I’ve recently started reading a book called Prototype by Jonathan Martin, who pastors a church in North Carolina, USA. I’m three chapters in, and I’ve already highlighted many passages. Here’s one to whet your appetite:
If God is love, and perfect love casts out fear, then fear is the opposite of everything that God is. If perfect love casts out fear, then perfect fear must also cast out love. To put it more starkly, fear casts out God in our lives.
Becoming an adult in our culture is synonymous with being made perfect in fear. The older we get, the more fragile we feel and the more precarious our future seems. The older we get, the more we feel we have something to lose. Imagination, wonder, joy, and creativity become endangered species. One by one, they begin to die off. But by then we’re too preoccupied with all that we fear to even notice that it’s happening.
Boy, does this hit home. Once you’ve made it to the wrong side of forty, any sentence that begins with “The older you get…” tends to resonate.
I know I’m a worrier. And I know this is a problem, not least because it causes stress and anxiety. You could say there are areas in which I’ve been “made perfect in fear”. But this passage points out very clearly that anxiety, worry and fear are not problematic merely because they’re bad for our emotional and physical well-being; they are diametrically opposite to everything that God is, and they cast out God.
To put it another way, when I allow fear to become the dominant motif in head and my heart – when I put my trust in fear, as it were – I am by the same token choosing not to put my trust in God and His lovingkindness. And in so doing I am driving Him out of the very areas of my life that most need to be infiltrated and invaded by His compassion, His mercy and His love.
I need some inner reprogramming. The kind that only the eternal Word and the Spirit of Truth can operate. Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.