Friday, April 24, 2020

Outside Looking In

So if it's not the terrible sinners or the faithless who are most likely to miss out on the eternal glory of God, who is it? The group at the top of this list (which is found in Revelation 21, if you're looking for it) is:


The fearful. Those who are too afraid to take the step that God is asking them to take. Those who are too hesitant to believe the promise that God has made to them. Those who can't see past the place where they are to even imagine anything better. Those who are locked in the smallness of their own world. Those who cannot humble themselves or free themselves to step outside their own box.

It makes sense when you put it in the grand scheme of Scripture. What are the words God always seems to start with when He's about to do something big? Don't be afraid. And almost everyone who has ever done anything in God's story needed to hear those words. Every single act of faith we're ever told about starts with those words and then with a man or a woman stepping out, putting fear aside, and going for it.

Imagine how different the story of God, the story of His people, would be if any one of these men or women along the way had chosen fear over faith.

Noah would never have built the Ark, and all of mankind would have died in the flood. Abram would never have left home, which would have kept him far from what would become the Promised Land. Moses would never have spoken to Pharaoh, leaving Israel as slaves in Egypt. David would not have defeated Goliath, trapping Israel in a stand-off with the Philistines. Nehemiah would never have returned to Jerusalem, leaving the Temple in rubble. Mary would never have borne the Christ child. Peter would never have dropped his fishing nets; Matthew would never have left his tax booth. These men and women experienced the glory of God, but they had to go for it. Every single story that draws us from somewhere east of Eden to a place called Home depends upon someone who chose faith over fear.

Our own story depends upon the same.

Don't be afraid.

Fear holds us back from a lot of things. It keeps us from moving away from what we know into the unknown, even when God is calling us to new places. It keeps us locked into the smallness of our own fragile experience, rather than letting us into the mystery that is beyond what we can understand. But no one has ever seen God's glory by playing it safe. No one has ever witnessed the incredible awesomeness that is God by standing still. God requires us to go beyond what we can know and what we can understand so that we find something greater than ourselves.

Those who are most likely to miss the eternal glory of God...are those who are unwilling to risk to have it.

You probably know this already. You have probably already spent some time in your life thinking about how different things would be right now if you hadn't been afraid at that last fork in the road. If you hadn't hesitated, if you'd just gone for it, if you could have convinced yourself to take the risk, just think of where you'd be now. Just think of what your life could be like if you hadn't missed that opportunity. Rather, if you hadn't blown it. We all have those moments. I've got those moments. I've got those opportunities that I wish I could get back, even though I know that God is working all of my missteps and hesitations for good.

It blows my mind how much of God's glory I have missed because of my fear. And yet, that's exactly how God said it would be.

Those most likely to miss out on God's eternal glory are the cowards, the ones who won't let themselves go for it.

Do not be afraid. 

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