Seeking to be transformed into the image of Jesus

Faith Mongering

Fear mongering” is the activity of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue. It is rampant in the media. Whether it is ebola, ISIS or Y2K…real threats or imagined…the media thrives on creating a sense of hysteria that we are under imminent threat.

I am sick and tired of fear mongering. I serve a God who is greater than all of it. I know whom I believe and I am confident He has everything well in hand no matter what CNN, FoxNews, ABC, CBS, NBC etc. may say. So, instead of fear
mongering, I would like to be someone who engages in “faith mongering” – the activity of deliberately arousing public faith or confidence in God over every issue.

I do not want to minimize genuine danger, but as a follower of Jesus Christ I also do not want to live my life afraid. After all, John wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). And Paul wrote as well that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…” He continues:

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:18, 31-32, 37-39)

I counted at least forty times that “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid” was spoken to people in the Bible. Most often the reason not to fear is because God is with us! Consider a few of the verses that encourage us not to fear:

Psalm 23:4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 118:6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Romans 8:15For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!

2 Timothy 1:7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Hebrews 13:5-6Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I said in my last blog that death is not the worst thing that could happen to me. Jesus agrees. He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell Matthew 10:28). Paul wrote while in prison, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He had come to a place where he knew continued life on earth would mean fruitful ministry and service to God, but if he died it would actually be better because he would get to be with Christ and would be able to worship and enjoy him without the hindrances of this life.

Did you know that of the twenty countries with the highest percentage of Christian growth rate, seven of them are in the Arabian Peninsula (see the list here)? Eleven of the twenty are considered Muslim countries. There is reason for hope! Maybe democracy and “freedom” aren’t essential for people to come to faith! In fact, not one country from North America, Europe or Latin American made the top twenty! The study showed that the highest Christian growth rates are found among all major non-Christian religious groups: Hindus, Non-Religious, Buddhists and Muslims. There is reason for hope! There is reason for faith! Fear not! Jesus is with us always…until the very end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20)!

So let’s stop with the fear mongering! No matter where we are; no matter who is in political office; no matter what is going on externally…He who is in us is great than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)! My desire is that the church of Jesus Christ – especially in the United States – will become known for what we oppose rather than for the love we are supposed to live out. I am concerned that the faith and confidence we claim in words and songs is not the faith we live out in hope, confidence, and action.

How can we “faith monger”?

1. Stop watching the news (so much) or at least take much of it with a grain of salt! Be careful who you listen to for your news…utilize a variety of sources.

2.Balance the news with prayer and God’s Word – especially when you find yourself struggling with fear! Memorize verses, like the ones above, that help you remember Jesus is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)!

3. Read biographies of people of faith. God works in extraordinary ways through ordinary people. He uses difficult and challenging circumstances to do amazing things.

4. Step out of your comfort zone to go on a short term ministry trip or to participate in a ministry to a people you don’t normally interact with or that you fear.

5. At the risk of taking a verse out of context, walk out the charge of Isaiah 35:3-4 – Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.

We serve a risen savior! We serve the God who is the creator of all things. We serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Let’s live like it!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s