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August 18, 2018

Following Christ Without Fear

Swift Share!

Fear of harm and what is to come in the future which is seldom predictable is one of the many things that hinder most of Christ’s followers into following faithfully the direction, precepts, and exemplary life of the master – Jesus Christ. Significant numbers of Christians no longer live as expected of them due to fear of being assaulted, insulted or even killed by the fanatics of Christianity; heretics and the violent members of other religious sects. Often times we (Christians) are so much intimidated that we can’t speak for Christ our leader, guide and epitome of our faith. (Jn. 7:13, 12:42-43). As a result of falling into this social and religious intimidation, our goal of evangelization of Christ’s message of salvation is hindered and left unaccomplished.
Jesus said “… do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot afterwards do anything worse … fear God, who, after killing, has the authority to throw into hell. Believe me, he is the one you must fear!” (Lk. 12:4-5). When we believe and trust in the Lord, fear evaporates from us (cf. 1Sam 14:6). A Christian with unshakeable faith in God and his promises is not afraid of trials and troubles (Acts 5:17-18); because the spirit of God who inspires us to have faith in Him, and who guides our hearts and minds into serving him faithfully fills us with power and does not make us timid (2Tim. 1:7).
It is obvious that Jesus conceived that to “follow him truly” is not an easy task; it is not a place of comfort. Christianity is not a bed of roses. It is a one-way adventure that does not look back nor take time to look and gather pleasures and pleasurable seen by the sides of the highway. A Christian does not look back; he is not bothered by obstacles on the way. The mandate is ‘thou must keep moving’. If our fathers in faith were drawn back by fear of sword, torture, detainment and death, the church would have not been where it is now. “The church is built on blood of the martrys and Apostles”. Christians need to be courageous; without fear even of death for Christ’s sake (Luke 9:24-25). Fear should not excuse us from God’s work (cf. Jgs. 7:10 -11) because God’s love to us is assured (cf. Gen 46:3-46). Fear stays away from us as long as we remain faithful (cf. Joshua 1:5).
We are obliged to follow Christ without fear because it is only in Him that the mission of our earthly life is accomplished. We follow him without fear because we fear him than all other fear-inflicting agents on earth. This is why we don’t seem to take note of pains we face in the course of
following him. Just like any other DON’T God has ever pronounced; DON’T FEAR is a command; a call to obedience, and certainly a prerequisite for serving him faithfully in all our endeavours.
When we are obedient to him and at all times faithful irrespective of circumstances, our friendly relationship with Him is affirmed and strengthened.
The scripture says “To fear the Lord is the first stage of wisdom” (Job 28:23). “Those who have fear and reverence for the Lord will learn from him the path they should follow” (Ps. 25:12). When we turn from evil we are enabled to understand God’s ways in our lives (Job 28:28).
Prophet Isaiah who was chosen and sent, filled with the spirit of God (Is. 61:1) received the mandate to follow and fear God in holiness, because he, (God), is holy: “With his great power, the Lord warned me not to follow the path which the people were following. He said: Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. Remember that, I, the Lord Almighty am Holy, I am the one you must fear…” (Is. 8:11-15). The emphasis “I am Holy” paints it clearly that only the Holy one should be feared. Since we are the people of the Lord (Ps. 100:3), we must obey him with fear (Ex. 19:5; Dt 4:26; 30:2, 8, 10, 16; 1Jn. 5:2) and serve him in holiness all our days (Lk. 1:75).
As the Psalmist says: “The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope for his love, to rescue their souls from death; to keep them alive in famine” (Ps. 33:18-19). When we fear the Lord and serve him faithfully and fearlessly he will grant us protection (Ps. 91:14-16) and deliver us from the hands of our enemies and those who hate us (Ps. 44:5-7; 64:7-10).
In following Christ without fear, there is a dire need to always be ready and willing from within to deny ourselves some comforts for the sake of Christ. We should be ready to sacrifice our feelings and desires for the conversion of souls and for the good of the church and those around us. Our life needs be good and exemplary one (Titus 2:7) such that in all things we please our brothers and sisters for their own good in order to build them up in faith (Rom. 15:2).
We must persevere in humility in the service of one another (1Pet. 5:5b-7) and never held back in doing good because of other people’s view of us (cf. Prov. 29:25) so as not be rejected by God and men of good will. We should not at all take offence nor get discouraged when we are insulted for the cause of following Christ,
because this means that the glorious spirit of God is resting on us (1Pet. 4:14); and as Jesus promised, a great reward awaits us in heaven (Mt. 5:12). St. Paul reveal the truth about the lives of true Christian who are suit as a firm foundation of faith that “Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus sake in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours” (2Cor. 4:11).
The focus of a faithful, diligent and fearful disciple is seen in the way the disciple follow the footsteps of his Master. Good deeds – especially in this context – obedience, come from good inner intention. A follower is not expected to put his hand where his master did not or did tell him not to.
To expel fear from us especially while attempting to focus on and face the future we need to be fortified by the strength and grace of the spirit of God. The Mission is tough, but, God’s will must be done; because after all; whether we live or die we are the Lord’s (). The Devil’s devices are very clear, appealing and deceitful; they look like what we want; just they are merely what the flesh wants. We can do without them. But, the flesh can not do without that which the spirit of God offer. Thence, we need not fear temptation, but courageously, wisely; logically; sensibly and objectively face them and deny the devil access into our hearts.
The pride of faithful followers of Christ is in shaming the devil. Even when we falter, the fear of God in us should compel us to come back to God and be reconciled with him since it is unrealistic to deny our human frailty (Ps. 51:5).
St. Paul prophesied that: “The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more teachers who will tell them what they need to hear. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends” (2Tim. 4:3). This is one of the modern challenges of the evangelical mission of the Apostolic Church. People feel free to interpret the truths of faith in their own ways as it pleases them, and they are not even afraid to teach the self-made gospels to others. Consequently the flock of Christ is scattered as people are blown left and right by winds of theologies, miracles, signs, and wonders. It is nothing to fear.

By William Shimbo

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