(Editor's Note: This blog was first posted in June of 2016 on the EngageMagazine.net website HERE. The relevance of lies and bad fear compared with truth, good fear, and faith is an eternal topic with eternal consequences. It was authored by Canada Burns, Graphic Designer at AFA)
When I was a child I thought adults had it all together. Now that I am an adult, I must admit that I feel a bit misled. Quite frankly, many adults have no idea what they are doing most of the time. There are so many things to be responsible for it’s hard to keep track of — paying bills, keeping up the car, feeding the dog, going to work, attempting to having some kind of social life. It's a statistical fact that the more variables you have, the more probability there is for error. Bad things happen in the news. The unknown rears its ugly head. Circumstances beyond our control occur and before we know it, we feel like our lives are free falling with nothing to hold onto.
I've come to realize in my late 20s that the “falls” in life are not always from a leap of faith. Most times the ground gives way beneath our feet and we find ourselves falling whether we saw it coming or not. When things are crashing around us, mentally and sometimes physically, we often try to stop the chaos in our own strength. But in our human finiteness, we might as well be flapping our arms like a bird in an effort to slow our ever impending descent. When this happens, the question is not will you fall, but rather how will you fall.
I recently went through a rough bout of anxiety. In every situation I encountered, I assumed the worst. I listened to the lies of Satan when he told me that God would let me crash and burn. Fear was my close companion. Only when I realized how foolish I was and trusted in Christ to deliver me, did my fear subside.
In my opinion, there is good fear and bad fear. Good fear is the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7), and natural fear (fear of physical harm which is a natural instinct to protect ourselves; though even these reactions must be kept in check). Bad fear is irrational fear stemming from unbelief in Christ, a dependence on the flesh, and sourced in the lies of Satan. The key word here is irrational fear. In my bout of anxiety, I was faced with how to distinguish between good and bad fear. How do I know if I am being responsibly cautious or irrationally fearful?
Breaking things down to the most basic of terms, this is truth vs. untruth. Caution is based on facts and what we know to be true. Irrational fear is based on what could be and mere speculation. But how do we tell them apart? Sometimes in our flesh, it is hard to tell. Here are some contrasts between fear and truth that I hope help you as you attempt to comprehend a “free fall” you may be experiencing.
When irrational fear strikes, our first reaction is inaction. This is the opposite of what God wants us to do in the face of adversity (Joshua 1:9). I'm not saying that in the midst of fear we should just rashly do something. Hasty decisions seldom yield good results. What I’m talking about is inaction caused by unbelief; a lack of faith that God will stand with us in the midst of darkness. The British philosopher Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." A truer word was never said.
For the Christian, we are to submit to the command to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). When paralyzing fear comes, examine the source, and refuse to do nothing.
I've always had a spirit of adventure. I love to try new things. Because of this, I get frustrated when I hear others say the phrase "I can't…" Granted, there are some things I cannot do. I can't fly without wings, I can't lift a car off the ground, and I can't live without food, water, air, etc. I'm talking about things that are possible but have never been tried. The fear of the unknown enslaves. There is so much wonder and joy to experience in this world. Different places to visit, music to hear, and people to meet. To shy away from the unknown because of fear limits us and to be limited is to be in bondage. True freedom is to live without fear and have hope and security in Christ alone.
He may have been a Muppet, but Yoda was right when he said, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." People enslaved to fear often do not know how to depend on God. Because of this, they turn to their flesh and destruction ensues (Romans 8:6). One only has to look at the recent tragic events in our country to see it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear." Dr. King knew that in the midst of turmoil fear was the greatest enemy. Not fear of man, but rather the sin that drives man to harm and mistreat fellow human beings. And ultimately, fear and unbelief separate us from Christ Who is the only source of eternal life.
There have been men and women throughout history like Dr. King who were led by God and not afraid to take action against injustice. Even today there are many who find bravery in Christ and are not afraid to stand up for what is right. Jesus told us to “Go” and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). The truth of the gospel gives us energy for action because when we trust in Jesus He gives us courage to do what is right.
Do you ever think about how amazing it is that God gave us the Bible? In our hands we hold the very words of God. Those words are unchanging, infallible, and constant. As we fall and plummet toward our surmised impending doom believing there is nothing to hold on to, the truth remains the same. To have a constant is to be secure. Truth is freedom (John 8:31-32) and cannot be undone by any act of man or power of evil.
Truth leads to life
In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Knowing truth and knowing Christ come hand in hand because Jesus is both. To seek truth is to seek life and ultimately it is Christ who provides eternal life for every man on earth through His sacrifice on the Cross (2 Corinthians 5:15-18).
Fear is one of the greatest tools Satan uses against both the Church and humanity in general. It cripples, enslaves, and ultimately kills; but truth moves us to action, sets us free, and points us to Christ. Let us hold fast to what we know to be true and to God’s Word. Do not listen to the lies of Satan when he tells you that God can’t catch you. God can. God is not limited by any free fall of ours. Even with nothing to cling to, His truth remains. Fear is a lie. If we fall, even into the darkest of days, let us fall trusting in a real living hope that our Savior will catch us. And He will.