Wednesday, July 3, 2019
When I was in high school I always disliked other schools that had chosen black as their primary school color. It is the color of fear for me. No matter how good our team was, and no matter how bad the other team was, there was something intimidating about the attitude of a team that wore black. They appeared more united in their cause and more energized to accomplish their goal. They always seemed to have no fear of the opposition, and that meant I should be afraid.
We as Christians are not to intimidate the unsaved like those teams intimidated me, but we are to be the ones who have no fear!
Philippians 1:27-28 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
There is a direct connection between the strength of one’s beliefs and the presence of fear. My dad used to tell a true story of a man who had strung a tight wire across Niagara Falls and to the amazement of the onlookers would walk across the wire pushing a wheelbarrow. When he would return he would ask the crowd if they believed in his ability to not fall. They would all applaud loudly and shout their belief in him. Then he would approach one of the cheering people and state, “Then get in the wheelbarrow.” No one ever did. Their belief in him was not strong enough to overcome their fear.
It is the same way with us as Christians when we consider our witness for the gospel. We claim to believe in the power of God to save, protect, and provide, yet we are frightened by the opposition we may face. We claim to stand firm in the Spirit of Christ, but we fail to witness about Christ to the lost.
Paul gives us the key to overcoming that fear – unity with other Christians to accomplish a common goal. There is safety in numbers.
When the whole body of believers comes together to contend for the faith of the gospel, we become the team that has no fear. When we stand strong during opposition and persecution we display the power of God to protect.
Paul does not state that opposition will be eliminated. In fact, in the very next verse he states, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.” No, persecution will actually get worse as we stand more united for Christ in a world that is ever-increasingly rejecting Him. However, our hearts are not to be building treasures in this life, but in eternity. Our personal fulfillment is not to be found in the acceptance of this world. Our need for immediate gratification is to be replaced with the promise of total glorification. We must not fear what the world will do to us because our belief in Christ is so complete that we are focused on His cause and not ours.
My friends, get intimately involved in your local church, and surround yourself with people who boldly and proudly wear the team colors of Christ. Discover the wonderful truth of God’s love that conquers all fear because the punishment for sin is gone.
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 (1 John 4:18).
Then you will be prepared to be the kind of witness Peter describes when he writes,
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:13-14).