DayBreaks for 9/20/17: Who Are You Afraid Of?
Note: Galen is traveling this week.
From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:
Some time ago I shared a DayBreaks about a prayer walk I participated in through downtown San Francisco. I shared that when we came to the Tenderloin part of town that I had some fear. The people were unkempt, it is an area given to violence. The looks in their eyes were contemptuous and hard.
In reading further in Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship, chapter 25 talks about the decision that people must make to be disciples. Here’s what he had to say: “They (disciples) must not fear men. Men can do them no harm, for the power of men ceases with the death of the body. But they must overcome the fear of death with the fear of God. The danger lies not in the judgment of men, but in the judgment of God, not in the death of the body but in the eternal destruction of body and soul. Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men.”
This is, indeed, the crux of the issue. We are too attached to our bodies – we are so attached to this life that we fear losing it. No one would say that we would rather lose this life than the one to come. In hearing “…the power of men ceases with the death of the body” we find ourselves yelling out, “Yes, but that’s what I’m afraid of! I’m afraid of what may lead up to the death, too!” No one wants to suffer. If and since we all have to go, we all want to go quietly and peacefully. But to some, and to increasing numbers in our day and age throughout the world, He grants the privilege to suffer and die for Him. What gives Him the right to ask someone to do that? The fact that He first suffered and died for us. For you. For me. God has never asked us to do anything that He hasn’t first done Himself.
We live in a day and age filled with growing fear. We’re afraid of violence on the streets, of robbers breaking and entering, of rape in a dark parking lot, of terrorism striking into our community, of random shootings. We don’t like to admit that we are afraid. But it’s true. Jesus himself said we SHOULD be afraid in Luke 12.5: But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Did you notice – after He has told us to fear the great Judge of all mankind, He reiterates it in case we missed it: Yes, I tell you, fear him.
But doesn’t “perfect love cast out fear”? Yes. But in our culture, we’ve gone so far to the side of not fearing God, of seeing Him simply as a white-haired old gentleman with a toothless grin and kindly eyes, that we have forgotten His demand of holiness, of the fact that He can, and will, carry out judgment against sin and vengeance. God hates sin. All sin. It doesn’t matter what the sin is – He hates it. It must be punished. It must be paid for. Every single one of us deserves to be banished to outer darkness with Satan and his angels forever. Not one of us can stand on our own two feet before God’s throne, look Him in the eye and tell Him, “I deserve to be let into heaven!” On that day, no one will dare do such a thing. No, I have a feeling that when we stand before Him and are confronted with the absolute Holiness that is His alone, even though we are believers and His children, that we will fall on our faces in shame and yes, fear. But then – oh, praise God!!! – then, His very own Son will step forward and show God His nail-scarred hands and feet and say, “I’ve paid the price for this one. Let him/her in.” Then God will smile, nod His head in perfect and absolute agreement, Jesus will gently lift us up and tell us, “Welcome home!” as tears of joy stream down His face and mingle with our own tears of relief and thankfulness.
That day will come. We will stand before Him. Jesus holds our destiny in His hands. Thank God they are nail-scarred!
PRAYER: May we live boldly in the holy fear of You and You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>