John 8:24 KJV
What makes someone run into your arms can make another person run as far as they can away from you. There isn’t that much distance between COURAGE and FEAR.
Most often this is the basis for the decisions we make. Two people can be presented with the same situation. One may respond with fear and the other may respond with courage. Sometimes the one responding with fear may see elements of the situation that makes it so much more of a challenge or an impossibility. The only logical response must be one of retreat or suspicion or fear.
There are times that our intellectual prowess and ability to think through things and weigh them in every way possible becomes an impediment to exercising courage. Those who exercise courage tend to do so in the face of uncertainty. Those who exercise Fear tend to do so after considering the variables and being more certain of failure than success. This plays a factor in all major decisions we make about whether we go ahead with something or whether we retreat or withdraw from it.
Those who withdraw usually have good reasons to substantiate their fear. Those who exercise courage usually do so inspite of evidence to suggest that they shouldn’t which makes it difficult for them to explain why they did.
This applies to decisions about relationships, carriers and jobs, changes in our lives, entrepreneurial ventures etc. I see that it also applies when it comes to making a decision about whether to believe the good news of the gospel and whether to make a decision for Christ or to reject him. I find that many reject him out of fear. Fear for what he stands for, fear about the almost overly simplistic nature of the salvation he offers, fear about what it implies for their own life, fear from what they have observed happening to others who accept him etc.
I imagine an invisible line, let’s call it the start line that all human beings stand on. Following our birth irrespective of your background, as you live your life there comes a day when you are confronted with the opportunity to make a decision either to give your life over to God ,or not to do so. Irrespective of whatever form it might take, whether, through sickness, through a miracle you have observed, through devastation in someone else’s life, through hearing the word of God being preached, there will be a time, a day in your life when you have to make a conscious choice with regards to the issue of belief or faith. The decision you make is based on whether you exercise courage or fear. Courage will make you run into God’s arms but fear will make you run in the opposite direction.
‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
It takes grace to believe. But to speak in a layman’s language, it takes great courage to exercise faith. The evidence we have about God is around for everyone to see. Why then do we have different responses to him?
‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools’, (Romans 1:20-22 KJV).
We are all presented with the same view. The ‘wise’ are unimpressed with the evidence and choose to reject him. Those who choose to exercise courage and allow themselves to be drawn to him by the evidence before them, he rewards with his grace for salvation and the promise of eternal life. Friends, the difference between a believer and an unbeliever (atheist etc) is simply the distance between FEAR and COURAGE.
The evidence that Jesus is Lord is so clear that in my view, it takes more faith not to believe than it takes to believe. To look at everything around you, all the events of our days, to look at creation and all the miracles around us and to refuse or reject the Lord, that must take a lot of faith in the validity of your own reasoning power and your FEAR.
I hope that you will take a second look and exercise COURAGE instead. You will find that you made the right choice. See Jesus’s own words below, possibly the most chillingly conclusive words I have ever read. Instead of fear and the thought of retreat, these words propel me forward. They give me the courage to run into his arms and to acknowledge that he is Lord. I hope they do the same for you.
“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”. (John 8:23, 24 KJV)