Free of fear in a world that feeds on fear

We live in a world that feeds on fear, and the New Year won’t be any different. For the next 365 days we’ll be fed the same steady diet of doom and negative predictions for the future. It never lets up, around the clock. But aren’t our fears justified? Name, for instance, just one problem threatening our survival that we’ve solved:

War? Still happening.

Disease? Still rampant.

Famine? A child dies every 3 seconds from starvation.

Pollution? If we stopped all carbon emissions tomorrow morning, it would still take a hundred years for the atmosphere to clean itself.

Stretching the Earth’s resources beyond their limit? The oceans could be dead by 2050.

Religious nutcases? They’re on a roll.

Exploitation of the poor by the rich? Look what greedy bankers did to our global economy – and will do again as soon as they possibly can.

People? Haven’t changed – we’re still the same self-centred, short-sighted, judgmental, anxious mess we’ve always been.

No wonder we’re scared for our kids and grandchildren, because what’s the world going to be like for them if things keep going the way they are? And look how quickly our secure little world can descend into chaos. We live on a knife-edge, and we know it. And when people become really frightened, they stop at nothing to survive, and that’s scary too.

So when Paul writes in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,” that’s an amazing statement, because our experience on this planet is nothing but being slaves to fear. We live in fear of not having enough money, fear of cancer, fear of crime, fear for our children’s future, fear of wild weather, fear of what evil people are capable of, fear of being ripped off, and fear of getting old and dying. And, what’s more, we constantly and deliberately feed our fears, filling prime-time TV day and night with endless news of catastrophes, tragedies and predictions of doom. We are addicted to fear and ruled by it.

Is there an antidote for all this anxiety? Yes, verse 6, “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” There is a power that God provides that removes our fears. And how does this Spirit power work exactly? It removes the cause of our fear, which is, and always has been, our hostility to God, and replaces it with “the Spirit of sonship,” verse 15. And when it dawns on us that the greatest power in existence is in fact our Father and he loves us as his children, what on earth is there to be scared about – even in a world like ours?

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