A Thought For Our Day
I thought I might share a thought for the day that starts with a question. In Jesus, were you given a spirit of fear? Or were you given something entirely different — a Spirit of power? Of love? Of self-control? This is an extremely important question which should greatly shape how we walk out our days. I’m hoping the answer is obvious. If not — turn no further than Paul’s second letter to Timothy. The first chapter opens with an exhortation to Timothy to remember the gift that we possess in the Lord —
For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
This begs me ask the followup question: Why do so many Jesus followers, fearing we are on the verge of the worst (either the end times specifically or national judgement due to the politics in Washington or some other imminent apocalypse) live like the former when we should be living like the latter? It’s disquieting hearing all of the talk that we as Christians should be readying ourselves for some sort of doom, or to head to the caves and across the borders in defeat or to buy up guns and such for the coming wars, whenever or whatever they might be. It seems to be rooted in an unholy fear — a fear that perhaps Christ’s death really wasn’t enough for us and the rest of the world, that perhaps our fate really wasn’t decided on Calvary as we might have supposed. Or at least that’s the impression we leave people with.
Where does this come from? I read the scriptures, spend time meditating on the person of Jesus and what He has accomplished and ushered in to this world and can’t find this fear or response in any of it. Were Jesus not in the picture, we might have something to fear but because Jesus is in the picture, the worst that evil can do is no match. Paul’s letter to Timothy says not 3 verses from his answer to the first question that Jesus has broken the power of death.
…He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
2 Timothy 1:10
In John’s first letter it says that Jesus’ once and for all destroyed the works of the devil (that’s why He came into this world!). And again it shines through — in Jesus there isn’t anything anymore to fear. Honestly, I think some of the fear is wrapped up in how we individualistically view the cross. The reductionist tendency to see Jesus’ death as solely affecting the individual makes us miss the bigger picture — we are definitely a part of it but Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection brought victory decisively over all evil, once and for all. That should mean nothing to fear.
And it should flow from all of this, I hope, that rather then trying to escape when the going gets tough we should live in the realization that we are the tough (empowered by a Holy Spirit unlike anything in this world) and that we should get going, not away but into the thick of it, making Jesus’ kingdom known and available, here and now, for those who desperately need it. It saddens me to hear the Gospel cheapened into some sort of an escape plan when it, by it’s very nature, has the ability to radically change the world around us. I think it rather foolish of us to think that the time we live in is somehow so radically different from those times throughout history. Considering the Christian experience under pagan Roman rule is one early example of how easy we have it in light of what could be. And the kingdom of God exploded in that time period. Withdrawal, escape, rebellion, violence and other such ideas antithetical to living out the kingdom as its ambassadors wasn’t the modus operandi but living out the Word — Jesus and His life — was. It changed the world once; it’s foolish to think that it couldn’t again.
I started by mentioning that I wanted to share a thought for the day. Really this is a thought for our time and all time. It’s something to take with us wherever God takes us. It’s something to cling to. If the power of the Cross can transform our hellish lives into heavenly bodies then no matter how bad the world around might look we should walk in confidence knowing that the war is done and over and that one day, even if not today, the Kingdom will reign.