For years I’ve lived in fear of people’s opinions. I’ve allowed these fears to shape my words, opinions and actions. The taunting, teasing words of ridicule from my teenage years slashed deep into my heart leaving ugly, jagged, emotional scars. Like a thief, fear seized my confidence, depriving me of the ability to speak my opinion without fear of judgment. Today as I go live with this blog I discard this fear like clothing that no longer fits properly!
Most people who have gone to church or been exposed to any Christian teaching are familiar with the apostle Paul. When we first meet Paul he is introduced as a zealous persecutor of early Christians. His personal mandate is to arrest and persecute as many Christians as he possibly can. He HATES these new believers that are proclaiming Jesus as the risen Christ. But one day while marching down a dusty road Paul has a personal encounter with Jesus. That’s all it takes – one encounter – to change Paul from persecutor to “persecutee”. From that very day Paul is compelled to share the good news of his risen Lord and Saviour with the world. Is his life in danger? Absolutely! Paul understands better than anyone the consequences of being associated with the Christian movement. He wrote the book on persecution! He is arrested, beaten, thrown in prison, threatened with death on a regular basis, and on top of all of that, bitten by a poisonous snake! Was he afraid? Wouldn’t you be? Paul doesn’t allow his fear to conquer him. His faith in Christ is stronger that his fear of persecution. He continues to write, to teach, to preach and to proclaim the good news about the risen Christ despite the hardships he suffers.
I live in Canada, a country where we experience freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These freedoms come with a price...the lives of our Canadian soldiers. Soldiers still leave family and friends today, believing with all their hearts that fighting for justice and freedom is worth the sacrifice they make...worth their very lives. Families around the world are without mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandsons or granddaughters because of wars – they’ve been lost as victims of war or as defenders of freedom and justice...lives lost...gone forever.
The price of giving in to fear is too high to remain silent any longer –the price of Jesus’ death on the cross and the price of freedom to speak in this country. The chains of fear no longer bind me. I’ve left them at the cross. Today I begin a new life, free to speak out and share my adventures of faith with Jesus as my Saviour.
In the words of Paul, “So what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? ... Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing...None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us... absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:31-39 The Message Translation
What’s your fear today? What’s holding you back from experiencing the freedom in Christ we’re meant to enjoy? Have you been deeply, emotionally wounded as a child, teenager or adult? Are you facing an uncertain future with your health, your job, your marriage or your children? Are you struggling as a caregiver to elderly parents or an ill spouse? Whatever your fear I encourage you to seek the face of Christ, reach out and ask someone to pray for you and seek help to overcome your fears. We’re not meant to live in fear, we’re meant to live in freedom!