Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
The battle between faith and fear
How do you handle those moments when you battle between faith and fear?
How do you handle those moments when the task is so big, the outcome is unimaginable? You are deciding between majors or programs. You get the first contraction of labor. You are tasked with starting a new initiative at work or in ministry. You are changing careers, starting a business, or planting a church.
We can trust God because of who he is.
A small person with a big task
Timothy was a disciple of Paul, a young, timid, frail, sickly man sent to, of all places, one of the major cities of that period of history: Ephesus. His task was to put the church in order. Timothy was a small man in a big city, a young man in a multi-generational church. He no doubt felt incapable of the task, and in all reality, on his own he probably was. Those of us who find ourselves feeling like Timothy can learn a lot from what Paul says to him in 2 Timothy 1.
How to identity fear
Fear, like pride, can be a big topic to wrap your hands around. Helpfully, in giving the positive work of the Holy Spirit, Paul also gives us a negative picture of what fear can look like. Fear looks like weakness, selfishness, and a lack of discipline.
Where in your life do you feel weak? Not just physically incapable but emotionally, mentally, spiritually depleted. Often God brings us to places like that to show us where we’re operating in our own limited strength out of fear, to expose what is beneath it and, most helpfully, to bring us back to him.
Where in your life are you being selfish? Maybe you’re working late and neglecting, not loving, your family because of underlying fear. Maybe you’re too strictly or too loosely disciplining your kids in an unhelpful way because you’re more afraid of what people think about your kids than lovingly translating the discipline for them in way that is helpful. If you don’t know, ask those in your life closest to you.
Where in your life do you feel undisciplined or out of control? Maybe your desktop looks like something out of Hoarders and your calendar is so chaotic that it feels like it was planned by someone else or things were just thrown in there at random. Maybe your marriage constantly feels like one ongoing argument or like two people on two different schedules who say “hi” and “bye” more than anything else.
Faith, power, love, and self-control go together, just as fear, weakness, selfishness, and chaos go together.
The way out
So if you find yourself in a situation marked by fear, weakness, selfishness, and chaos, how do you turn that around? What is the way out?
Fear and selfishness are things to be repented of. Whatever is the root of your fear—fear of what others think of you, of failure, of loss of control, or loss of comfort—ultimately holds more sway in your life, more focus, more desire, more affection than God does. This fear can also make God very small and yourself very big as you manage, control, manipulate, scramble, and force through the situation.
Fearing things other than God also proclaims a false gospel that says he is not good, powerful, or loving. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to be wisely feared in this world, but it means that the fear of them isn’t a primary motivation—God is.
Talk to your spouse or the people you’re in community with about this. Ask them to forgive you, if necessary, and to walk with you in this fight.
We can trust God and not be afraid because of who God is and what he has done. He is powerful and works his power in those who believe (2 Tim. 2:8). He saved weak, selfish, out of control sinners and called them to a holy calling, not because we were so strong, selfless, or capable but solely because of his grace through Jesus on the cross (2 Tim. 2:9).
With a God so gracious, we are free to be selfless.
How powerful is he? Jesus conquered death and brings life (2 Tim. 2:10). How good is he? He not only equips and strengthens us for the tasks he has given us, but he, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will guard it (2 Tim. 2:12).
When it comes to the battle of faith and fear, when our task feels overwhelming, it is important to remember:
- With a God so steadfastly loving, we are free not to fear.
- With a God so powerful, we are free to be weak.
- With a God so gracious, we are free to be selfless.
- With a God who has a plan and who takes initiative, we are free to work diligently where he has put us.