Along with millions of other people in the United States and around the world, I have lived the last few months in a state of limbo under a “stay at home” order. Like other citizens, we sincerely tried to cooperate--at first. But as two weeks turned into two months or longer, it has become more and more challenging for a mostly free society to give up their first amendment rights not to mention their income. Recently, a hairdresser in Texas decided she would open her salon with or without the government’s permission. A judge gave her a hefty fine and a jail sentence. Yet even when salons, restaurants, churches and shops open, many people will still refuse to exercise their right to assemble or practice their religion. Why? In a restaurant last week, we overheard two people talking. One said she may never return to work even when it became an option as she feared getting “the virus”. Fear was determining not only her present behavior, it was controlling her future. I get it, fear is natural; in the unsaved population fear is normal and should be expected. But should born-again people have the same response? Shouldn’t the cross and new birth make a real, tangible difference? Fear is a cruel master. It robs its subjects of joy, peace , health and rest. Fear is the underlying cause of many mental and physical health ailments like PTSD and cardiovascular disease. It weakens immune systems and even causes premature death. Fear is NOT from God1; fear is the antithesis of faith. It is, in fact, faith in Satan: a belief that God is a liar, not good and/or not more powerful than Satan. Fear is faith in reverse. This is why we are commanded hundreds of times in the Bible to fear not, have courage, trust in God, be anxious over nothing. God wouldn’t give us a command we couldn’t do. Fear is a choice we make; we can choose to resist the fear, in which case it will flee2, or we can allow Satan to enslave and dominate us through fear.3 John tells us that perfect love drives fear out; experiencing God’s perfect love is the antidote to fear.4 When we grasp the immensity of God’s parental love toward us5, the extreme lengths He has gone to in order to eliminate the consequences of sin6, we begin to believe that He truly does feel toward us the same way He feels toward Jesus7. Only then can we accept and walk in the reality of the position we hold in the Father’s heart. His love for us is perfect; when we allow that perfect love to flood our hearts and saturate our souls, the truth of God’s promises—including peace beyond ‘logical’ understanding--will manifest in our life.
“I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know...the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe.”
• • • Ephesians 1:18-19 • • •
In the previously mentioned Texas hairdresser’s situation, the Lt. Governor of Texas paid the fines for the hairdresser. The courts accepted the Lt. Governor’s payment. No judge would also require the hairdresser to pay the fines once payment had been accepted from the Lt. Governor, that would not be just. Yet somehow Christians are willing to believe God would accept the full and perfect payment from Jesus for the entirety of the curse, sin and the law, but still allow us to continue to ‘pay’ in the form of consequences. It may be feared that, because the situation is the consequences of our own behavior or natural, our lack of health, finances or some other promised benefit is justified. But that would not be justice, it would be a double payment. The hairdresser may feel she still needs to pay the fine and she might send checks to the court and operate as though those checks have been cashed. But the fact is, a just system would never continue to accept payment once the penalty was satisfied. Faith isn’t a gimmick you pull out when a crisis pops up; it isn’t a magic wand. It is a lifestyle choice. Fear justifies Satan’s dominion of some part of our life. Faith believes Jesus’ death gives dominion over sin.8 Fear says we still must pay the consequences. Faith believes God is just and accepted a perfect payment for our debts. Under the law, the sacrifice was examined before acceptance. The person bringing the sacrifice was not examined--it was understood and assumed that the person bringing the sacrifice was imperfect, otherwise no sacrifice would be needed. When the sacrifice was accepted, the penalty was satisfied. Our sacrifice remains perfect; He thoroughly satisfied every aspect of the curse and the law by becoming9 sin and all its consequences for us. God asked Job if he would continue accusing God of not being fair, truthful and just in order to make himself look like he was doing all the ‘right’ things.10 People still do that; we look at brother so-and-so who was so faithful and a leader in the church but suffered with some type of lack (lack of health, resources, family, blessings, etc.) and we conclude God’s promises to heal11, provide12, restore13, bless14, etc. must not be true. But we are told not to consider another person’s situation15 or anecdotal ‘justice’. “What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar!”16 Look to the Father and know His plans for each are good, lean on His heart of love. Every good and perfect gift is from God17; Jesus wasn’t some kind of maverick anomaly running around healing, providing and blessing people behind God’s back or without God’s express involvement. Jesus did only and exactly what God desired; He was the exact expression of the Father’s heart and the Father hasn’t changed.18 This is why we can be free of fear and thank Him in all things; it is how we enter His gates with sincere thanksgiving (appreciating Him for His goodness toward us) and come into His courts with heartfelt praise (honor for who God is).19 Without the correct perspective of seeing a God who is good and just, we cannot communicate and interact with God effectively. On the contrary, we become like the third servant of Matthew 25:24 who had the wrong perspective. We cannot pray from a position of power20 or faith if we see God as arbitrary and unjust. Faith is replaced with double-mindedness if we do not correctly comprehend the Father’s heart of love and grace toward us. Our minds cannot receive the Holy Spirit’s leading clearly when our fundamental view of the Father is skewed, and we won’t trust that Holy Spirit leading if we believe God is not always fair or faithful. Prayer is an opportunity to learn of the Father’s heart, to let His love pour into us and to allow that love to melt our fears and conform our hearts and minds into His heart and mind. Read, pray and memorize verses like Isaiah 30:18, Luke 15:20, Ephesians 1:19-20, Ephesians 2:6-7, 1 Peter 2:9-10 and Ephesians 1:3-8 to learn, correct and renew the proper perspective of God’s love and justice and the position He has given His children through His perfect love. Then when fear comes knocking, you won’t have to think twice, you can answer “Be gone! My good and just Father paid that debt in full!”
1. 2 Timothy 1:7 2. James 4:7 3 Romans 8:15 4. 1 John 4:18 5. Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:38-39 6. 2 Corinthians 5:21 7. John 17:23 8. Romans 6:6, 14 9. 2 Corinthians 5:21 10. Job 40:8 11. Exodus 15:23; Psalm 103:5; Matthew 9:29, 10:1, 8, 15:8; Mark 16:18; Luke 7:9, 9:2;, Luke 10:9, 11;
John 3:14 & Numbers 21:9
12. Deuteronomy 8:18; Proverbs 13:22; Ecclesiastes 2:26; John 10:10; Romans 5:17; Philippians 4:19 13. Luke 6:38, 12:31, 18:29-30; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:11-18 14. Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 37:26; Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 11:6 15. John 21:21-22 16. Romans 3:3-4 17. James 1:17 18. John 5:19, 10:30, 12:49, 14:10, 14:20; Hebrews 1:3; James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8 19. Psalms 100:4 20. Ephesians 1:19-20