Saturday, August 29, 2009

The fear factor

Today’s Reading: Acts 5: 11 (NIV)

11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Good morning!

Whenever I’m afraid, I get a belly ache. Sometimes it passes with a little antacid and a cup of soup. Yet, unaddressed fears can literally hold you back in life, leading you to make poor life choices; keeping you from moving on, moving up, and moving out into the world. It is kind of like getting stuck behind a door that will not open no matter how many keys you try. You may find yourself sleep deprived in the middle of the night, worried and fearful of what the morning will bring. Scripture teaches that fear is not of God and that we must choose not to walk in fear but live by faith. Do you remember the words of the angel when He appeared to the Shepherds the night our Savior was born in Bethlehem – He said, “Fear not!” Knowing not to fear and not giving in to fear are two very different choices.

There are times when fear is actually a very healthy response. Fear teaches that we are not in control; we need to be aware of the imminent danger ahead, and to watch our next step. If you’ve ever seen a toddler leap off a sofa, or climb upon a counter totally fearless, then you may understand why the fear factor can actually be a very good thing. We must learn to understand and maneuver through the danger zones of our lives. We must face our fears head on, address them, repent, and receive the peace that can only come from Jesus Christ.

The Father allowed fear to seize the church after witnessing the sudden deaths of Sapphira and Ananias. Often, we portray the Lord as a God of perfect love; holy and good, with rich mercy and everlasting kindness. He is every bit of this, and so much more. Yet, we tend to disregard and even forget that the Father is also a jealous and righteous God; He judges the unrighteous and holds each of us accountable for the sins we’ve committed in life. We need to remember that God takes sin seriously at all times; especially within the church. When we choose to lie to each other, we not only single-handedly destroy our interpersonal relationships; we jeopardize our living witness for Jesus Christ. God will not allow the stain of sin to continue inside or outside the walls of His church.

There is no perfect pastor, parishioner, believer, seeker, or skeptic alive. All of us are human vessels; suffering from the sin sickness that has plagued us since the beginning of time and the first fall. Jesus obediently and willingly gave His life so that we might receive forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed; we can be restored to a right relationship with the Father. We must learn to recognize and avoid the sins that get in the way of living a life that is pleasing to God. And if it takes a little healthy fear to get us there, then I say, “Bring it on!” Father, give us a healthy fear of sin; lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and power and the glory forever and ever! Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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