Let Jesus be your fear and He will be a sanctuary, right? What happens when what should be “sanctuaries”– at least in the physical sense – become synagogues of fear instead of refuge?
If we look around, we can see how fear is used to control people. Terrorists do this, for example. Media does this. Our own government that is supposed to be “by the people and for the people” does this – but, this isn’t a political piece or a rip on the media. That’s just too simple. Instead, I want you to consider a different kind of fear-mongering—the kind that comes from within what should be the safest spaces of all. The church.
Yeah, I know. Here I go again, right? Keep in mind, I know there are some ministers with buildings that do a descent job of growing faith-filled, Spirit-led believers. I don’t know any personally, but that’s just because I haven’t looked all that hard over recent years (something I intend to change. A story for another time, maybe).
Even so, there is a great deal of fear-based ministry – both within and without the traditional Christian systems – that leads people away from faith and trust in the Lord, and instead kills, steals, and destroys.
We should be taught about fear of the Lord. But, what does that mean? I’ve written about that, so I don’t want to get into it here. I do want to consider what fear of the Lord does not mean. I want to consider one word that strips people of faith and places them in an unproductive fear.
Are we being taught legalism or life? The law kills remember? But Jesus makes ALIVE!
How abundantly are we seeing LIFE preached? How abundantly are we seeing freedom from sin preached? Or, are we told that we cannot be perfect. We will always sin. Yet…stop sinning. Just stop. Oh, and another thing. If you don’t do (fill in the blank), you’re not a real Christian and you will burn in hell forever. Ladies, keep that hair long and never wear pants. Men, make sure your family keeps the Sabbath and observes the feast days.
Hey, wait! No. The churches today are nothing more than steeple houses and synagogues of Satan. Get out or die!! (I’ve been that. Live and learn, right?)
If I got into all the ways fear is used in Christianity wrongly, this would be a long and boring article. It is a big problem though, and it’s all rooted in legalistic, letter of the law obedience to man’s traditions rather than learning sound doctrine and understanding that we walk after the Spirit rather than the letter.
I get it. This is something I’ve struggled with. I still do, but I think the Lord is leading me away from this more and more. We want to be pleasing to God. We respect Him and therefore we want to obey Him. That’s a good thing. But, when we start laying law down on others and judge their salvation based on these things, that is not good. When fear starts dwindling faith instead of building trust in Jesus, that is not good.
The promise of life abundantly goes a lot further in growing a faith-filled, Spirit-led Christian than false hell-fire sermons or legalistic “holiness.” Our righteousness is as filthy rags, right?
What is Life Abundantly?
When Jesus and the apostles spoke of life abundantly, do you suppose they meant we would be rich, popular, well fed, and be filled with things the world offers in abundance? No. He meant abundance in the kingdom of God. Abundance in righteousness.
The only way we can please God and live according to His righteousness is through the Spirit given by the sacrifice of the Son, Jesus. He will teach us how to walk according to love, peace, and faith – not by our power or by the traditions of Christian systems, but according to His perfect and pleasing will that’s incorruptible by loopholes and hypocrisy. He makes us free from the grip and destruction of sin. That is life abundant! It is a gift of grace though God-given faith.
We know that salvation is by grace not works, so why do we insist on works?
When we try to please God by our own power, no amount of good works is enough. We absolutely cannot be righteous on our own, and no amount of church going or letter of the law obedience will be enough. We will corrupt righteousness at every turn. It is our nature. We need a NEW NATURE. Only Jesus can do this.
Yes, works are a result of faith that is alive and not dead, but the works are of Jesus in us, not by our own ability. Not by power or might, but by Spirit! We should all strive to worship Jesus in Spirit and Truth. That is what pleases Him. But, the catch is, we cannot unless He gives this to us!
What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Everything we have is given to us. From the first moment of faith until the day we are resurrected, every aspect of our growing up in to children of God is GIVEN, not something we must do ourselves. There is no law according to the laws of man good enough. We need the law according to the kingdom of God – a law that we can only perform by Him and through Him.
We should submit ourselves to Him with the understanding that any good thing in us is an act of His mercy and love. We should understand that no man knows God as he aught to know Him, and we are all on a journey upward according to the promises of the Son who will give us life abundantly and serve as our refuge from sin. We will suffer. We are not promised a cushy life. But, we are promised resurrection and a most wonderful inheritance that is wrought in faith and fear of the Lord – not fear of the man or man’s legalistic fear of the Lord.
Man’s forms of fear keep you under the control of sin — often while sitting in a church pew listening to sermons of fear-mongering traditions — killing your faith and destroying your peace and trust in Jesus Christ.
This article is part of the series, Faith VS Fear and the Duality of God.