ISIS. ISIL. IS.
The Islamic State is openly targeting Jesus followers – Christians. They are killing our brothers and sisters.
Paris was attacked. The Islamic State has made threats. We are at risk.
These are big - wait - no these are GLOBAL dilemmas. I can feel helpless.
But… I’m not helpless. In fact, you and I have the potential to make a pretty MASSIVE impact on the people living on this planet.
So how does little ol’ me respond to the big bad Islamic State?
The effectiveness of terrorism hinges on one thing: that we are terrorized.
Being terrorized is to be struck with an extreme fear. Fear causes us to act irrationally. Out of fear, we abandon values that are at the center of who we are.
Remember the story of Noah – you know, Noah and the Ark?
Noah faced a global crisis. Almost the entire population of the earth would be wiped out in a flood. God warned Noah and then gave him direction in building a boat (Genesis 6:13-14).
If I knew that a crisis was coming, it would be tempting to be selfish and disobey what God commanded me to do. For my own safety I might say, “I’m not going to take lions on the boat… and sorry no bats, bats are creepy. I don’t want them to bite me, I’d turn into a vampire.”
Ok, maybe I wouldn’t turn into a vampire, but you get my point – I’d be worried about my safety, as I’m thinking about my favorite person, me. Yet, Noah straight up obeyed God despite the potential risks. Genesis 7:5 says, “So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.”
Noah did not build the boat out of fear of a flood, he did not determine who could come on the boat out of fear for his safety, but out of faith. He had obedient and humble faith.
Noah overcame evil by responding out of faith, not fear.
Evil wins when Christians react out of fear. Evil wins when we marginalize Muslims in our culture. Evil wins when we don’t take action to care for the refugees. Evil wins when we care more about me, myself and I than we care about others.
I don’t fear persecution; I have faith that I will be persecuted. The bible says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). If you and I live godly lives, we will be persecuted – that is part of the cost of following Christ. I don’t fear it, but I have faith that it is coming.
Fear is the weapon of the terrorist, but we have a greater weapon: perfect love. The Bible says that, “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Terror is a form of fear. This means that, PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT TERROR.
PERFECT LOVE OVERCOMES TERRORISM. You and I have no reason to fear because “perfect love” is the greatest weapon and we know that “no weapon formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).
We can overcome enemies without becoming like them. We can oppose terrorism without causing terror. Jesus offers a third way - a way that requires faith.
In my blog post “Christian Nation” Versus Church’s Mission, I described that the world is trying to gain power over people, while Jesus flips that structure upside down. Jesus gains power through service and sacrifice.
He washed the feet of other people. He cared for the poor. He spent time with the worst of sinners. He went to the people no one would go to.
Terror is a powerful weapon and ISIS uses it strategically. Let’s turn some tables and show them who the church truly is, not to win power over people, but to serve people so that their hearts might be won for the Kingdom of God.
I’m not naïve; I have faith and honestly believe that no one – yes I said not one person – is beyond the reach of God’s love and grace. Stepping out in faith and loving the worst of the worst is when the Body of Christ is at her best.
We were called to love without fear of the risk or expectation of return.
Faith is greater than fear & love is worth the risk.
I am undeniably convinced that the perfect love of the cross is the most effective and strategic answer to the threat of terrorism.
Jesus says, “fear not, for I have overcome this world” (John 16:33).
- Author: Brandon Maddux... that makes sense since you're at brandonmaddux.com