How often do you live in fear of supporting Christ? Constantly apprehensive of how others will view you rather than how God will view you? Are we more concerned with making sure to renew our minds and actions to be like that of Christ, or have we become disillusioned by the fear of man that we spend endless amounts of time, online and offline, trying to gain the approval of peers? What can we do when wanting to please man has led to a dullness for pursuing godly and radical living for Christ?
Redirect your mind
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
Living a life in unity with Christ is not one that should accommodate fear. As we accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, we obtain a spirit of peace, power and love (2 Timothy 1:7). Throughout the Bible, we are reassured that He is always with us, to the point where, even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death itself, He is right by our side. (Psalm 23:4). If the Author, that has control of death itself, requires us to live for him, then who are we to live for the attention of mere humans (Revelations 20:14)? How prideful can we be to think that a creation’s approval surpasses that of the Creator?
We need to ask the Holy Spirit to redirect our minds, remembering the dynamic of the relationship we were gifted and adopted into. Jesus said even if we do not acknowledge him, even if we do not follow him, He can raise up stones instead (Luke 19:40). We need to understand that He doesn’t need us, but we need Him. And now that we understand this, why not exclaim to others the need that they’re searching for? Christ gave His life for us so that we can be free from sin and suffering. We should thus use our lives, lives that cannot pay for that price, to glorify Him and proclaim His name fearlessly.
Our Godly Purpose
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6
Living in fear can mean that we can waste our lives, not living for God’s purposes. An example includes prophet Jonah whom God sent to evangelise in a foreign city. However he ran away from it, choosing to disobey God instead. Instead of wasting the precious days God has given us, we should put our confidence in Him and experience the peace that accompanies fulfilling His purposes in our lives. We should use prophet Jonah as an example on how to repent and ask for a fear of God that makes wanting to serve him and be obedient a priority over living for the approval of others.
Obedience is better than sacrifice
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22
As Christians, we can unknowingly abuse the grace that exists with God’s sovereignty.
I am not a preacher, I’m just a normal Christian. If someone else can take my place, then why me? Why do I need to stand up for the Word if I’m going to Heaven anyway?
We are asking the wrong questions. The true question is if we are called to be countercultural according to Christ’s standard of living, then why do we enjoy and devote our time to doing the things that makes us blend in? Acknowledgment and obedience of God’s word is far more important than being satisfied in the fact that there might not be a consequence. Because the truth is actions always have consequences. We should be asking ourselves, what is expected of us according to God’s word and what should we be doing to maintain this standard. Salvation is a gift, but with it comes with the responsibility of obeying Christ, professing and defending the gospel in speech and conduct. If the disciples gave into wanting to please the public, the gospel might not have been preached and we may have not heard it as a result. We should thus act responsibly acknowledging that the same mercy bestowed upon us can be observed by others also.
Be reminded of how insignificant everything is in comparison to the things above, even fear itself. It is important to understand that the more you become aware of the need to be able to form a healthier, more life-giving fear – the fear of God, the more you will notice that it is feeding you with a delight in him that helps us to be radical and countercultural for His name’s sake.