On this week’s show we dissect how worry and fear are opposed to love and trust and how that hampers our decision making. This topic came to me while reading War & Peace. Two characters: Prince Andrei and Pierre Bezukhov go through adversity that allows them to consolidate their cares to only essentials and realize the frivolity of worry. Recalling Christ’s words in the Gospels they realize that focusing on the necessities without worry and fear but with intense trust in the Lord leads to happiness.
Why does Christ emphasize so often that a life in faith is difficult for the rich? The answer was given to us once by a wise sage of our era who said, “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.” Do problems really rise with money? Or is it that we self impose frivolous cares and worries when we have more things and more areas to be concerned about? I would pose that it is, largely, the latter. As humans we are so in touch with the tangible and things that are in front of our eyes that as the amount of things, experiences, etc. increase in our lives, we naturally grow concerned with them. That increase in concern distracts us from being concerned with the necessary unless we resist and make deliberate effort to stay grounded.
Once we are able to bring our selves back to reality, the other complicating factor is an imprudent amount of worry that builds to fear.
Is fear a Christian attitude? Scripture quite clearly references fear in positive terms when talking about things like fear of God, but in other places scripture tells us to “be not afraid” over 300 times! I would propose that fear is either good and prudent or simply not a Christian attitude depending on your definition. Fear, as understood in the context of “fear of God,” more closely aligns to reverence and respect. We should revere and respect the mightiness of God. Fear, as used today to mean an expectation of danger, is not a Christian attitude when applied outside of the obvious situation of imminent harm. Scripture does not intend to call us to expect danger from God. It does however call us in its popular refrain of “be not afraid” to understand that God and His grace is stronger than anything that could cause us to be worried or afraid. That attitude is necessary to live Verso L’Alto. To push yourself to the peak you must have the trust that worry and fear is frivolous. How do we bridge that gap? Love.
1 John 4:18 tells us that, “There is no fear in love [of God], but perfect love casts out fear.” This verse is true because God is all powerful and all good. This verse does not apply to fraternal or romantic love between people because of our ability and tendency to deviate from goodness and our simple inability to control everything. Thankfully, God’s nature overcomes both of those obstacles. That means that we can pursue our lives to do good without worry and fear like Christ tells us to when he tells us about the lilies of the field and the birds in the air. Love is the vehicle of trust that gives us that confidence. We will seldom attain certainty, but love gives us confidence to move forward and do the will of God.