by Jim Campbell, Pastor, Bay West Church Palm Bay, Fl
It’s amazing that we just went through a lockdown of 30 days, and at the time of this writing, we don’t know how long it’s going to take before we “re-open” Florida. People are on edge. People are afraid, People are unsettled.
No matter where you look, someone has an opinion, and usually, it’s an extreme one…aimed at the leadership of a business, a group or government, whether it’s local, state or national. One of the things that happen when things get harsh, is the profiteers come out of the woodwork to “get theirs” and one of their most used tools… the hammer in their toolbox… is fear mongering. The louder they can freak out, the more they claim they care and if you cared as much as they did, or you knew as much as they did, then you’d be freaking out too.
The truth is that this type of thinking is a lie usually. Far too often, people mistake panic for passion and gravitate toward fear mongering. For the Christ follower, panic and fear are red flags, not for danger being around you, but for the danger being inside you.
Fear and faith have an inverse correlation, which plays out in many ways, but one of them is this. When we are most fear-driven, we are least faith-driven, and consequently, when we are most faith-driven, we are least fear-driven. In a letter from his mentor, Paul, Timothy was informed that the Spirit that God gives us is “not a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power, love and self-discipline.” When we are driven by panic, that’s not God driving us, that’s something else.
What that means is that not living in “freak out mode” is a choice for those who follow Christ, but surprisingly some people choose to live there willingly. Sometimes we buy the “freak out more, care more” myth, believing the lies. Others may thrive off the presence of conflict in their lives, depending on drama and not God to drive them. Still, others just simply don’t believe that they have the ability to control themselves in Christ, choosing a lack the faith to trust God in their circumstance.
Any way you slice it, the cure for unsettledness is faith and trust in God and His Word. Believing the promises of God and relying on His truth to displace the lies around us. Does that mean we never get sick or never have trouble or hardship? Absolutely not, in fact, we probably will have trouble (Jesus said so), but what it means is that when those days come…when there’s a plague or a lockdown or whatever… we’ll have the ability to live with grace and joy in the middle of chaos because when the times are unsettled, we don’t have to be.
The Apostle Peter wrote a letter to all the Christians scattered around the world at his time, some in horrible situations of torture and persecution and he wrote “may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
That’s my prayer for you wherever you are, that God would settle you, even when the times themselves are exactly the opposite.
Jim Campbell is the Lead Pastor of Bay West Church, which meets at 100 Emerson Drive in Palm Bay Florida