Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 15, 2011

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  I John 4:18

The final fear we will deal with in this "FEARLESS" series is the most obscure of the fears we have confronted but it could also be the most fundamental. I think you will understand better as I explain. This fear is the "Fear of God Getting Out of Our Box".

What do I mean by that? What is this fear?

To understand this fear is to understand the problem with fear in general. The reason we put God in a box is because that is how we naturally handle fear. It is called "compartmentalization" by psychologists and what it means we tend to put things we fear into boxes or compartments. We respond to anxiety not by facing it but by filing it! By splitting it up into small parts and filing it into little compartments (boxes) we think it will be less threatening. But, what actually happens is rather than having less fear we have more because we have to worry about each of those little fears getting out of their little boxes.

So naturally, how are we going to handle God in our lives? We try to put Him into the "box" we have created for our faith. But how can an infinite and onmipotent Spirit like God be kept in a box? He can't and that frightens even more. So, we vacilate between the fear of having Him get out and the guilt of trying to keep Him in.

Does that make sense?

What Jesus did with Peter, James and John after leading them up the mountaintop was to peel back His humanity for a minute or so and showed them Who He REALLY was. Not only did He shine for them but His holy light penetrated their hearts and souls as Jesus said essentially, "Fear this!" Or, in terms of this discussion, Jesus was saying, "Box this!"

Once they were confronted face-to-face with the glorified Jesus, they were forced to realize how futile it is to keep God in a box. But they also saw how unnecessary it is. There petty fears were overshadowed by a greater fear. Jesus was calling them out of their compartments and into His completeness. They didn't need a bunch of little fears, they just needed one BIG one! Him!

When John (who was there) wrote, "Perfect love casts out fear...." perhaps what he was really saying was, "Perfect love cleans out the files (or compartments, i.e. boxes)...". I think so! I think that is exactly what He was saying.

So how do I do that?

Stop trying to control Him or manage Him and surrender to Him in holy fear. Allow Him in to all your compartments to clean out all your filed away fears. Then let His vast and powerful Holy Spirit fill all the files, all the compartments, and all the boxes! The holy fear of God - His perfect (complete) love can fill you until there is no room for human fear.

Then, and only then, will you know what it is to live "FEARLESS"!