Hey River City! As you know, we are currently on a series on the book of Ephesians, and I am going to soon blog about some of the important themes we have been discussing. As an aside, I also wanted to share a just completed, 2-week blog series I did on fear, faith and courage (posted on my blog).
Did you know that the Bible repeats the command to "fear not" 365 times in the Bible? (conveniently once for every day of the year) The fact that this command is repeated so often only begins to foreshadow the vast importance of this topic. Whatever we fear is what we are ultimately subject to, which is why we must fully place our trust in the heart and character of God.
Fear, Faith and Courage are interwoven with every one of our three pillars at River City. The writer of Proverbs says, "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9.10). This has a direct tie to worship - the person filled with divine wisdom is the one who is able to see that the only thing we should truly fear is living our lives independent of God. Worship brings us closer to the heart and character of God, and allows us to see God for who he really is.
Worship should then compel us in love (2 Corinthians 5) to pursue the ministries of both reconciliation and justice. It goes without saying that any Christ follower who takes seriously these pursuits will often face tremendous amounts of personal fear, and will need courageous faith to follow Jesus into his redemptive purposes. Therefore courage becomes one of the really important human virtues, and I am convinced that courage can only be developed alongside of faith. Positive thinking, mind games, and pop psychology can only take us so far. Ultimately, we need the power of God to help us overcome our fears.
That is why the Bible so regularly commands us to "fear not." There is no expectation that we won't fear - we cannot be finite human beings without feeling afraid at time. Instead, the expectation is that we would learn to hear and see God in the midst of our fear, and courageously move towards him in faith during those vulnerable moments.
Here is a recap of the 7 posts I wrote, each with a different perspective on the relationship between fear, faith, and courage. I hope and pray that courageous faith is something every one of us can take positive steps towards this year!
If there is anything that strikes you in particular, I would love to hear about it in the comments section!