“No matter what happens, live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ.
I’ve seen it over and over in parents (me included) where they will say to their children God is faithful and good; He will provide what they need; then these parents go on to live their life in worry and fear.
As a parent, we teach our kids so much by our actions more than the words we speak. I’m not suggesting you stop talking to your kids, but your talk must match your actions. As the old saying goes, “more is caught than taught.” I’ve said this before, but I must reiterate, your kid’s first introduction to the Lord is you. You represent to them their Savior and the only way they will see the truth is by the way you represent Him.
When you and I fill our days with worry and fear, we reveal to others a God who is small. Without realizing it, our actions can often communicate that God “is powerless, far off, asleep, and insensitive.”
I have four children who are very mission minded. Three are travelers. They travel to far off lands and share the gospel. In some cases, they have traveled to places that had travel advisory warnings. They went regardless. The fear of losing them would often paralyze me and cause me to discourage their attempt to go where God was calling them. Then God would get a hold of my heart and teach me to trust Him. Staying in the Word of God has given Him the chance to convict me and correct me when I’m wrong. His truth has indeed cut apart the lies I believed from the truth I needed to rely on.
One of the worst ways we misrepresent Christ and His good news is to allow our fears and worries to get the better of us. Fears and worries are nothing more than transient feelings. Feelings deceive us. Some use the word “gut” instead of feelings. They decide their path on a “gut feeling.” Whether you call it gut or feeling, both are unreliable, because they both lie and depend on one’s momentary “happiness.” When the “good” feeling flees, then a change of course happens. Life becomes nothing more than the wind blowing from here to there with no assurance of a good outcome. This type of living only increases fear and anxiety.
When Paul writes about the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18, he intentionally starts with truth and righteousness. There is a good reason for this. For it is in truth and righteousness we can “live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ.” In other words, we can live our life worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Where fear depends on lies, confidence depends on truth.
Where anxiety makes decisions based on uncertainty, righteousness does what’s wise no matter what is faced.
Truth and righteousness are rocks unmoved by feeling, gut or circumstances. When God’s Word is our guide and when doing what is wise is the rudder for our direction, we can correctly represent our big powerful Almighty God.
I have been there and have seen others struggle in the same way when it comes to making wise decisions in life. I’ve seen and felt the turmoil when I have needed to do what’s right but wanted to do what’s wrong instead. These times remind me that “my battle is not against flesh and blood.”
It’s between evil and righteousness.
It’s between lies and truth.
It’s between worry and trust.
It’s between feelings and fact.
My fearful attempts to discourage my children from going on the missions they traveled were solely based on my wants and needs. They were self-focused. My fears and worries placed limits on my God instead of trusting in His eternal greatness. In this condition I became my kids’ greatest obstacle when I should have joined ranks with the cloud of witnesses, the author of Hebrews speaks about in chapter 12 verse 1.
One way I know that the struggle in my life is evil or righteous is by the weight of it in my heart and mind. Evil is heavy whereas righteousness is light.
Evil weighs us down; it leads us to a state of depression. Depression is more than painful, it is hopeless. Doing what’s right can be painful as we walk away from something that feeds our flesh. But righteousness is always lighter to carry, because doing what’s right takes our eyes off of our plans and trusts that God is a good father who has nothing but a better welfare and hope planned for our future.
If we make decisions based on our worry, fears, and anxiety, we will never know God’s plans for us. We will only continue in the heaviness of our wrong choices. Then the evil becomes burdensome; we end up digging our grave and creating more struggles. Afterward, we may look back and wished we had chosen truth instead of lies and righteousness vs. our “gut” feelings. This unwise path turns our fear into guilt and remorse. We add to the heaviness on our heart when we don’t obey God’s full word of truth.
When people take parts of the truth to justify their wrong actions, they end up living out their Christian life in lies. I’ve known Christians who use the word to enforce their sinful decisions. They acknowledge part of the truth but ignore the areas that convict them. In the end, they misrepresent God to others. They do the opposite of Philippians 1:27: Based on what happens in their life, they bring dishonor to the good news about Christ. They make the gospel of Jesus look bad instead of attractive, delightful and appealing.
As Rand Hummel says in his book, Fear Not, the only way to make the gospel look good is to “replace fear with confidence, worry with trust, and apprehension with faith.” It’s good to always put before us that “our fears affect not only the way others see us but also the way others see our God.”
So, today, choose the brave option in your life, choose truth and righteousness as your armor and take the kinks of fear and worry out of it. Be strong and courageous, do not let fear guide you; for who is with us is greater than the fear we face. If we do what is right, then God’s favor will be upon us. On the other hand, if we do what is wrong, sin knocks at our door waiting to devour us. When we sin, we exchange the right hand of the Lord’s help for the human hand of strength. In the end, our strength wears out, but His continues without fail.
Which do you choose today? Fear or truth? Your gut feeling or righteousness?