by Todd Shupe
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV).
One of the greatest freedoms we have as Americans is our freedom. The first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights guarantee us certain rights that are fundamental to our freedom. Despite all of our freedoms, many people still live in bondage and have denied themselves true freedom.
Many us live in fear of something – death, debt, an abusive spouse, etc. Some live with guilt over something from their past. Others have self-condemnation due to an inability to impress their parents, achieve a promotion, etc. These people are alive but spiritually dead. Our human condition is such that sin is inevitable. A vast majority of the New Testament was written by Paul, and he was a Godly man that struggled with the sin in his life. Paul knew very well of the consequences of sin. In Romans 6:23, Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As Christians we no longer have to live in bondage to our sins. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). We may still be condemned by others, but in the eyes of God we are forgiven because of the blood of Jesus.
You may be thinking – yes, I understand that I can sincerely repent and receive forgiveness, but I am still struggling with fear and anxiety due to some unresolved personal issue. First, fear and anxiety is natural. Too much is unhealthy, and counselors have the God-given gift of helping us to learn coping skills. Second, did you know that Jesus had anxiety? Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane before his death. His heart was heavy laden and He asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” Jesus was expressing his dreed of the coming trials, but He also reaffirmed His commitment to what God wanted. He was modelling for us the importance of, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Jesus knew we would have problems, but we can take comfort in Him. John 16:33, teaches, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus offers us His peace, and His peace is “a peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). That is true freedom.
Prayer: Dear God: Thank you for the peace you offer us in Jesus. Help us to accept His peace. We take comfort that when we walk through the darkest valley, we will fear no evil. We will fear no evil because we know you are with us. Amen.
About the Author:
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.