I was visiting some dear friends at Bethel Church in Redding, CA this past weekend and had the awesome opportunity to attend Bethel’s Sunday morning service. Kris V. was preaching, and he was talking about courage. It was a real enlightening message, but one of his opening phrases made my heart leap. He said, “FEAR has become the most acceptable sin in the Body of Christ!” You could feel everyone in the room inhale and gasp as we realized the amount of truth that was in this statement.
I immediately thought of revelation 21:8. This scripture gives a list of all of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It mentions the sexually immoral, the unbeliever, the liar, and so on. But can you believe who’s at the beginning of that list for eternal damnation? THE COWARDLY. Whoa. The Bible makes very clear hear that those who are cowards and fearful will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This is a big deal. This scripture makes it clear that there are no punks in heaven.
I believe in order to keep us complacent and lukewarm, we in the Body of Christ have deemed fear to be a personal disposition and personality type, instead of calling it what it is, sin. Fear is sin. But let’s break this down a little bit.
I remember growing up and hearing all sorts of definitions for fear. The two major ones you hear is that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. And if you’ve hung around the church long enough, you’ve also heard that fear is the opposite faith. Though those definitions make for great twitter updates, I don’t believe these are good definitions of fear from a Christian perspective.
False Evidence Appearing Real. Let’s be honest. The reality is that some of the things that cause us fear are VERY real. I know the word of faith people aren’t going to like me in this section of the post, but let’s not be delusional pentecostal Christians. Cancer is real. Sickness is real. Lack of money to pay next month’s rent is real. These are all real things that lead us into the sin of fear. These are not make believe problems that will go away with a little bit of “name it and claim it” theology. So can we agree these are not false evidences?! Fear is caused by REAL evidences of a doom-filled outcome.
Next, let’s deal with this definition that fear is the opposite of faith. The only way to dispute this fallacy is to ease in my definition of fear. In order to have fear, you have to have faith. It takes faith to hold your disposition of fear. What do I mean? Think about the last thing that caused you fear. What caused you fear about that situation? It wasn’t the actual news of the situation. The thing that caused you fear was the expected outcome of that news. I remember the time that I was first asked to preach. I was full of fear. I was beyond afraid. Why? Because of what I believed. I believed that I could fail or not be received well. And because I had FAITH that something bad was going to happen, I ended up being bound fear. What I’m saying is this; fear is not the opposite or absence of faith. Fear is actually the fullness of faith in a negative outcome. Fear is faith that has been misplaced.
With that being said, I believe this is why fear is sin. Fear steals all of your faith and demands that all of your faith is placed in an outcome that will cause you anxiety and worry. Our faith is suppose to be in Christ, and Him alone. But what fear does, is takes that faith and places it in an expected end that does not bring God glory. Fear is sin because it no longer allows your faith to be in Christ.
I know this blog has probably been a bit of an abrupt attack on fear, but let me make this personal. Not too long ago, I was on a missions trip and was being driven to an area where we would have to face a muslim tribe, and there was a possibility of losing our lives. As we were on this drive to the countryside, I remember fear began to creep up in my heart, and I began to have a quiet conversation with the Lord. I began to explain to the Lord that I was afraid of losing my life, and I was scared to finish the mission. In all honesty, I told the Lord that I wanted to abort the mission because I was so scared. The Lord let me finish venting, and when my heart had settled a bit on this drive to my impending death (LOL), I gently but heard the Lord say, “Do. It. Scared.” Whoaaaaa. Those three words changed everything for me immediately.
Do it scared. See, For the longest I had believed that overcoming fear meant that I would no longer have the “feeling” of fear. But the Lord in those three words let me know that we won’t always escape the feeling of fear, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t escape fear. See, this is why the Holy Spirit is initially introduced to us in the New Testament as The Comforter. He’s the Comforter to us quite often because there are things that the Lord requires of us that will cause fear to arise, and the only way to overcome fear is to allow the Comforter to comfort you as you actually overcome fear.
What do I mean? Someone asked me to pray for them, that they would be able to do something that God had asked them to do. I asked them why I needed to pray for them and they proceeded to tell me that they were so scared and afraid. And in the most pastoral spirit, I laughed and told them, “I’m not going to pray for you. Because the only way to overcome fear is to do that thing that fear doesn’t want you to do.” Fear doesn’t disappear with a magical prayer and the laying on hands. The only way you’re gonna overcome fear in your life, is by constantly facing those fears head on and doing the very things that fear doesn’t want you to do. You’ll come to realize that as you face fear head on, the things that used to cause you great anxiety and worry, no longer do, because you’ve placed your faith out of doubt and into Christ and you’ve become stronger in your ability to find comfort in the Holy Spirit.
So all this to say…do it scared. Preach scared if you have to. Go on that missions trip scared if you have to. Witness to that person on the street scared if you must. But whatever you do, don’t give into fear. Don’t let fear fool you into thinking that your fear is a better investment of your faith. Place your faith in the fact that God is for you and not against. It’s ok to be scared as you try to accomplish what God has for you. We are in these earthly suits, and our body and mind reacts to God’s assignments in a way that opposes our true faith. In this season force your spirit to rise up above your flesh and your mind. Force your flesh to submit to your faith and DO IT SCARED.