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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Fear Factor

Maybe it’s just me – but I don’t think so.

What I mean is this: There are way too many conflicting messages being thrown at us all the time, all having to do with fear.

For instance, I remember not so many years ago scientists were warning us of a new Ice Age. You and I, and many generations of our offspring, would be long dead before this Ice Age ever arrived. But we were told, none-the-less, that we were steadily moving in that direction. Now we are informed that we are rapidly facing the inevitability of Global Warming. So which is it? Good for you? Or not good for you?

Coffee became a bad thing some years ago. It’ll cause you to have a heart attack. It will harden your arteries. It’s bad, bad, bad. So what’s this that has come out recently stating that coffee is actually good for you? Two cups in the morning is now considered to be healthy. Really? So which is it? Good for you? Or not good for you?

Then there are eggs. These were declared to be really bad for you because of the high amount of cholesterol found in the yolk of a chicken egg. More recent studies have discovered that there is also a substance in the egg that blocks absorption of cholesterol into the body. So which is it? Good for you? Or not good for you?

Then there’s my all-time favorite food – chocolate. In my personal lexicon of foods, chocolate ranks as one of the major food groups. It’s practically un-American to not love chocolate! Yet we were informed some years ago that chocolate is very bad. Not so anymore. Chocolate is actually good for you – especially dark chocolate! Yahoo! That’s my favorite. So which is it? Good for you? Or not good for you?

It seems to me that we are living in a day and age when we’re deathly afraid of everything. We’re afraid of certain foods; we’re afraid of war; we’re afraid of terrorists; we’re afraid of buildings and bridges collapsing; we’re afraid of gangs; we’re afraid of a home invasion; we’re afraid of Big Brother; we’re afraid of politicians; we’re afraid of the future; we’re afraid of meteors hitting the earth; we’re afraid of hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes; we’re afraid of inadequate healthcare; we’re afraid of road rage; we’re afraid of increased taxation; we’re afraid of sexual predators; we’re afraid of what’s on the Internet; we’re afraid of our children; we’re afraid of cancer; we’re afraid of getting old; we’re afraid of dying; we’re even afraid of fear.

There’s something that seems to be at the root of all these things. That “something” is man’s underlying obsession with death and dying. We find ourselves in a struggle with the inevitability of death. We’re going to die some time. So we strive to avoid our own imminent demise. There’s a date in the future when it is our time to leave this world.

But we live as though we should expect never to die. We want guarantees. We even use the legal system by bringing endless lawsuits against doctors who do not make us all better. There’s a law going through Congress right now that is attempting to hold certain businesses accountable for not anticipating that their product would add to global warming. Now isn’t that something? You’re guilty because you were not clairvoyant in predicting an unknown negative effect your product would have on the environment.

Fear – fear of death in particular – can prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest. It can even paralyze a person, preventing them from functioning in life’s most basic of tasks.

The Bible has much to say about man’s concern with fear. King Saul disobeyed God. When it was revealed to him how and when he would die, he was numbed with fear. Almost without exception, when angels appear in Holy Scripture, the first words they speak are, “Fear not.” Paul tells us that God has not given believers a spirit of fearfulness, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

Best of all, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Why? Because he overcame sin, death and the grave. This is why Christians can smile when confronted with the prospect of death, for “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Death in this life is inevitable, but there is eternal life – you have Jesus’ word on it. Trust him today and watch your fears disappear.

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