Friday, February 05, 2016
Obama: "Jesus is a Good Cure For Fear"
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday morning in Washington DC, President Obama said, "If we let it consume us, the consequences of fear can be worse than any outward threat. For me, I know for so many of you, faith is the great cure for fear."
Continuing, the president said, "Jesus is a good cure for fear."
It was Jesus Himself who once asked, "Who do men say I am?"
Being told by His followers, "Some say you are John, the Baptist, some Elijah, others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He asked, "But who do you say that I am?"
As the public narrative in America turns more toward faith, and it is, the question remains, "But who do you say that I am?"
The religious Left and the religious Right are weighing in on Christianity. And Jesus.
President Obama told the crowd attending the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday morning, "On this occasion, I always enjoy reflecting on a piece of Scripture that's been meaningful to me or otherwise sustained me throughout the year, and lately, I've been thinking and praying on a verse from II Timothy: 'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind'."
With the pretext that fear is not from God, the president then listed the many ways in which fear can work in our lives and actions---"we can lash out at those who are different than us;" "lead us to try to get some sinister other under control;" "succumb to despair or paralysis or cynicism."
He said, "God gives believers the power, the love, the sound mind required to conquer any fear," and, "What better time than these changing tumultuous times to have Jesus standing beside us, steadying our minds, cleansing our hearts, pointing us towards what matters. His love gives us the power to resist fear's temptations."
The president said, "He gives us the courage to reach out to others across that divide rather than push people away. He gives us the courage to go against conventional wisdom and stand up for what's right even when it's not popular---to stand up against our enemies, but sometimes stand up to our friends."
"Jesus is a good cure for fear," he said.
Indeed, Scripture is clear, "God has not given us a spirit of fear."
However, as the discussion about religion in America ramps up, so must Jesus' question---"Who do you say I am?"---become more central to that discussion.
There is difficulty among some who profess Christianity to be able to clearly define who Jesus really is, and in the difficulty, define Him and His mission by His teachings rather than defining His teachings and mission by His true Identity.
This was the case even while He was on earth as His followers explained, people tried to define the person of Jesus by invoking well-respected prophets---Elijah, Jeremiah and others---even John the Baptist---all great guys, used mightily by God, but Jesus isn't that. They were mortal, Jesus is not.
He is God.
Jesus is not merely a cure, He is Redemption, restoration and eternal salvation.
Some would say this is just semantics. But it isn't.
While I appreciate the president's focus on Scripture, he himself has stumbled publicly, more than once when asked, "Is Jesus the only way to God?"
The environment of political correctness and so-called "inclusiveness," I'm sure, influenced his response, however, he is on the record as hesitantly admitting that Jesus may not be the "only" way to God, but Jesus is his personal way to God.
Oprah and other high profile personalities have made the same claims while professing to be committed Christians.
This is a snapshot (or screen shot) of a culture, founded on biblical values, that has strayed from its religious moorings. From that has emerged an eclectic kind of "Christianity," adapting God's Word to an ever changing culture. Creating a god in our own image.
A culture that struggles to identify who Jesus really is can be easily led to believe that "Love Wins Out," a book by a prominent former evangelical pastor, Rob Bell, that makes the case that homosexuality is not only not wrong, but biblically affirmed because "God is love," therefore God ordains same-sex "marriage."
Thus setting aside Scripture that clearly teaches otherwise in favor of claiming the attribute of God over His Word.
Nancy Pelosi has said abortion is blessed by God because it gives women choice and freedom, and there is freedom and liberty in God.
Our own president, yes this president, in his concluding remarks to Planned Parenthood last year called on God to "bless their work."
And finally, yes, indeed, God has not given us a spirit of human fear.
While it is true, human fear produces despair, cynicism and paralysis from which God can and does deliver us, there is also a fear that is the beginning of wisdom---a sound mind.
Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Clearly there are 2 kinds of fear.
The one that all of us struggle with from time to time---something the Lord has not given us, but from which He can and will deliver us.
The other, a "reverential awe" of Almighty God and His Word.
It is impossible to find peace and security in today's world by attaching ourselves to the attributes of God while denying His true identity, and the Truth of His Word---shaking our fist of rebellion on matters of the sanctity of life, family and marriage.
When asked who he believed Jesus to be, Peter was not hesitant in his response. He told Jesus (Matthew 16:16), "
Peter's response was so correct that Jesus said upon that statement of faith, "I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."
The question is not a new one, but has never been more relevant: "Who do you say that I am?"
The writer of Hebrews (12:28,29) defined the proper relationship with God: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."