“It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. ~ Matthew 14:26
Well, here we are – the start of the holiday season. I absolutely love this time of year. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. One year, while in high school, I donned this hideous mask my dad had, stuffed my clothes with newspapers, and sat on the front porch with the bowl of candy in my lap. I sat deathly still, waiting for the unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. Slowly, cautiously, they would approach. Breathlessly, they would inch their hand toward the bowl. Then, just as they were about to reach the candy – WHAP! I would slap at their hand, and they’d run away screaming. It was a blast! (I would then wave them back over and give them some candy; I wasn’t that mean.)
So, what’s your story? Are ghouls, goblins, and ghosts your thing? Do chills thrill you? Or do you abhor halloween with all of its witches, vampires, and monsters? Are you afraid of such things? Whether you are or not, I’m sure there might be something out there that frightens you. And I’m not talking about phobias like spiders, small spaces, or heights. I’m talking about real fears, as they relate to Jesus and His church.
So, What Scares You?
Which side of the aisle are you on? Does the religious system as we know it today frighten you? Or does the thought of meeting outside the institution give you nightmares? Are you afraid of pastoral leadership? Or perhaps your afraid of a group of believers meeting without human headship? Does the thought of not being able to share Christ in your church service terrify you? Or does the thought of speaking in front of 10-30+ saints petrify you?
Let’s leave that conversation and move to something else. Does the thought of having your children grow up without a solid, biblical foundation send a chill down your spine? Are you spooked by the thought of not having all the answers if someone were to ask you about Jesus or the church? Are you afraid of not spending enough time with the Lord? Does the thought of not pleasing God keep you awake?
Let’s go deeper. Are you scared to ask the Lord what He’s after? Are you afraid of what He might say? Are you scared to leave the world system or the religious system to follow Him? Are you afraid to give up your life for His? Are you scared to move somewhere to be a part of His expression? Are you afraid to stay where you are? Are you scared to fellowship with Jesus as a part of His Bride? Are you afraid to intensely gaze at the Lord and share what you see? Are you scared of the unknown? Are you afraid of what you’ve known? Are you scared to give God what He wants? Are you afraid to count the cost?
So, What Are You Afraid Of?
Let me put that question another way: Why are you so afraid?
How many times did Jesus say, “Fear not!”? Or, “Peace!”? Or some form of either of those? A. Lot. In fact, John (the beloved dude), having known Jesus so well, says in his first letter:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18)
You are loved. Christ loves His Bride perfectly. You have nothing to fear. This is something I’m learning over and over every day. Some days, it’s easy. Some days, it’s not. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is Jesus is our Peace. He is our Rest. He is our Everything.
Cast your fears on Him. He’s big enough to handle them. I promise.