There’s a new American Idol and it isn’t on TV. This new idol is so powerful & pervasive it dominates our decisions & determines our directions. People who are paralyzed by it see their dreams discarded, their faith diminished, their potential unreached, their strength stunted and their souls shrivel. The idol is called “Fear”. The fear of being wrong, of being hurt, of being disliked, of failure, of being politically incorrect, of being opposed, confronted or disagreed with. Fear is the greatest threat to living in the freedoms God and our Constitution intends us to live.
While certain amounts of safety; of looking before you leap or counting the costs before you buy something, makes sense, since the 90’s we’ve created the most non-risk-taking society in our history. We used to be bold, brave and courageous. We sailed across the oceans, pioneered a nation, stood up to oppressions, reached for the stars and pushed the limits and when met with resistance we unapologetically pushed back. But now, we’re the most seat-belted, knee-padded, bike-helmeted, air-bagged, private-schooled, gluten-free, hand-sanitizing, peanut-avoiding, sunscreen-lathering, massively medicated, hyper-insured, password-protected, politically corrected, security sensitive, insulated and inoculated generation in our history because we’re afraid of everything. We claim to be “the land of free & home of the brave” but our unsung anthem remains “safety first” and maybe since 911, “don’t hurt me”.
Most don’t “do this” or “that” or “dream big dreams” or “try great things” because “it might not be safe”. Most don’t share their faith, take a stand publicly, tithe regularly, give sacrificially or break old habits, take risks, build new relationships, or have adventures because “it might not be safe” And it might not be safe but when has life ever been safe, esp. for Christians?
Since the Gospels, Jesus regularly sends out Christians into the world to change people’s lives, summarizing the danger in Luke 10:3, “I am sending you out as lambs among wolves”. Counseling us to be “as wise as serpents yet as innocent as doves” Matthew10:16. And we need to be, because the world is, and can be a dangerous place.
Although the Apostles were smart, they weren’t renowned for their intellect, but for their bravery, and faith in Jesus. Similarly, the Founding Fathers of these United States although very intelligent and insightful, aren’t revered in history for their genius like intellect that wrote an eloquent Declaration of Independence and subsequent Constitution, but for their bravery of what they did. Neither the Apostles nor the Founding Fathers played it safe. Rather they were bold and brave.
What are you known for as a Christian? Playing it safe or being bold and brave? Do you take risks or are you afraid of them? Remember what God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look around you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you and hold you up with my righteous right hand.” Do you believe him and trust him?