Monday, July 19, 2010

Fear Not!

A fundamental feature of fear is control..  It is quite natural to want to control the outcomes in our lives, the circumstances in our lives even the people in our lives.  Why do we do this?  I think its because of fear.

The mother who fears for her children may make all of their decisions for them and hover over them and smother their free will.  She's afraid they may choose wrongly.  She fears the embarrassment that may come of errant children.  She fears for their safety.  She fears for their Eternal well being.  And in the end she often creates what she fears, as her inexperienced children lay claim to their rightful agency, but haven't had the chance to learn how to make choices.  She has purchased Satan's Plan and, hopefully not too late, discovered that it is wrong.

It is human nature to seek control of the variables in our lives.  The trouble is, God made this to be a world of constants and variables, of blessings and calamities, of joys and sorrows; of opposites.  Why did He do this?  He wants us to learn to rely on Him and not the arm of the flesh.  We get so excited about investments for our futures, and insurance policies and locks and deadbolts; all to help us feel secure in a world that was designed to be insecure so we would develop faith in Jesus Christ.

We get it in our heads that to get what we want we have be be in control of the process.  Satan again.  To get what he wanted he felt he had to control the plan and all of its participants.  All predators are control freaks.  They want life on their own terms and they will go to any lengths to have things their way.  Obviously, they could care less about anybody but themselves.  Satan is the ultimate predator.

The folks who built the Tower of Babel were control freaks too!  They wanted control of the means by which they could ascend into Heaven.  Apparently, they had rejected Jehovah's plan.  Probably due to fear.  They had to put their trust in Christ, but were afraid to relinquish control to Him, which is requisite to the Plan of Salvation.  They were afraid to give control to another, however benevolent, preferring to work their guts out instead.

Why do we seek control?  Because we can't bring ourselves to trust.  We essentially say, "If God is driving how will I get to my destination?  Sounds silly when you put it that way doesn't it?  That is unless you have other plans along the way.  We all say we want to go to Heaven but we're certain we need to go by way of Babylon and we fear God will take us by way of Enoch.  Somehow Satan has got out hearts set on Babylon with glitzy brochures and alluring TV spots.  We're pretty sure our lives won't be worth living if we haven't had the chance to check it out.  The lights, the glamor, the tastes and sounds and smells have great hold on us.  We live in fear that we might miss out on them.  Or,

We think Jesus might be a great teacher, a sweet counselor, but he can't possibly drive a car.  He walked everywhere he went.  We'll surely wreck shy of our destination.  We'd rather be behind the wheel ourselves and make sure we make it.  We fear letting our salvation be up to someone else.  Or,

We think we live on the wrong side of the tracks.  We think there's no way He'll drive over to the seedy part of town to pick us up and take us.  We're going to have to make our own way in the world and when we finally buy that house in the hill, then He'll swing by to give us a ride.  We fear our own inadequacy and then, ironically, turn around a depend on it.

The way to overcome fear is to relinquish control.  Our objective is not to get control of  our lives but rather, to surrender it to Christ.

Here again, Jesus is the ultimate, perfect example.  He declared that He never did anything except the will of the Father.  If you attend the Temple you will see how literally, He means that.  His desire is that we do the same thing.  Surrender our will to the Father.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell has told us that our will is the only thing we own outright, therefore it is the only gift we truly have to offer God.

How did the Jaredites change from Tower Builders to people who would willingly climb inside of a windowless, rudderless, sail-less, helm-less box and let God deliver them across the ocean?  They chose to give up personal agendas,  to relinquish control, to trust God, to be obedient and to have faith.  It took them a long time and a fair amount of practice to get to that state of mind.  And God patiently let them grow to that capacity.  But, and here's the clincher, they started with a commitment.  "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord, over mountain or plain or sea, I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord.  I'll be what you want me to be."

The Tower of Babel was built on fear.  The Jaredites Barges were built on trust and love.  Their account says that as they traveled in those barges for 344 day, they never did cease to sing praises to their God.

To the control freak, shutting one's self up in a Jaredite Barge is inconceivable; as inconceivable as it is to trust Christ to redeem him.  But don't give up on him.  God will confound him.  God will knock down his towers.  God will allow him to suffer the consequences of his pride until, in the end he his humble enough to "let go and let God."

1 comment:

Aleen said...

Candleman, thank you for sharing this comment on trusting the Lord and letting him guide your life. It's a simple plan, yet challenging for many Christians. Your message is well written and so appreciated. . .

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