Love vs Fear
Yes And No.
Who could have ever imagined the impact those two words would have on our society?
To be upfront and clear, this is not a blog about same-sex marriage or the gender debate that rages within our country. It’s a blog about a rapidly changing culture, standing for Christ, and the cost of following Jesus. The fact is, in so many ways the persecuted church has never been more vital to the survival of the church here in Australia.
In a culture that is less and less receptive to Jesus, it has never been more important to know why we follow Him, how to follow Him, and what it means to stand for Him no matter the cost.
As a ministry we’ve been working tirelessly for more than 60 years to predict shifts in culture, governments and religions, trying to stay ahead of the curve and strengthen the Church to withstand persecution and suffering. Now, for the first time in the history of the ministry, we are witnessing the rise of intolerant atheism and a lukewarm church in the West. The impact of which is terrifying.
This is a way of life which is synonymous with the persecuted church.
This article featured in Frontline Faith Magazine - Love > Fear, click here to read.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a pastor in Egypt in May 2014. He told me about evangelising to a Muslim. He said it’s like standing opposite someone with a big brick wall separating you. Each brick in that wall represents a question. As you answer those questions a brick can be removed, and slowly but surely the wall comes down. Soon it’s low enough to see their eyes and you can begin to form a bond. After more questions are answered and bricks are removed, the wall is low enough to get your hands through and you can hug them (but you can’t walk with them). As you answer more questions, the wall gets low enough that you can get a leg through and begin to walk with them.
So how many questions in that brick wall can you answer? Are you ready for when you’re faced with issues that challenge your faith, value structures or belief systems?
Image: Mike's field notes from Egypt
The way I see it there are two responses: Love or Fear
More often than not our natural tendency is to choose fear. It is by far the easier option and not only that, it feels better too!
Fear is characterised by inaction, in amatory talk, speculation and judgement. Fear often starts with ignorance and a lack of knowledge of someone else. Fear is a spiral, and it only breeds more fear.
So what’s our other option? Love.
The scary thing about love is that it requires, no... it demands a response. Love is characterised by action and that’s terrifying for us.
Love is what made Jesus’ walk on earth so profound. Instead of inciting fear he challenged people to love, and look how that worked out for Him!
Think about the “church” of that time and how they responded (accepted) Jesus’ challenge. They were some of his greatest accusers and individuals (people like you and I). They constantly wrestled with the cost of love and what it meant for their family, career and well being – disciples included.
So, how do we move from fear to love?
The only way to make that transition is to start with hope. Because hope is the only thing that overcomes fear and forms a bridge to change. A bridge from fear to love, inaction to action and no commission to Great Commission.
What does love look like?
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) we read:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
We often read this at weddings but have you ever tried reading as though it were a response to fear, discrimination or terror? It becomes some of the most powerful words you’ll ever read, and some of the hardest to live by! Can you imagine what a society driven by this kind of love would look like?
Love is a process. It takes time, patience, courage and trust. Love IS greater than fear.
We hated Jesus and persecuted him, but he didn’t wait to be loved. He did something unthinkable. He loved first.
In a culture that is driven by fear, desperately trying to get us to stand for everything and nothing, now is the time to show the world that Jesus is worth everything!
This article featured in Frontline Faith Magazine - Love > Fear.