By Jonathan David Faulkner
One of my favorite Bible Passages is found in Joshua 1:9 which says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”(ESV). It has been on my mind a lot lately as I have been mediating and praying through Joshua as part of my Lectio Divina. It has also been on my mind as I am preparing to enter a new season of life and has come to mind several times while watching the recent election coverage.
It is the latter that I wish to discuss in this article because it is so prevalent in our current culture. I mean, watch the news. Fear of Terrorists, fear of refugee’s, fear of oppression of religion or by religion, fear of each other, fear of the government, fear of Donald Trump. We have been fed, or force fed, a culture of fear. But instead of coming out against such a culture with the positive message of the Gospel the message of certain popular evangelist is to continue to feed that fear. They do it seemingly in a well-meaning article share, the result is the same, people become chained to fear.
The result is a lot of people doing highly irrational things (like voting for Trump) because they are afraid and that thing seems to promise them safety from that fear, which in time has been allowed to fest and turn to anger and hatred. Master Yoda was right on when he said: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to the Dark Side.”
So Christians riot in the streets, demanding a return to a perceived power touted by revisionists and Christian Constitutionalists. Out of fear they say things like: “I’m moving to Canada” or “I fear what will happen if so and so is elected president.” And sometimes this even comes from our own pulpits.
In an age of high biblical ill-literacy I suppose we should not be surprised, it is hard to know passages like Joshua 1 and 2 Timothy 1 exist when one has not read their bibles. It is hard to read about Peter stepping out on the waves to greet Jesus, or all the times Jesus or an Angel of the Lord said “Do not be afraid.” Again, it is hard to know those things are there if we never read it.
But in an evangelical world where people are culturally evangelical and not traditionally evangelical I suppose we should not be surprised. When church attendance is seen as salvific and used as an avenue to power. When you are raised in a place where the church is still clinging to an unhealthy idea of power that it sees slipping away, what else are we going to fall back upon if we do not have the biblical basis. We can call out to God to return us to power, as if we were entitled to political and cultural influence, and then get angry when we do not see him returning us to prominence. Like the Disciples, asking Jesus if he will restore the Kingdom of Israel.
I pray for those cultural evangelicals, that God would soften the blow when the Post-Christian Mindsets of the Northeast and other places start to creep in. What are they going to do when it actually becomes unpopular to become a Christian? How can they stand up to the type of persecution that comes with that? Subtle though it may be, hint, it has nothing to do with Red Cups.
Honestly it baffles me, how do we so justify this blatant ignorance of the word and those who know it, how do we justify ignoring it? If you are Christian, in any way, you should know the Word of God. And if you know the Word of GOD then you know that Donald Trump is not the answer, (neither are Kasich, Cruz, Sanders or Clinton). You know that for you to be afraid of what is going to happen in America, or what is going to happen in the world, is absurd in the light of Scripture. If you have read the text then you know that God’s promises are true.
If you do not know what that means, let me tell you.
It means that God will do what is right and just and we can trust that in the end all the wicked will be thrown down and the righteous will be lifted up. It means that God is the good shepherd and that no one can take us out of his hand. That regardless of what our circumstance, God has and will continue to provide for us daily bread and by his providence fill every need of His creation. It means that regardless of who is president, your eternal security is secure by the blood of Christ. It means that you have nothing to fear in any situation whatsoever because God is always with you no matter what and because of that you can now be strong and courageous.
If, as Romans says “The righteous shall live by Faith (1:15), then the righteous must have their faith placed where it belongs, in Jesus Christ. If the Christian wants power and boldness for chance, he should remember the power that comes from the Holy Spirit, that boldness that once shook a society to the core and saw thousands being added by the day. If the Christian wants comfort and rest, he should remember and rest in the promises of GOD that are revealed in Scripture.
We have nothing to fear. Not ISIS, not refugees, not a presidential candidate, not man, not beast. We are divinely plugged into the savior of the universe, we have communion with the God who made all these things and who is sovereign over all of these things. So be strong and courageous Christian, for your hope does not lie in man, but the creator of man. Be bold you Saint, for your eternity is secure in the blood of Christ. Be joyful son and daughter of GOD, your life is eternally hidden in Christ. Thought you may face death, and though you may face persecution and though you may face pain and loss and though the world tells you to fear. You can stand firm in the foundation of Christ our Lord and Savior who died on the Cross for our sins, was dead and buried and rose again on the third day, thus defeating death and bringing us a new, secure and eternal life and eternity in Heaven.
If you want to fear something, show that reverent and upright fear of GOD, for as Proverbs says, it is the beginning of wisdom.
Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree inChristian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry