Sunday November 7, 2004 | Greg Boyd
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This message was about the rampant fear pumping through the veins of our society. Even though America is one of the safest countries in the world, we have more fear than most other nations! But as followers of Christ, we are instructed not to worry (Matt. 6:25, 32-33, etc.). Instead, we have received a spirit of adoption, not slavery. We are God’s children, so there is no need to fear anything in this world. If our hearts and treasure are with the kingdom of God, then we should live without fear of anything in this world.
Today’s message was about the rampant fear that is pumping through the veins of our society. Even though America is one of the safest countries in the world, we have more fear than most other nations! We are pumped full of warnings, threats, bad news, crime, violence and other fear and anxiety producing information through all of our media channels. Even much of our advertising is aimed at causing fear so that we will purchase the supposed protection that the product offers. Everything from security systems to beauty products promises to help you overcome your fear of rejection by others! The core of Greg’s message was that living in the kingdom of God is to live without fear of anything in this world. We may be cautious when appropriate, but we need not be so worried.
In fact, we are instructed not to worry in Matt. 6:25, 32-33. Later, in Romans 8:15-16, fear is associated with the spirit of slavery! But we have received a spirit of adoption, not slavery. We are God’s children, so there is no need to fear anything in this world. This spirit that we have been given is further described in 2 Tim. 1:7 as a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. Again, Heb. 2:14-15 instructs us that Christ, through his death destroyed the power of death itself and with it, overcame the fear of death for all. This is the reality we are to live in as children of God!
Does this mean we have nothing to worry about? If we consider eternity, this is true. If our hearts and treasure are with the Kingdom, then yes, we are able to live without fear of anything in this world. If, however, our security is rooted in the things of this world, then we can expect anxiety because nothing in this world is really secure. Yes, there will surely be suffering in this life. No one will avoid that, much less the ones who follow Christ. This is why 1 Peter encourages us with, “even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated…” As we have heard repeatedly, we are to be imitators of God and live in love as Christ did. When we do this, we know that this love casts out fear of all that the world can threaten us with. (See 1 John 4:18; Eph. 5:1-2)
Recall Greg’s story about his childhood where he and his brother where fearful of monsters in the bedroom when thunderstorms occurred. The point of the story was that the nature of the fear/monster determines the nature of the security blanket we seek. The basic structure of this problem is that we, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, are told a lie: You lack “X” and to be really alive, you need to acquire “X.” Until then, you will not be complete, secure, good, whole, acceptable, or whatever. In response to this lie, we create a fear/monster around the idea of not having and not getting “X.” We develop strategies for getting or keeping “X” and projecting the image that we have “X” and all is well. All of this is a lot of work! And so we waste precious life on it rather than living in the fullness of the reality that we do indeed have all that we truly need in Christ, as children adopted by God. We are cared for.