Monday, May 22, 2017

Fear in Modern America: A Christian Perspective (What does the Bible say about Fear?)

As I have gotten older, and watched, I have seen fear grow. Part to blame is the internet and social media, no doubt. Stories abound of situations that cause many to think twice about doing normal things in life. And extraordinary things are even more out of the question. As a person who has traveled a lot, I have been told by many people that "the world is a dangerous place." And while they are right, that the world is dangerous, most places are no more dangerous than here at home. Accidents happen anywhere. A tree could fall in the forest, a disaster could strike, car accidents are more common than we like to admit. But that is life. I look at the modern world and how we treat our bodies and I ask, "is that not dangerous, too?"

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15.

Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This requires one to let go of fear. It requires one to put trust in God. Right now there are many people who are terrified of war and terrorism, yet didn't Jesus address this too?
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Matthew 24:6
Jesus said to not be troubled. This is just a fact of life. Yet, have we followed it? We are more troubled than ever. People are terrified of others. We want to lock ourselves up and be "safe." Yet, we are told that there will not be peace and safety on this Earth - no matter where we are. And that is no different today than it was in Christ's time, or before.

"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

The only real safety we have is in God.

"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." Proverbs 29:25

In fact, Christians are told over and over again in the Bible to not fear. Fear is a tool of Satan, the adversary. In fact, he wants us to fear, because fear leads to distrust and to hate. And here we are, in an age where fear is leading man to hate each other. Crazy, isn't it? Not really, this stuff was written centuries ago. And it makes complete sense.

As I travel the world, I see less and less U.S. citizens traveling, even in places like Central America. In fact, in Costa Rica I ran into far more Europeans. Why is that? I am not sure. I have traveled to places where there is war, such as Egypt and Ukraine, and people there were far more calm overall than what I see here in a place that is pretty much completely removed from the kinds of war that exists in the rest of the world. Yet, we are all the more terrified of it!

Americans have been blessed with so much. In fact, John likens the church of the last days as Laodicea.

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Revelation 3:14-22.
I truly see the comparison with the church of Laodicea and the modern day United States. We feel "rich." In fact, we have everything we think we could ever want. Abundant food, technology at a cheap price, cars, homes, and land. Cheap and free "Entrainment" abounds. We can acquire much with less effort than ever before. Yet, we have an abundance of fear and a lack of faith in God. We have a need to learn to put fear behind us. This is not a suggestion.
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9
Jesus said:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
Only when the gospel is preached to all nations will Jesus return. Yet, fear holds us back from that task. Americans have so much wealth as a whole that they could go into all the world. Yet it is fear that holds them back. Fear from outsiders. Fear of terrorism. Fear of difference. Fear of the unknown. Where is the trust in the Lord? An action is the same as a word. And through fear we are denying the power and strength of God.

"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:33

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