As I have opportunity to work with people in several different churches and interact with people from all around the country, I find most people in the church operate on a fear mentality. Constantly I find people who are afraid of what others will do or say if change is initiated in the church. Repeatedly I come across people who live in fear that this whole thing called the church is going to come crashing down. Now, during these economic hard times, many are concerned for the continued financial viability of the church. The most tragic product of this fear mentality is people who sit around longing for something more, something greater, yet are paralyzed by fear.
The only thing we are to fear is the Lord. This is not intended to be fear as in be afraid of God. Rather we are to fear the fact that God is all powerful, and that God is God and we are not. To me the fear of the Lord is remembering the relationship we have to God appropriately. Paul reminds young Timothy we are not given a spirit of fear and timidity, rather a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Still we languish in fear.
What would have happened in the heros of our faith would have stopped because of fear. Abram, never left for the land God would show him. David passed on confronting Goliath. The prophets chose to be silent. Jesus gave in to the temptations of Satan. Would our journey be different? You bet. We would then have a legacy of people who thought about doing something, but didn't. Sounds like the church. There is great discussion about doing something for the sake of Christ, yet often fear steals the ambition. Friends, this should not be.
Be bold, be confrontational, be loving, be self-disciplined, be compassionate, but for the sake of Christ stop being fearful. So what if people do not like what you do or say, the majority went against Jesus. So what if you are pushed to the edges, Jesus showed preferential treatment for those on the margins. The last thing this world needs in more fear. What the world so desperately needs is men and women, old and young, to step to the plate and lead in spite of fear. To say what must be said, and lead where we must be lead. Anything less and we are falling short of who God created us to be.