I got to thinking the other day about how fear so quickly drives out faith, revealing how much we need the Lord to change our hearts and broaden our perspective. Here are two examples.
1. They're building a new Islamic Center just outside of town. This can feel threatening. But as I was considering a conversation I had about it with a friend, I thought to myself, My goodness, should our response not be one that says, 'Oh boy, opportunities to minister to and share the Gospel with Muslims are right in our neighborhood!'? But alas, when we feel threatened and fearful, our desire is to protect ourselves, to wish away that which threatens us, to move away from the Lord rather than closer to Him. I wish my natural inclination were to think about God's saving grace and sharing it with the world, (especially when He's so kind as to bring "the world" to my back door)! Change our hearts, O God.
2. I'm new in town. And (though I know it's wrong and I'm embarrassed to admit it) I
size people upjudge people based entirely on what my eyes can see and the "vibe" I get form them, before I have even exchanged one word with them. I am proud. I fear being rejected and judged myself, so the defenses go up and judgments fly around in my brain. So, rather than jumping in with both feet and "risking" the opportunity to make a really cool new friend, I hang back, feel justified in my assessments, and miss those relationship-building moments. Am I alone in this behavior? I don't imagine so. Again we must cry out, change our hearts, O God!
God's call on our lives as Christians is to love Him and love our neighbor. His perfect love sustains us in these good works that He's given us to do. Resting secure in Him and remembering, as I heard someone once say, that "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing," will drive out those fears and broaden our perspective to His.
I've been hanging out this week in 2 Peter 3. (You should totally read it today!) Peter is reminding God's people that judgement day is coming and instructing them on how to live in light of that promise. Peter says beautiful, perspective-shifting things about God's patience with mankind and His desire to see men everywhere repent and believe the Good News. He also reminds the believers of the importance of looking ahead to that day and living in light of it. This is not it, we're looking forward to something better!
Our fears seem so silly and uncalled-for when put under heaven's Light!
There's a much bigger picture than what my eyes can see as an Islamic center is constructed down the road and as I venture into new relationships. Biblical and personal history remind me, however, that God is in control. He turns some of the most unexpected hearts to Himself. (Like, say, mine and yours!) He also has taken relationships where I've misjudged, and turned them into wonderful friendships. Scripture reminds me that there's far more to live for than the here-and-now. The Lord is coming! One day we will live forever with Him. Let's pursue righteousness and take some folks with us!
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18