Fear Looks Like Freedom

 

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Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. – C.S. Lewis

I haven’t written on my blog for a long time (since the end of January I believe). In writer’s time, that’s a very long (nigh unacceptable) time. To be honest, I haven’t been inspired to write or if I have there’s always this whiny voice telling me that it’s already been said better or it’s not original at all. I try too hard. I do. I really do. Hi, my name is Rachel, and I’m a perfectionist. I hate admitting that. Excelling and putting your heart into something is one thing and totally okay. But for me ::running hands through hair:: I crave perfection and praise. Why? Because, I want it to be about me. I want to be “worshipped,” in essence.

Bottom-line: Pride. Fear of man. It’s poison. Fear is the opposite of love, you know, not hate. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). Fear is selfish. Love is selfless. I’m seeking to be perfect in man’s eyes because I fear their disapproval, rejection, disappointment and anger. I’ve been scarred by my fear, because it has led me down paths in life and relationships that have tried to suck the love and joy and freedom out of my soul. I took that path because I deceived myself. Fear that looked like freedom. Is this me beating myself up? Maybe. Self pity? No. Revelation? Yes.

But looking back and beating myself up over my past sin doesn’t do any good. It’s like Christian from John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” in the Slough of Despond, just wading in it until he realized he needed saving, and Help came. Jesus already covered all those detestable sins on the cross. Grace. Love. Mercy. Freedom. I was made perfect through His perfection. I should seek His perfection (holiness), not my own (Matt. 4:48)

How do I begin to seek His perfection? Stop caring what others think? No. Indifference? No. Let’s look to Jesus here. Did He care what others thought? No, He didn’t, but he still showed love, consideration, gave rebuke when needed, and above all, He was more concerned with how He represented His heavenly Father. So, it’s about setting your priorities straight and having your perspective on the eternal, not the temporary praise and love of man (you know I mean, “people” when I say “man,” right? Ok, just checking). Do I need man’s approval? No, but yeah, it’s really a wonderful thing to have, if you have your heart set to thank God for giving you that little joy.

I believe if I desire first and foremost God’s approval, and live my life accordingly, then all the rest will grow unimportant, but still be welcomed. There’s nothing wrong with approval and love.

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives. – C.S. Lewis

God wired us to love and to be loved; to serve and be served; to encourage and be encouraged. Some seasons may feel like you’re the only one giving it their all, which may or may not be the case. God sees and knows, and perhaps that’s Him reminding you of where you’re seeking approval, joy, love, freedom and affirmation.

Are these things wicked to desire from others? Absolutely not. But to love them more than God, is sinful indeed.

God cannot gives us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. – C.S. Lewis

Keep examining your heart, and please, call me out if you see me fail and stumble of the path. Oh, we humans. God is awesome in the fact that He didn’t have us be alone in our struggles.

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One thought on “Fear Looks Like Freedom

  1. Dear Prissy:

    I rejoice to see you grappling with the intersection of doctrine and life. How few seem interested in this! The Puritans had a saying, “doctrine for life.” This principle guided them in their study, preaching and counseling. They were not interested in right doctrine as an end in itself, but right doctrine as it fueled and enabled Christ-like living.

    I want to encourage you to go deeper or to reach higher, whichever metaphor you prefer. One insight leads to another and another. As you know, shallowness and superficiality in the Scriptures is dangerous to our souls. Only the Lord Christ knows how many souls have been ruined in this way – people who thought they were in the Kingdom but discovered to their horror at the end that they never were. Mt. 7:21ff; Mt. 25:31ff.

    The “fear” of which John speaks in the quoted passage is the fear of God’s wrath and final judgment. In the previous verse John says that love has been perfected among us (by Jesus Christ) for this purpose: so that we who believe in Christ will have boldness in the day of judgment. Then he adds, “because as He (Christ) is, so are we in this world. This is really one of those breathtaking statements one encounters frequently in the Scriptures. The implications of this statement are staggering, but just consider the words themselves. John says we can have, should have, do have boldness in the day of judgment – in other words, we have no reason to be afraid of God or of dying or of any person or devil – because we are “like” Christ right now at the moment of faith and forever thereafter. At least, John means what Paul wrote in Romans 6. Through faith, we are buried with Christ in His death – not symbolically – but actually and raised with Christ in His resurrection to walk in newness of life – again, not symbolically, but actually. We are united with Christ in His death and resurrection so that John can say of we who are in Christ that “as He is so are we in this world.” Our union with Christ banishes fear because His triumph over death and wrath is ours through faith and His eternal life is ours through faith. The Father now loves us who are in Christ with the same love with which He loves Christ, the Son. Fear of death, fear of wrath, fear of man vanishes as we more and more deeply comprehend the certainty and immeasurable depth and width and length and height of His love for us in Christ.

    As you think and pray about these glorious truths, you will recognize as well the important distinction between fearing God, which is good and necessary to our salvation, and fearing man, which is bad and destructive to our souls. Briefly, the fear of God is based in love for Him and produces a beautiful reverence for Him, a joyous freedom and a fruitful life of obedience. As you point out, the fear of man is based in idolatrous self-love and produces hatred, bondage and degradation. It is ever a challenge to keep fresh in our minds and hearts the glory of God that makes Him alone worthy to be feared and worshiped and adored and loved. The wickedness of our own idolatrous heart and the ceaseless arrogance of man who like a three year old is ever calling us “Hey, watch me, look at me.”

    Thank you, as always, for stirring us up to think through these vast issues so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of our fear, love, adoration, as He is the image of the invisible God.

    Love,

    Dad

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