|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear …” 1 John 4:18 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t fear life”
I’ve mentioned in another devotional in this series that I’m currently rereading Brennan Manning’s classic book on the Christian life called “The Ragamuffin Gospel”. The other night I came across a statement from Brennan that’s just too good to pass up. I have to write about it. It’s about how it is that many of us live in fear – with doubts, anxiety, and in despair:
“Christians ought to be celebrating constantly. We ought to be preoccupied with parties, banquets, feasts, and merriment. We ought to give ourselves over to veritable orgies of joy because we have been liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death. We ought to attract people to the church quite literally by the fun there is in being a Christian. Unfortunately, we sometimes become somber, serious, and pompous. We fly in the face of freedom and grimly dig deeper into the trenches (of life).”
Wow. We should be preoccupied with parties, banquets, feasts, merriment, and veritable orgies of joy? Well, that sounds like fun! Sign me up! But wait. Back up. There’s a sentence in the middle of all that which we need to notice and deal with. According to Manning the reason we should approach life this way is because “we have been liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death.”
For the strong Christian who truly does believe in the reality of heaven it’s not a big stretch to have been liberated from an overriding fear of death. But freedom from the fear of life? Whoa. Full stop. I think we have some work to do here. Life is the very thing we do fear. We fear sickness, and economic hardship, and lost jobs, and the opinions of others, and for the safety of our children, and for the outcome of elections, and a thousand other things.
If we let it, life can become oppressive – and some people do wear it like a heavy old coat. We fear not only the problems and trials, but also the sheer drudgery of another day. And as a result, we allow anxiety and fear to grip us.
But the Apostle John tells us in 1 John 4:18 that fear should not be a driving and determining factor in our lives. He says that perfect love (the love of Christ) drives out fear. And if fear has been driven out (both the fear of death and the fear of life), then we’re in a much better position to live the life Brennan Manning was describing.
Sound good to you? Me too. Let’s think about this some more tomorrow. Let’s not go through life fearing life.
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