mind God has given us. We stay connected in Christ to God and each other and therefore our wisdom is not the same as the world’s wisdom.
James 3:17–18 – But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
That’s why Kingdom-Minded #socialdistancing looks a lot different than what the world tells us to do. We are bold, resting in the promises of God and willing to lay down our lives to save others, but also wise as we listen to the Holy Spirit and his leading.
In faith and with God’s wisdom we can and will figure out ways to love our community best, save human lives and point others to Christ, our only hope in life and in death.
Here’s a great worship song to encourage us to get on the altar in God’s presence and let Him refine us more into His image. We are living sacrifices for His glory and purposes.<