Fullness, pt. 1
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. – Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT – New Living Translation)
What a statement! To start, God did not give us a spirit of fear. Ever felt afraid? Like me, I’m sure you have. Isn’t it comforting and empowering to know that God does not want us to be afraid. But instead to have, power, love, and discipline. For full disclosure, as I write this I’m fearful. Fearful that (to be honest) as a Christian man I’m being ostracized from any sort of public debate. I’m afraid of what this country (The United States) will become if we turn our backs on Christ. I’m afraid of all the things that people can do and think of me. And if you’re being honest, I bet there are things you are afraid of too. Maybe your fears are the opposite of mine. Maybe you’re afraid that Christian men will send the country back into the dark ages of oppression. Maybe you’re afraid of losing all the ground you’ve felt has been made over the years and you’ll have to start over. Maybe you’re afraid of what people can do and think of you too. But what a statement! God did not give us a spirit of fear.
We fear because we haven’t put Christ ahead of our fears. In a way we’re worshiping our fears rather than Christ. And we’re worshiping our ability to subjugate our fears to our desires over Christ and His will. That doesn’t mean we don’t take action. It means that we act in accordance with the will of God, knowing that He is in control. It means that we are agents for Christ and He is not bound by our human desires. It means that He works through us in this world and that He has already done the work to ultimately save us from all our fears.
No one knows what is going to happen in the future except God Himself. What we can know is that God is in control. I don’t know how it all works. What I do believe is that, as my pastor Daniel Fusco says, we have levers on our side of the wall and God has levers on His side of the wall. Obviously God’s levers override ours, but we are not to ignore our levers. Because ultimately God gave us our levers. And what God has given us we are commanded to use for Him. Even when it seems futile. To God nothing is futile, because He knows the end from the beginning and sees how every act works towards His goal. We may not know what is going to happen tomorrow, but God knows.
There is comfort for us knowing that God knows. Sometimes the only words of comfort a mother can provide a child are “I know.” And so… When we’re hurting, God says, “I know.” When we’re afraid, God says, “I know.” When we’re angry, God says, “I know.” He knows all the events and feelings of humanity. In fact God sent His Son down to us to experience humanity with us, so that He could do the greatest thing for us. Save us from ourselves.
We need saving from ourselves because we have bastardized all the things God gave us. He gave us power and we’ve use it to hurt one another. He gave us love and we’ve perverted it from something we must give into something we must get. He gave us discipline and instead of using it to serve others we’ve used it to serve our own desires. No wonder we feel afraid and timid. We’ve made ourselves the center of our universe having no power over it.
When we put God first, we cede power to Him over our universe. And because He created the universe for Him, He is in control of it. We, no matter what we think, do, or accomplish, can never, have never, and will never be in control. Disagreeing with that truth will only create chaos and confusion; in our world and in our hearts. The thing is, God gave us the ability to create chaos and be confused. He gave us the ability to make mistakes and mess things up. And that’s what we’ve always done. The good news is that God made a plan for that too. A plan that put us first, in that He chose to serve us through it. Because He loves us that much.
God created us for His joy. And as His joy, He wants to serve us. We are not His master, but He is like a husband to us. His desire is for us, that we would be safe and secure. He chose to die serving us. Because that’s what a loving husband would do for His family. Especially when through death we can have an eternal life of pure joy. A life free from the confusion and fights we endure here. A life free from the fear we feel here. A life of true power, love, and discipline. A life worshiping our Creator and God in joy.
The Good News, the Gospel is this. That no matter what we’ve done, we are valuable enough to die for. No matter what we think, we are priceless to God. No matter what mistakes we’ve made we can still enjoy heaven. Not because something we can do to compensate for our sins. Not because we’ve lived a good life. Not because we deserve it. But that we’re loved enough that the Creator of the universe wants to be with us.
To be continued…