In Honor of Halloween, a Word on Fear

Although this particular song is a little later than I prefer, I heard the song “Drive” from Incubus on my 90’s station the other day. I have always loved this song, but something struck a chord with my the other night as I listened to it.

If you haven’t heard it, the song revolves around how we often let fear drive our decisions and choices in life. The song writer is noting how often fear is in charge and is making the decision to take over the driver’s seat. I think this struck me particularly hard because I see a lot of fear driving people’s (my own included) choices right now.

I am now working in the oil and gas industry. And over the last month or so, a lot of business in this area has slowed down significantly. Many people in the industry are slowing production until they figure out who the next president will be (as if either one would come in and wipe out the oil industry!). But there is significant fear surrounding the election.

But while fear becomes the primary tool of the election season, we also see it play it out in regular life. We fear things not going our way. We fear that we might not lead a comfortable life. So we make decisions about money, relationships, jobs, insurance, etc based on the avoidance of things that make us uncomfortable.

We live a lot our Christian life based on fear as well. Maybe we fear those who are different from us. Maybe we assume that the Christian faith is in need of our defense and hostility towards others who might try to bring it down. Maybe we live in constant fear that we are doing it wrong, and God is just waiting to pounce on us. Maybe we even view grace like we do money. We don’t want to give too much away in case God runs out.

We all do it. It is part of human nature. But what if there was a better way?

1 John 4:18 says that perfect love drives out fear. In his new (and pretty fantastic) book, Shane Hipps shows that in this verse, John is showing that the opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. Fear and love are opposites, just like light and darkness are opposites.

One cannot exist when the other is present. We either live in love. Or we live in fear.

I want to live a life where fear doesn’t have the wheel. It seems like such a better way to live. But in order to this, I may have to make some radical shifts. Because so much of my life is run by fear.

The way we do this is to trust. If perfect love drives out fear, then I need to trust the only One who loves me perfectly. This means that even when things don’t turn out my way or get uncomfortable or I suffer or the world looks like it is about to shatter, I trust.

Jesus came into a political realm that crucified you for disagreeing with them. And somehow, even that was used for redemption. But it took a willingness to trust and suffer and move beyond fear. And He did so even for the very people nailing him to the posts.

To be in Jesus’ position is scary. Anne Lamott says that courage is fear that has said it’s prayers. Jesus trusted that none of those things had the final word. And the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within you.

Currently.

So there is no need to fear.

Trust.

Love.

Repeat.

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