Fear is powerful. It is a very effective tool in the art of manipulating people. I believe that Satan understands with great clarity just how easy it is to scare God's children. Sadly, it's even worse than that. To our dismay, we are often scared right out of our belief in the power of God to work within and beyond our set of fearful circumstances. In our fear, our fragile faith begins to question the very secure standing we already possess in the grace, mercy, and provision of Jesus Christ. We're basically scared right out of our effectiveness for Jesus, as we question His power in our life. We're shaken loose from the very things that should be foundational.
Where there is fear, there is darkness, and where there is darkness, there is no peace.
Colossians 3:15 is clear... "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."
The word for peace in this verse is the Greek word eiréné, which simply means 'peace, quietness' or 'rest.' However, a deeper and much more interesting characteristic of this word is the fact that it is derived from the Greek word eirō, which means 'joined together' or 'tied together as a whole.' Peace through a union with Christ...
We are called to be joined together with God through the completed work of Jesus Christ.
We are to be one with Christ through His Lordship in our life, and it is only in that union that we will ever find lasting, unshakeable, and irreplaceable peace.
When we are not at peace, Christ is not at the helm. When Christ is not at the helm, the very delicate balancing act between faith and fear is often lost to the impending darkness. Consequently, our light for Christ is dimmed, or even extinguished, because of our petrifying fear of the darkness encroaching upon us. In the absence of the light, the darkness will reign.
The darkness being discussed here in the quotation from R.C. Sproul is the activity of Satan in our life and in our world. It can be our sin nature, or possibly the evil activities of Satan prowling among us as a roaring lion...a lion seeking someone to completely devour. Either way, darkness brings with it conditions and feelings that are distinctively adept at diminishing our faith and our 'light' as God's children. These conditions and feelings can birth in us a crippling fear. Just as we have no peace when we attempt to remove Christ from the helm of our life, God's light fails to illuminate the darkness when we embrace fear. Instead of choosing to be strong and grounded in empowering faith, we fall prey to the uncertainty of the developing shadows, and God's light in us is rendered ineffective. It is simply not allowed to shine.
We are called to be light to a world of darkness...
Matthew 5:14-16 states: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
If we have a higher degree of devotion in embracing fear than we do in the engagement of faith, then darkness will always reign. In our life, the light of Christ will only shine if it is allowed to shine. Will we serve in faith, or will we hide in fear? It's our decision to make...faith versus fear...light versus darkness. It's unfortunate that light is best seen as a result of dispelling the darkness around it, because, for the child of God, it is that very darkness that seems to destroy our light. Child of God, let it not be so.
John 16:33 tells us: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Trouble is coming. Darkness will emerge. We are warned of this in God's Word. This warning should be a call to catalyze our relentless pursuit of Almighty God, and it should dictate to us that we do not need to ration our recognition of God's faithfulness for only the moments when things are good. Our light for Christ should shine the brightest in the moments of the most extreme darkness. We were created for this purpose.
We need to understand that our purpose on this earth is not to cower behind the perceived gravity of dark situations, but it is to stand up, firmly planted in the faith, power and provision of God, and be the light of Christ. Our light can only shine when we overcome our weak tendency to allow fear to consume us. It is Christ that loved us enough to die for our weaknesses. It is Christ that we should love, and it is in that perfect love that we thrive. It is also in that perfect love where fear is cast out (1 John 4:18).
For the darkness to be dispelled, Christ must shine. We are designed to be reflections of the light of Christ in a world that is becoming increasingly darkened by the unchecked evil of Satan. The walk of the Follower of Christ should be marked by great faith...a faith that produces the abundant and radiant light of Jesus Christ.
God has never failed us, even through our faithlessness, and He will never fail us. In that fact alone, our foundation should be built on an unshakeable trust in the power of God. That trust should solidify our desire to 'live out loud' for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. The light of Jesus should resonate in our every word...and fear should be diminished in the perfect love offered only by One so great as He.
Child of God...the Dispeller of Darkness and the Light of the World lives within you.
So..."Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16 KJV)
Don't let fear hide Jesus in you. Lives are in the balance. There's work to be done, and that work will only be accomplished in the Light.
Be the light.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!