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Of Whom are You Afraid?

“Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 KJV)

How did you approach the public health mandates (e.g. required masking, vaccines, etc.) issued by governments and employers over the last few years? Did you choose to comply or not comply with them? Why, or why not? How does a Christian decide their answer to questions like these and many more?

Ultimately, these kinds of questions involve fear, especially the fear of death. What does it mean to be in bondage to the fear of death? And what does it mean to be delivered from the fear of death? Do you recognize your fear?

How the Believer Handles Fear

Is fear evil? Or, rather, is it a false fear, a fear of the wrong things that is evil? Jesus gives us the answer: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28 KJV).

For the believer, our lives are defined by what (or rather Who) we fear. The natural man fears the loss of this earthly life, and those things that make this life pleasant and long lasting. But the believer fears the loss of his soul and of eternal life in the presence of God forever.

How do believers in Jesus walk in godly fear? We have to “hate” this life in comparison to eternal life. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27 NET).

In other words, you cannot live as if to save your life from loss. “Then he said to them all, 'If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26 NET).

To the natural man the loss of this earthly live is huge because that’s all he has. He does not have the eternal perspective that he needs to wisely choose things that preserve eternal life. Instead, he clings to worthless idols. “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14 KJV).

The Heavenly Message cannot be embraced by the natural man – it is foolish to him, but not to the believer. In fact, the wisdom of this world is on a high-speed collision course with God’s eternal plans. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent…hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (I Cor. 1:18-20 KJV).

Where are You Getting Your Wisdom?

What wisdom are you depending on? “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:21-25 KJV).

The believer must embrace the lowly, unpopular road of God’s wisdom. In doing so, God gets the glory, and by redemption, we are transformed beyond our own ability to improve ourselves. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 KJV). In this way, the believer has a huge advantage over the wisest natural man because he is able to receive knowledge and truth from God. This overcomes the limitations of fleshly knowledge because the believer can connect directly with the mind of Christ. This means that as spiritual men, we make our decisions from the Heavenly perspective, not the earthly.

Heaven’s Perspective Changes Everything

When we see things from a Heavenly mindset, it changes how we engage in each area of our lives.

Our words are not earthly: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God” (I Cor. 2:1 KJV).

Our actions are by the moving of the Spirit: “…my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Cor. 2:4-5 KJV).

Our wisdom is heavenly: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (I Cor. 2:7 KJV).

Our wisdom is revealed to us by God’s Spirit: ”God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10 KJV).

Our judgment is spiritual, from the mind of Christ: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Co 2:16 KJV).

Our suffering is a form of fellowship with Christ’s death in the Cross, while looking forward to the resurrection of the dead: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11 KJV).

Our daily goal is to press towards the mark the high calling in Jesus Christ: “…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14 KJV).

Our association is with those who have the same mindset – and we steer clear of those who do not: “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example” (Phil. 3:16-17 KJV).

Our goal is heaven: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Phil. 3:20 KJV)

Whom do You Fear?

So what or who do you fear? And how does fear impact your decisions? Going back, for example, to the question of the recent health mandates, the question is not so much whether you did or didn’t wear a mask or get the vaccine, as to why you did what you did. Did you do it in fear of death or by your faith in God? Of course, that question applies to every area of our life. Does fear affect how we raise our children, why we homeschool, why we eat what we eat, why we go the places we go, how we handle our relationships, and beyond?

Whatever the situation is, believers have a very high standard to follow: “For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. …The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves. But the man who doubts is condemned [in what he does], because he does not do so from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:28, 22-23 NET)

We must be mindful that the natural man gets his approval from men, but the believer gets his approval from God: “Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!” (Gal 1:10 NET)

As slaves of Christ, we fear Him above pleasing people (Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-24 NET). And our obedience to men is always directed first by our obedience to God. We obey “in the Lord”, or “for the Lord’s sake” (Acts 5:29; 24:16; I Peter 2:19; 3:21 KJV).

In the days approaching, we are going to see ever-increasing challenges in this arena of obeying God and not man. Be honest in recognizing your fears. Seek God’s wisdom in every situation and then obey Him in faith, not in fear of man. Do you have ready access to the mind of Christ? We need that now more than ever! As Jesus warned, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 KJV)

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