joy v. fear

An epic battle, no? It can be in my life, I confess.

I was listening to the latest Rob Bell sermon this morning, and he was speaking about this very thing, the tension between joy and fear that can exist within us. He read from Luke 2 [An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”], and spoke a reminder that while fear is all about our projections into the future of what can go wrong, joy transcends circumstances and is a gift from above that helps us to see that we already have all that we need in Christ.

Fear is about the unknown; joy is about the known. Joy is about awareness of gift. Fear is about all of the possibilities that could transpire; joy is about what has transpired. Fear is about ‘this could happen and this could happen and this could happen’; joy is about ‘look what has happened. Fear can own us because we are crippled by all the unknown possibilities, how bad this could be, where this could go, how bad this could all fall apart … Joy is about Christ has come, Christ is coming, Christ will continue to come. – Rob Bell

There are many tensions to deal with when aspiring to follow Jesus, and this, for me, is for sure one of them. It would be easy [yet entirely harmful] to allow the fear to cripple, to project into the future and believe that all negative possibilities can and will occur. Or we decide to open our eyes to the reality that the joy of the Lord transcends our circumstances just as, in fact, Christ himself has brought a transcendent hope into our world.

Maybe I sound like a broken record these days, but it was a timely message to hear this morning, and I just wanted to share it.

Have a great rest of the week, friends.

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    • Mark
    • December 15th, 2007

    >Luke 2 [An angel of the Lord appeared
    >to them, and the glory of the Lord
    >shone around them, and they were
    >terrified. But the angel said to
    >them, “Do not be afraid. I bring
    >you good news of great joy that
    >will be for all the people.”]

    You may not recall that this is what Linus recited in the tv Christmas special “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown”. Actually Linus recited the King James version. It blew me away when I first heard it at 8 years old and I didn’t even know that it came from the Bible.

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