Fear Is The Mind-Killer – Monday Musings
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:74-75 ESV)
What’s the goofiest thing you’re afraid of? For me, I think it is rodents. I don’t know what it is about them – I think it is the way they scuttle and dart from place to place – but I have this aggravating fear of rodents. You might think that living in an old farmhouse might be a way to overcome such a fear, through conditioning. You would be wrong.
I don’t think that fear comes from enemies, but what about fears that do? What are we afraid of right now?
People in Jesus’ day were afraid of the same kinds of things.
(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) (John 9:22 ESV)
Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:42-43 ESV)
These sound like the same fears, but I think they’re different for exactly the reason John points out. The parents of the blind man in John 9 were afraid of being excluded from society – the authorities were making pariahs out of anyone who confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. In John 12, though, the issue isn’t community – the issue is glory. And that hits a lot closer to home for many of us.
I’m not talking about praying in public – that only impresses other Christians. When most people see another group bow their heads over a meal, they shrug and go on about their business. In restaurants, servers will stand back, fearful of offending and losing what little tip they’re hoping to get. I’m not sure that praying over your food in a way others can see is the kind of good work Matthew 5:16 is talking about, especially when cross-referenced with Matthew 6:1ff.
And I’m not talking about speaking up in conversations about morality. That has its place, to be sure, but in most of our environments, it is getting the cart way before the horse. Telling non-Christians to act more Christ-like before they become Christians, expecting them to live without the Spirit of God in ways that we who share that Spirit struggle to honor – that seems really backwards to me.
No, I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about simpler things. Things like offering a compassionate word in the name of Jesus Christ to someone who is obviously having a bad day.
See, I’m still haunted by one of my worst failures ever. I can’t remember if I’ve talked about it before, but if I have, just bear with me – this demon hasn’t been exorcised yet. I was walking into Wal-Mart one night, and I was on a mission! It was rainy and chilly, and I live about half an hour away, so I was in a hurry. Get in, get out, get on my way, right? But this evening, I sinned. As I was rushing towards the doors, I passed an elderly lady with a half-full cart and a tie-under-the-chin hair-covering like my Mamaw used to wear. And she was lost. Between the wind, the rain, and the gaggle of cars covering the parking lot, she was looking about forlornly for her vehicle.
And I just kept walking. I decided that my time was more important than her safety and well-being. I sinned against her and against the one who died to save her, and me, and all of us.
What in the world was I afraid of???? Between the cross and the resurrection, every enemy I have in heaven and earth was defeated! Am I really just like those “authorities” in John 12 – so self-enraptured that I’ll do anything to protect my own little self-image???
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8 ESV)
Fear is the mind-killer, indeed.
in HIS love,