We live in a fear-filled world. If we gauged the emotional state of our nation based on the leading news stories we would determine that Americans are afraid. We are afraid of Ebola. We are afraid of ISIS terrorists. We are afraid that there will be another school shooting.
On one hand, fear is healthy. I think God instilled healthy fear in us to keep us safe. There is a reason that most people don’t keep lions as pets. We love the sight of Niagara Falls, but the thought of canoeing down them doesn’t seem to resonate with too many people. Fear can be healthy. But it can also be paralyzing. When we allow fear of the unknown to define our lives, then fear is no longer healthy.
The Bible has a lot to say about fear and how believers should respond to it. Over 80 times Scripture tells us to avoid fear. This is to be a defining trait of a follower of Christ. When fear grips the world, believers should demonstrate trust and faith in Someone greater than themselves. 2 Timothy 1.7 reminds us that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
In the midst of the chaos of this world, followers of Christ are to demonstrate with their own lives what it means to trust in God. This does not mean that we don’t take precautions to prevent the spread of disease or work to make our schools safer. We do all of these things. But what it does mean is that rather than run from trouble, followers of Christ are called to run to trouble. We confront the diseases of this world with care and compassion. We combat the evils of terrorism with the truth of a loving God. We deal with the potential of school violence by investing in children so that thoughts of violence and danger are not ignored. Where there is fear, we proceed with power and love and self-control. We do not panic. We do not hate. We do not give up.
But this is certainly not easy to do. I would argue that being fearless in fear-filled world is impossible if we are trying to do that on our own power. But, if in our relationship with Christ we are constantly drawing closer and closer to Him, then we can overcome the fears of this world. If our lives are marked by a thirst for Scripture, if we have a vibrant prayer life, if we are seeing our very lives as living sacrifices, then we can find the power to be fearless. It is not our power, but the power given to us by the Spirit.
This is what our world needs. As believers we must be cultivating a deep relationship with our Savior and preparing ourselves to meet the needs of a fear-filled world. I believe that the Worship Arts Conservatory can be a place where believers are trained to help meet the needs of a fear-filled world through ministry and service in the local church. Our world needs believers who are fearless and equipped to deal with the difficult questions of the time and point people to the Answer to those questions.
AW Tozer once said that a scared world needs a fearless church. Our world is scared. Will the church be fearless?