Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Sep 7, 2014
Barriers to Accepting Salvation - Fear
Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV)
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Throughout 2014, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church is getting to know Jesus, the Christ, in a refreshing and transformative way. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment here.
A Provocative Pondering
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)
When we honestly face the reasons that we fail to accept God’s gift of salvation, fear emerges as the dominant factor. Overwhelmed by our fears, we sometimes withdraw into a protective shell and cut ourselves off from others. At other times, we reach out and seek relief from our fears from sources that have no power to really relieve them – alcohol, drugs, work, distractions, superficial relationships, etc. Sometimes we find the fear focused on God, afraid that we are not worthy of such love and acceptance, or fearful of the changes living in Christ will make in our lives. In the end, we mask our fear for a time, but it comes back to haunt us and hinder our flourishing in the freedom of God’s grace.
That’s the witness of Isaiah, Jesus favourite prophet. The power that created us, that formed us to be blessings, calls, redeems, and frees us by overcoming our fears with divine love. Nothing deals with our fears other than divine love. God’s love liberates us to bless and that’s the essence of our salvation.
What fear haunts you most these days? Can you imagine what life might be like if that fear did not have the power over you that it seems to? Given the attractiveness of that freedom from fear, can you begin to trust in the power of God’s love, seen most clearly in Jesus and present within you through the Holy Spirit, to overcome the fear? That’s what faith is all about. It’s connecting with God’s desire for you to flourish, free of confining fears.
What does this mean for you? Give it some thought this week and remember that you can start a conversation about this question right here in the comments section
Join us in our study groups and worship services to ponder together what the Spirit is teaching us through this text.