The Bandit of Joy

I know many in our KCWN family enjoyed the Zach Williams and For King and Country concert last week at the Iowa State Fair. Our station manager Bev was at the event, and this morning she shared about her experience during Zach’s performance when he sang his hit “Fear is a Liar.” At one point in the song he stepped back from the mic and let the crowd take over, and a chorus of voices joined together as words of the song filled the fair grounds.

“Fear is a Liar” has been a huge hit for Zach Williams, and for good reason - I doubt I need to remind anyone that our daily lives are filled with any number of triggers to get us to be afraid. Health. Money. Relationships. Politics. My main trigger is physical pain - when chronic pain flares up, I can let my emotions get the best of me and start imagining the worst. When that happens I can at times find myself paralyzed by fear, afraid to leave the house or do much of anything at all. God must know we struggle with fear, because the Bible includes 365 mentions of “fear not” - one for each day of the year!

I think fear is the quickest path to losing our joy and contentment in life; Max Lucado thinks so too and talks about this in his devotional “The Bandit of Joy.” Max writes:

The bandit of joy is fear. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow. His arsenal is vast. His goal? To create cowardly, joyless souls.

We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, popularity. Only inward character creates courage. And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes. The result of this process is courage— “they shall inherit the earth.”No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth.

I don’t know about you, but I sure like the idea of being dominated by the spirit of Christ vs. the bondage of my fears! I want to live in hope!!! Why then do I base my identity on temporal things that can’t - and won’t -last?

Max gives us these words of encouragement:

If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus. That means that failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure. How could you not be courageous?

After a rough start this morning with lots of crazy anxiety, I spent some time reciting over and over the truths of who I am in Christ - forgiven, redeemed, set free, a child of the King, guaranteed a home with him forever in eternity. As I did my attitude began to shift and my mind started to clear - solid rock vs. shifting sand. Does fear have a grip on you too? Remember who you are in Christ - the enemy can never take that away!