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I have been going through each chapter of Jon Walker‘s  Costly Grace. This recently published book is a contemporary look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s classic book,  The Cost of Discipleship. Chapter 25 is called: “Becoming Like Jesus in Our Faith.” The chapter begins with the following words by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“The same God who sees no sparrow fall to the ground without his knowledge and will, allows nothing to happen, except it be good and profitable for his children and the cause for which they stand.  We are in God’s hands.  Therefore, ‘Fear not.'”

There will be circumstances that will bring fear and uncertainty to us.  These are the times to develop our closeness with the Lord Jesus.  It is a time to trust him!  Walker states:

The emotion of fear is not a sign of unbelief, but to allow fear to shape and condition what you do is a sign of unbelief…There are two reasons why the disciples of Jesus need not fear:

  • First, we abide with Christ.
  • Second, our future is certain.

Fear will either reveal our faith or show the lack of our faith.  An Old Testament example of this is when the twelve spies were sent into the Promised Land in Numbers chapter 13.  When they returned, ten of them were fearful of going into the Promised Land because the inhabitants were too big and powerful.  Only Caleb and Joshua had the faith to believe that with God on their side, they could take the land.  Fear, in that case, should have strengthened the faith of all twelve spies.  Fear should also cause us to run to Jesus and trust that he will protect and guide us.

Since God is much bigger than any person or situation we face, we can have the freedom from what people think about us or do to us.  Even if they kill us, that is the best they can do.  Our fear should not be of people, but of God who “has the authority to decide where we will spend eternity.”  Bonhoeffer put it this way:

“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.  All preachers of the gospel will do well to recollect this saying daily.”

Fear has the ability to shape our agenda.  We can make choices based on fear rather than faith in Jesus.  I believe Walker hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

Our fears, then, terrorize us into chronic spiritual immaturity where we’re held hostage to our worries and doubts.  It keeps us from developing an intimate trust in Jesus and keeps us isolated.  Fear whispers in our ear that we face dangers alone, that God is unaware of our plight and that Jesus is unavailable in our time of need.  Worse, when fear suggests we are alone, it implies the Holy Spirit is no longer active in our lives.  And it is nothing short of heresy…

But God is taking care of us.  Everything, including the things we fear, are being worked together by God for our ultimate good.  Praise the Lord!  He wants us to fear us from our fears so that we can live lives of power and grace and spiritual fruit.  Freedom from fear will show the world that we are members of the Kingdom of God.  Walker wrote:

Jesus is not an important part of your life; he is your life.  His life envelops and saturates all that you are.  If you try to find your life apart from Jesus, you will lose it; but if you lose your life in Christ, then you will live an extraordinary life energized by the life of Christ within you.

An example of Fallen Thinking:

I fear what others may do, think, or say about me.

An example of Kingdom Thinking:

There is no need for me to be afraid because God is in control of this situation.

May we all live trusting fully the Lord Jesus!

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