The most dominant emotion in our modern society is fear. We are afraid of rejection and failure, afraid of losing the things we have worked hard to buy, afraid of criticism, afraid of certain parts of town, afraid of certain types of people, afraid of suffering and heartache, afraid of change, afraid to tell people how we really feel…
Fear has a tendency to imprison us. Fear paralyzes the human spirit. What do you fear?
Today’s difficult teaching is…
“Do not be afraid.”
This is from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 12, verse 32. But it is also the phrase Jesus used more than any other phrase, and the most common saying in the entire Bible. Between the New and the Old Testament, the phrase appears more than one thousand times.
What’s the opposite of fear? The opposite of fear is confidence. In this context the source of that confidence would be trust. Trust in God.
The antidote for fear is trust. On our money it says, “In God We Trust.” But do we? And if we don’t trust God, in whom are we placing our trust? This is a very important question, because let me tell you, if we don’t trust God, we have very good reason to be anxious, afraid, stressed, and all out petrified.
This is why our culture is so riddled with these emotions, because we have abandoned God. The obvious question this leads us to is, if we aren’t placing our trust in Him, in whom are we placing our trust? The answer to this question unveils the scary truth. Ourselves. Think of any crazy analogy and it fits. That’s like entrusting your five-year-old to drive your newborn child to the supermarket to do the grocery shopping.
Over and over, throughout the Gospels, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” He doesn’t say it to placate people. It’s a bold invitation to place our trust in Him.
None of these difficult teachings are about doing. They are all about being and becoming. That’s why none of them invite us to a single act. Each is an invitation to adopt a new approach to life. Each is an opportunity to develop a new soul trait. These habits of the soul are what lead us to thrive as individuals and make a difference in the world.
There are two ways I have found fruitful to develop trust and confidence in God. The first is simply to ask for it. Ask God to increase your trust and confidence in Him. The second is to look back on your life and identify times when God was at work in your life. You didn’t know it at the time, but it is clear to you now. Meditate on how He worked in your life at those times. By recognizing the times when God has worked powerfully in our lives in the past, we find the strength to hope and trust that He will work in our lives in the future… and that he is working in our lives right now.
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