Advent 23: Worst Case Scenario Faith (or Life + Fan = ?)

13  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:13-18 (ESV)

Life can be quite distracting.  Life is messy, filled with ups and downs and busyness and stuff to do and people to see and places to go and schedules to keep and work to do and commitments to honor and overtime to work and… and… and… and…

And somehow God gets lost in the shuffle.  And when we lose sight of God, when we no longer seek Him first or fervently – or even regularly… It isn’t that more bad things happen in our lives.  It’s the fact that we are now left of center (Christ being the center of our lives, remember?)  And if our faith is skewed or weak, we are more vulnerable to fear and worry and doubt.

Especially when life hits the fan.

Everybody has faith.  The problem is that, for some people, that faith is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of losing control.  Fear of flying.  Fear of dying.  Fear of spiders and/or snakes.  Fear of loss.  You name it.  If you can imagine it, there’s a phobia for it.  (In fact, the Greek word translated “fear” in Scripture is phobos.)

You see, fear is worst case scenario faith.  It is the assurance of bad things unseen, and results unwanted.  And, if we are not staying rooted in our faith in God – our Steadfast Heavenly Father, Love Himself, the Almighty Creator of all, the Great I AM – then we are vulnerable to fear.

The greatest danger of fear isn’t the consequences we dread, but the fact that fear blocks faith.  It leads to worry and doubt and anxiety.  Fear is faith against God.

4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

Notice that rejoicing in the Lord is “reasonableness”.  This is because, when we fear, we are choosing to believe in a negative we cannot be certain of, because we do not know what the future brings.  However, when we walk in faith in God, we can trust in and rest on God’s unchanging character, His unwavering promises, His steadfast love, His mercy and grace and peace…

Peace – the peace of God guards our hearts.  Protects us from the irrational thoughts birthed in fear.  Protects us from the lies we choose to accept instead of the glory we should be seeking.

Regardless of circumstances, seek God first.  Trust in Him.  Love Him.  Rest in Him.  Believe in Him.  Keep your faith intact and your spirit in tune.  Don’t ponder the painful possibilities.  Dwell on God and His Word and His Truth.

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