Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Intoxicating Fear

Daily(ish) Blogging in Lent 2016 - Day Five

jesus sending away satan: image source

Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, that the Day does not catch you unaware... - Luke 21:34a , (reading from the daily lectionary, Feb 17, 2016)

It is interesting that the author of the Gospel of Luke links intoxication and drunkenness to worries and anxiety. 

It is interesting that anxiety, intoxication, the things that cloud us up and dissipate our spirits can even keep us from seeing the arrival of God on the days when God shows up; not to mention that, in excess, these things can speed along our deaths, and take away from lively, life-giving lives. 

God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind… - 2 Timothy 1:7

Is there an opposite of fear? A remedy? 

The author or Second Timothy thinks so. And it is not courage. In the epistle, the opposite of fear is power—and, for Christians, power rooted in Love. 

Over the last couple of years, I have learned from some good friends that fears are best written down, transferred from my brain onto a piece of paper. There, I can see them, analyze them, ask God for God’s Spirit of power and love.

It’s a great Lenten practice. It’s a great life practice. 

Karl Barth once said that “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” Fine. But only because in prayer, somehow, God’s Spirit can do what I cannot. God’s Spirit of power and love casts out the spirits of fear and timidity that bind me, that do not want me to grow in power and love. At least that’s what I pray for. I think a lot of times it works. 

If I don’t do this, fear and anxiety intoxicate, they poison—they mess up my motor skills, my perception, my recognition of God here and there and all around me, in me, in you. And they kill the possibility of me moving powerfully in love to create what God has called me to create. 

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience? 

What has God called you to create in God's Spirit of power and Love? What are your fears? Where do those fears come from? How are they holding you back? 

At the advice of another good friend, these are some questions I’ll be reflecting on (again) for a while, throughout the next bunch of days. I'll be focusing especially on "Where do they come from?" mostly in private, but a little bit here.   

Perhaps you’ll join me. 

"Perfect Love casts out all fear," says 1 John 4:18.

Come, Spirit of Love. Free us. 

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