Chicken Little is one of my favorite Disney movies. Don’t ask why. He essentially has lived a defeated life. He’s small. He’s bullied. He’s horrible at sports. He feels like a disappointment to his dad. He can’t seem to do anything right. And to top it off, he made a fool of himself by trying to tell the whole town that the sky is falling, without a shred of visible evidence. If you’ve seen the movie, you know how it turns out; a little different from the actual children’s story, but lately that’s what Disney does. But in the beginning of the film Chicken Little was filled with fear.
I’m not sure how this relates yet, but if you’ve been walking with me through John this far, stay with me. I’ve been meditating on the Gospel of John each morning, then coming here and working out my thoughts for the world to see. John chapter six is long, so I’m taking my time with it and meditating on the whole thing in small chunks. Today is John 6:35-40.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
This is where my mind went as I meditated this morning. This is where my mind still sits. When I read this, all that went through my mind is how most things in our culture are fear-driven. The news channels thrive on pedaling fear. Terrorists. Ebola. Economy. Crime. Natural disasters. It’s not that these things aren’t newsworthy, but they dominate the headlines as if they are the only newsworthy events. These headlines make us isolationists, they make us worry about the future, about our security and safety, and we fold in on ourselves as we attempt to keep the dangers of society at bay.
Socially we’re fear motivated. The emphasis this generation places on relationships seems to have more to do with the fear of being alone than the desire to cultivate meaningful, sacrificially loving relationships. It is epidemic for people to move from relationship to relationship, rebound after rebound, hook-up after hook-up (or whatever the cool kids call it now). So many women will settle for men who treat them as property. So many men will settle for women who are emasculating and demeaning. Why else would so many endure so much abuse except for they are afraid to be alone?
Economically we’re motivated by fear. We vote for people who promise economic security, regardless of the mettle of their character or the soundness of their policies. We’re told to get a good education and a good job so that we can be economically secure. We horde money in our savings accounts and 401k’s so we can live comfortably in our old age. Money is important, but we think about and treat money in ways that are motivated by fear rather than good stewardship.
Fear is a treadmill that never slows down. Fear is a Stairmaster – a staircase that never ends. It wears you down, never gives you a break, never allows you to rest, never gives you a chance to enjoy life.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
Much of the fear that dominates our culture is rooted in our life hunger (read more). Our lives were meant for something greater, but left to ourselves, we can never find it. We go from this to that to the other thing desperately trying to satisfy the growling of our lives, but nothing ever quite hits the spot. We spend our lives afraid of missing something because that something might be the thing that finally satisfies our hunger. Jesus is the only one, the only relationship, the only person who can satisfy the life hunger and stop the growling that moves us from idol to idol.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
If you have come to Jesus, you can be assured that he will never leave you. All those relationships that have started with high hopes and ended disastrously, they have driven you to fear and distrust. A relationship with Jesus has this promise: he will never leave you, he will never cast you out, he will be with you through everything.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever considered this, but if you have believed in Jesus, you are a gift from God the Father to God the Son. You are a gift! You don’t have to be fearful about your inadequacies about areas of your life where you think you lack because God has chosen you to be a gift in spite of them! Fear of failure has more to do with how you want people to see you. But when you understand how God sees you – a gift! – fear of failure fades and failure becomes a tool instead of a master.
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Every day brings us closer to a glorious destiny where Christ is King, death is dead, sin is judged, the Saints are avenged, the whole universe is recreated for eternity, and God dwells among his people on his recreated Earth in his new city!
The future, for those who believe, is one that gets brighter and brighter, even as the world gets darker and darker. First is the promise of eternal life. This life, for all of its strife and difficulty, is as bad as its going to get. The longer you live, the closer you get to your appointment with death, the sooner you will be with Jesus, and the sooner you will be raised to a new body, a new heaven, a new earth, and a world where all sin and evil are cast outside the new creation! We are so fearful of death. We are so fearful about how bad things get in this world. But the Christian has NO REASON TO FEAR!!
Sure, we mourn the absence of departed loved ones, but we don’t fear. We decry the murder and slaughter of the innocent, but we don’t fear. Weep with those who weep, but never give in to fear. Every day brings us closer to a glorious destiny where Christ is King, death is dead, sin is judged, the Saints are avenged, the whole universe is recreated for eternity, and God dwells among his people on his recreated Earth in his new city!
Fear? It is the most unreasonable disposition if you love and believe in Jesus. Unlike Chicken Little, we know why the sky is falling, and it makes us shine brighter and live with ever-deepening dependence upon Jesus.