I'm taking a brief departure from the book of Luke to continue the long-awaited series on fear. You can read the earlier posts here:
I've struggled to write this post because there's so much background I want to include that the post kept turning into a textual criticism of the entire Bible. I think this demonstrates how central teachings on faith and fear are to the Scripture, but it's not necessarily what I want to write about.
I decided to use this post and go out on a limb and talk about what's actually on my mind, then maybe come back in a later post to provide a Cliff's Notes review of the notes I made for this.
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a guide out of worry
It's my experience that the Voice of Love and Care is always softly calling. We call this voice still and small because it contrasts so sharply with the tumultuous and seemingly loud voices all around us.
When I have a thousand things to do, it's the thought at the back of my mind saying, "Why do you really need to do all those things? Why are you making such big sacrifices to do them?"
When I wait anxiously to see whether a new, particularly popular acquaintance will deign to give me the attention I desire, it comes in the words of my true friend who asks me, "Why is their approbation more valuable to you than mine?"
When I lay sleeplessly at night wondering how I'm going to face all the ways that tomorrow's going to hurt me, it's the half-awake dream that reminds me, "Look, Tate! Look at all the ways I took care of you today! Don't you trust me for tomorrow?"
softly and tenderly
I'm convinced that most of us hear this voice all the time but have become extraordinarily adept at ignoring it because it seems like no one else around us hears it; or if they do, they don't consider it worthy of consideration.
We think to ourselves, "Maybe everyone else knows something I don't?"
We wonder, "Maybe I really should fill my entire day with important work? The creator of the universe took a day off, but if I did that surely the world would fall apart!"
Or we think, "Maybe I really should worry about tomorrow? I'm twenty-three years old and have about 8,400 yesterdays that I don't even remember, but tomorrow's going to be different unless I worry my entire night away!"
The worst thing about this is that for my entire life, people around me have gone out of their way to instruct me on how to worry. They've told me that if I don't worry about things, nothing will ever get done. They've told me that if I don't worry about how people perceive me, those same people will never give me whatever it is other people provide. They've even told me that if I don't get ahead while I'm young, I'll never catch up when I get old.
In other words, the "common wisdom" teaches 1) Put your faith in yourself if you want anything to happen. 2) The way other people perceive me will somehow determine my "success." 3) If I don't win fights early on, I'll never be a "winner." And finally, the logical conclusion from all of this is 4) Be afraid of the world because you're the only one who cares about you.
the common wisdom is totally bogus
From about two years of studying and experimenting with this, I conclude that the things we fear are the things that we allow to control us.
There're millions of things in the world we can fear: work performance, social hierarchy, the unknown, any of the things I've already covered in my other posts, and much, much more.
But the only way to fully live is to let the Voice of Love control you.
If you actually believe any of this, people will call you crazy. They'll be very concerned about your wellbeing and they'll use every opportunity they get to make sure you go back to worrying at least as much as they do.
In fact, they'll try to make you into the Rich Fool from Luke 12:13-21. It almost seems like Jesus is telling us not to be "good stewards" in this passage. That just means we have the wrong idea about what it means to be a good steward. Read it by clicking here:
If you want a better definition of good stewardship, read the very next paragraph in your Bible (Luke 12:22-34 with particular emphasis on verses 33-34):
Again, if you believe and practice any of this, people who love you will be very concerned for you, and people who don't love you will call you crazy. But rest assured that you are much, much more important than little sparrows and grass in the field and that by having faith in God, you will be blessed, if not in this life, then in the next.
This post was hard for me to write. I just got my 40th subscriber yesterday and I know the people who read this blog will have a lot of different reactions and thoughts.
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