By Faith or Fear
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)
There seems to be so much that we ought to be afraid of today, although in truth it is probably not much more than there was fifty or even one hundred years ago. If I were to pick a period of time to go back to, I'm sure there'd be fears, evils and woes just sitting on the ledgers of history, waiting to pounce all over me and give me a heart attack.
Right now, many people in my beloved Bahamas are afraid of what the future will likely be pending the outcome of the upcoming referendum on citizenship and gender equality, slated for June 7, 2016. Fourteen years ago, when these same issues were being presented (for yet another referendum), I distinctly remember going to one of the many local town meetings to learn about the issues. I also remember the official Opposition’s catchy campaign refrain, “If you don't know, vote no!” It was a very clever political campaign and a very clever spiritual campaign. Regrettably, the spirit at work was that of fear. Well, time has passed. Governments have changed. But politics and fear still make excellent, cozy bedfellows.
As Christians, we are called to be sensitive and alert, not particularly to all the potential horrors that may come down the road (for they are many, and some will likely come), but sensitive and alert to the heart and mind of Christ!
It takes faith, not fear, to hear God's voice. It takes courage, not fear, to believe and act on it. It takes turning away from the crowd (or in our case the talk shows, newspapers, and maybe even Facebook) and all their anxious and troubled emotions in order to pray.
Jesus' decisions were informed by the Spirit of God, not by fear, not by Caesar and the mighty Roman Empire, not by his adoring disciples, not by his beloved family, not by esteemed and educated leaders of the synagogue, not even by his own will. Jesus always went inward, to the Spirit, to make his decisions.
As we approach June 7th, the same Holy Spirit that enabled Jesus to make the greatest and perhaps hardest decision ever made, will assist us in understanding the choices we've been given and doing the will of God. We, who are in Christ, never need to be prodded by clever campaigns or fear tactics in order to make the right choices.
What do we need to make right choices? We need information, facts, truth. We need to comprehend with our minds and be confident in our hearts. Most of all, we need the Holy Spirit. He will not threaten, scare or manipulate. Instead, he gives the gifts of power, love and sound judgment as promised in 2 Timothy. Our job is simply to apply them in every situation and to every decision.