The exchange in this video, taken from an open forum at UPenn, discusses fear, but what strikes me is the utter calm Ravi Zacharias possesses. He states clear reason for fear, but does so in a way that is fully unafraid. He’s certainly not shaken by the condescending tone of his challenger. How is that?
I have long admired Ravi. He makes apologetics look easy. He makes me want to be smarter.
I say that, but the more I listen to him, the more I dissect what he knows and says and his demeanor and delivery, the more I realize that it’s not his intelligence or quick wit that I want, but his confidence. Don’t get me wrong — he is a brilliant man and I would love to have my brain work like his! But more than that I want his unshakable confidence. I want to live and speak unafraid.
Let’s face it: Most Christians live in bubbles. We have our little church sub-cultures and interact primarily with others who live with those same ideas, theology and basic worldviews.
To be fair, I think every human lives in bubbles of his or her own making, but since Christians are not of this world (John 17), ours bubbles seem to be a bit more obvious. Definitely counter-cultural. I also believe our bubbles are made more obvious by how fiercely we protect them. Maybe even by how fragile we know those bubbles to truly be.
Setting Aside Defenses to Stand on Sure Foundations
What typically happens when someone questions my faith or my stance on something? I get defensive. It’s completely involuntary, a knee-jerk reaction. I’m not the only one, I’m sure. I get defensive and then I panic because — what if I’m wrong? What if I don’t really know what I think I know and what if all that I’ve based my life on is … well, isn’t as solid as I had convinced myself it was?
Insecurity leads to fear.
Fear leads to knee-jerk reactions.
Knee-jerk reactions lead to damage.
I want to live unafraid.
Here’s the thing: The more I know God, the less I have to fear. He is my Defense and nothing shakes Him. The less I fear, the more confidence I will have. The more confidence I have, the more calm I will project.
Confidence cannot be rooted in myself, my circumstances or my intelligence. All of those are shifting, imperfect foundations. But GOD — He never changes. He is a fortress, a sure foundation. Only when I am fully rooted in HIM will I lose those fears, those doubts and my perpetually insecure defensiveness.
And how can we do that? Spend time with Him. Study His Word. Know what it is I say I believe and know it fully. Pursue Him daily and in the dailies.
Okay, let me step back for a moment. This all sounds so simple. It is and it’s not. Faith is not formulaic; it must be organic to be authentic, but taking steps in the right direction can fertilize growth.
I don’t know that we can ever truly abolish fear. If we could, the Bible wouldn’t be so peppered with instructions to “fear not.” Fear is a natural part of living in a cursed world of imperfect, selfish people. BUT we who trust in Christ have a sure hope. We know who wins. We know who reigns supreme — it is our God! One day He will restore perfection. Until then, we must simply keep our eyes, hearts and minds trained on Him. Therein lies our confidence. Therein lies our boldness and courage — not because of what we know or who we are, but because of who HE is.
TALK TO ME. How do you stay focused on God in this noisy world? What suggestions do you have for being in this world, but not of it, and yet fully unafraid?
As we discuss being in this world, but not of it, I have to refer you to this article by David Mathis, featured on the Desiring God website. If we must pop our bubbles, let’s do it effectively.
Also, my friend T. E. Hanna wrote about fear today, too. Check out his post — 3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Conquer Fear — here.