WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

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WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

What are you afraid of? What keeps you up at night? Many things, I’ll bet. The Chinese have a saying, ‘The rich have their problems, and the poor have their problems.’ And as a geographer, I can attest to the fact that no matter where on the development curve a country is, there is just no getting rid of problems. The moment one gets solved, another rears its ugly head. So no matter where you are in life, there are always things that are worrying you.

But have you seen people who are getting ready to leave a company? They have tendered their resignation and are just biding their time. While they are counting down the days to their impending departure, it seems like an invisible force field has surrounded them. They start to feel and behave like they are invincible. And, in some sense, they are. After all, they do have only a couple of days or at most weeks left. What can management do? So the bosses stick it to them by loading them with work. It doesn’t faze them because they just don’t care. They know that completing their tasks is now no longer an issue. They are leaving for greener pastures. There is an expiry date to whatever pain their bosses try and dish out, so it just doesn’t bother them anymore. This feeling of liberation is so powerful, I have seen mice turn into Super-men just based on this feeling alone.

But beloved, do you realize that for us, we should have this feeling of liberation too?

“I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.” Luke 12:4-5 [MSG]

For us, beloved, for us who have put our faith in Jesus, we are no longer bound to this earth and the powers that control it.

“For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].” Romans 6:14 [AMPC]
When you put your trust in Jesus, you are no longer a subject of the world.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

For “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:3-11 [ESV]

But problems still do exist. Worries still do come flooding in. Bills still need to be paid. And the collective stresses of all these earthly things do get to us. But what if we were to don the same glasses of the people who have resigned from their jobs? What if we were to look at our problems from the perspective of one who knows that there is an expiry date to our pain? Try this on for size; if you know that the world was going to end tomorrow, would any of your worries matter?

Now, I’m not advocating that from now on, we be irresponsible and shirk our duties. Do them. Complete them. See through our tasks to the best of our abilities. But just like the person who is leaving the company in a couple of days, don’t worry about them. So you have bills left unpaid when the world ends. What of it? So you could not finish that project before the world ends. What of it? For beloved, this is the eventuality that we are looking forward to.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”” Revelation 21:1-4

That’s right, beloved, when we put our faith in Jesus, we effectively resigned from this world. Read it right, beloved, we resigned FROM this world, NOT TO this world. Jesus has already set a ‘last day’ to our pain, our stress and our sorrow and so we should be living in and living out the freedom that Jesus died to give us. For indeed,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

The old things, the thought of being tied to this world, being bound by the problems of this world, having to meet the demands of this world; all these old things have passed away. And while we still must and should do our best in fulfilling our duties because in doing so we are setting a good example for others to see and be drawn to Christ, we are no longer bound by the finality that this world sets. For us, there is something better to look forward to and we should always keep our eyes on that. That is why Jesus said,

“I tell you, as friends of mine, that you need not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but afterwards cannot do anything more. I will show you the only one you need to fear—the one who, after he has killed, has the power to throw you into destruction! Yes, I tell you, it is right to stand in awe of him. The market-price of five sparrows is two farthings, isn’t it? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, the very hairs of your heads are all numbered! Don’t be afraid, then; you are worth more than a great many sparrows! I tell you that every man who publicly acknowledges me, I, the Son of Man, will acknowledge in the presence of the angels of God. But the man who publicly disowns me will find himself disowned before the angels of God!” Luke 12:4-9 [PHILLIPS]

What is of greater consequence, the temporal or the eternal? What is therefore of greater importance, the temporal or the eternal? So who then is deserving of greater awe, worship, and ultimately, trust, the one who is in charge of only the here and now, or the one who created time itself? Obvious isn’t it?

But what about the here and now? Beloved, don’t forget. Even the sparrows are not forgotten by our Father. For remember how He rescued them during the great flood of Noah’s time? So since you are worth so much more than they are, since our Father put so much care into making you, that He even numbered the very hairs on your head, since you have unabashedly declared your love for Him by putting your faith in Him, how can He turn His back on you? Doing that would defy even the most basic of human logic, what more now that Jesus has promised that He will acknowledge us in the presence of the angels of God?

So what about the here and now? Well beloved, here is what Jesus has to say,

“Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!” Luke 12:32 [AMPC]

That’s right, beloved, do not be paralyzed by fear for tomorrow. Our Father delights in giving you all that is His. This is your inheritance. And just in case, you think that this supply is some ethereal intangible supply, Jesus goes on to say,

“Sell what you possess and give donations to the poor; provide yourselves with purses and handbags that do not grow old, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33 [AMPC]

Even if you have to give up what you have right now, it is alright. Even if what you have right now is taken from you, it is alright. Because all that you have right now, all the possessions, all the land, all the riches, yes, even the pain; they are all temporal, belonging to this earth, and will one day pass away. But your supply from Heaven, the very supply that gave you all that you own, that furnished you with all the good things which you have surrounded yourself with; that supply is unfailing, inexhaustible, held where thieves cannot steal and moth does not destroy. So when you need something, just make a withdrawal from that never ending supply through prayer and you will receive, for Jesus said,

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

I read an article from a young lady who claims that she had fallen out of faith in God. She said that since there are only 2 billion Christians in this world of 7 billion, she reckons that if those who do not believe are going to hell, then she would be one of that number; and to her, that is perfectly fine, there is safety in numbers. But you know what beloved, I hazard to guess that if we ask her if it is still fine with her that she is going to hell at that very moment she is about to enter hell, her answer will be very different. That is why Jesus said,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23

Perspective is very important. What is most immediate often clouds our judgement and blots out everything else, so much so that very often, we can’t see past the here and now. It doesn’t matter if the here and now is not really important. Because it is the here and now, because it takes up so much space in our mind’s eye, we can’t see anything else. Beloved, remember what Jesus said,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34 [AMPC]

Never forget that ours is the kingdom of Heaven, given not out of obligation, but out of our Father’s love for us. Never forget that we have already resigned FROM this earth and not TO this earth. We are merely biding our time here, waiting our final day. So don’t be distracted from the work which we are to do, and it is this,

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29

Stay the course. Fix your eyes on that which is eternal. Remember that this world is not our home, we are just passing through. And trust that for anything that we may encounter along the way,

He will “…make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” 2 Corinthians 9:8 [AMPC]

Because He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

Enjoy your resignation from this world. You have nothing else to fear.

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