A spirit not of fear

Built on a Rock

With a rise in yet another variant of COVID, the discussion around vaccines is getting heated again. Around dinner tables, out in public, and even in the parking lots of our churches, people are divided about what they believe is the right answer.

Nowhere is this battle more fervent, however, than on social media. People have lost friends and alienated loved ones over it.

I’m not going to tell you what to think about vaccines, but I do have something to say about the vitriol surrounding how many are dealing with it. Much of it boils down to fear. For some, it is the fear of contracting the virus while for others it is the fear that their civil liberties are being eroded. Both may be reasonable concerns, but giving in to fear is not the answer as it easily clouds our judgment.

A young woman, motivated by fear, posted on Twitter that not only had she gotten both doses of the Moderna vaccine, but that she later went to another provider and received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, “just in case!” The comments under her tweet were surprisingly supportive.

Others claimed to have done the same thing and, even more, they were seeking to arrange their own “boosters.”

Why were they engaged in this dangerous self-help strategy? Out of fear. They were afraid of COVID, afraid of Delta, and afraid of whatever might come next. I would not be surprised if they followed every breaking news bulletin about the virus. After all, fear is a popular tactic used by the media to manipulate people to tune in, and it is used by authorities to motivate people to comply. 

Fear is a favorite instrument of Satan, too. He uses it to manipulate and motivate people to lose their focus on God and redirect it to things they cannot control.

Whether or not you elect to receive the COVID vaccine is your choice. But, dear Christian, do not let yourself be motivated by fear to the point where you resent those who choose differently. Do not use fear to manipulate or motivate your neighbor.

The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” And Jesus tells us, “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

If you are sick and tired of news and social media filled with contradictory information, political theater, and fearmongering, then turn it off and turn to God. God provides you a refuge through his unchanging Word and in the fellowship of saints. Open your Bibles, go to worship, and receive the gifts won for you by the sacrifice of Jesus.

God calls you through love to rest in him. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

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