One of the biggest indicators of separation from Christ is fear. In John 14:27, Jesus said “peace I leave with you, peace I give you.” While that seems rather simple, the fact is that fear is often hidden deep within a person.
So then, where does fear come from? Fear comes from not understanding. Fear comes from a misalignment between two truths. In psychology, this is known as cognitive dissonance.
When faced with a contradiction between our hearts and our actions, it causes us to either:
A. Change our actions to match our hearts
B. Justify the actions by changing our hearts
C. Justify the actions by adding exceptions in our hearts
D. Ignore/deny that any conflict exists
The problem is that, as Christians, our natural actions do not match our hearts (see Romans 7 for Paul’s woes over this). In short, we are all hypocrites by nature. Unless we find a way to change our actions to match our hearts, we will automatically begin to either justify our actions or ignore and deny that we are hypocrites.
What is the only way to change our actions? In John 15:5, Jesus says that “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” In short, we have to be branches who are rooted in Christ. We have to be filled with the living water that only comes from the well of Christ. Apart from that, our actions are as filthy rags in God’s eyes.
Only then can we love. Only then can we bridge the gap between our hearts and actions and have any understanding of God. Only then can we have peace instead of fear. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
If “new” ideas, like women having the authority to teach men or be co-leaders of their families causes you to be angry and to want to silence such “foolishness” with your extensive Biblical understanding, you are not alone. The pharisees felt the same way when they heard of Jesus’ absurdly radical love.
I don’t have everything figured out, but I do know this:
Jesus did not destroy the temple and rip the veil in two just to rebuild the same walls.
Jesus did not come to distinguish the boundaries between men and women, jew and gentile, he came to demolish them.
Jesus did not die on the cross just so people could continue to take advantage of religious systems, lifting themselves up and putting others down.
Jesus did not raise to the highest place to get a better view of which human was above another.
On the contrary, He came to prove that we are all the lowest of lows, because it is only when we humble ourselves that we are exalted by Him.
In conclusion, my prayer for all who read this is that which Paul prayed in Ephesians chapter 3:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”