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facing fears

Any life worth living will have its share of fears.

In our current teaching series at Mountainview, we’re using the story of Benaiah (2 Samuel 23:20-23) to highlight what a life of passion looks like.  In the course of one paragraph, Benaiah squares off against two Moabites, a 500-lb lion, and a huge Egyptian.  Given that the invention of Prozac is still centuries away, it’s likely Benaiah had a few fears.

This is an important point: a life of passion is not one in which fears are absent.  That sort of life would be mundane, not magnificent.  A life of passion is one in which our largest, scariest fears are out-sized by our faith in God.

As we headed into communion, I shared a story about Abraham Lincoln that Walt Whitman first wrote about in 1882:

In the gloomiest period of the war, he [President Lincoln] had a call from a large delegation of bank presidents.  In the talk after business was settled, one of the big Dons asked Mr. Lincoln if his confidence in the permanency of the Union was not beginning to be shaken — whereupon the homely President told a little story.  “When I was a young man in Illinois,” said he, “I boarded for a time with a Deacon of the Presbyterian church.  One night I was roused from my sleep by a rap at the door, and I heard the Deacon’s voice exclaiming ‘Arise, Abraham, the day of judgment has come!’  I sprang from my bed and rushed to the window, and saw the stars falling in great showers!  But looking back of them in the heavens I saw all the grand old constellations with which I was so well acquainted, fixed and true in their places.  Gentlemen, the world did not come to an end then, nor will the Union now.”

For those of us who are Christ-followers, we must learn to look beyond whatever fears we may be facing and see the presence of the cross.  When we “fix our eyes” on the cross, we see God’s declaration of his power.  He defeats not only our fears, but our adversary as well.

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:3-5)