I did not always work as a Pastor. I worked for while at a cellphone store as a Customer Service Specialist. I loved it because I was able to interact with people on a daily basis and help them through their issues.
One day a lady came in and she was uptight. She wanted to know how she could prevent one of the apps on her phone from accessing “all of her information!” She heard that a prominent social media app was able to access her camera, her contacts, and even turn on her microphone. She was very worried.
She then told me that she believed in the rapture and that one day the righteous will be taken up with God, and those who remain will endure a time of tribulation. She said that “they” will keep track of us through our cell phones. She was very upset about this and visibly shaken.
So, in the manner of any Customer Service Specialist, I attempted to set her mind at ease in regard to the app on her phone. I tried to explain that if she wanted to post pictures to her social media or to use the chat features, the app would need access to the camera and other information on her phone. (It is easier for the app maker to ask for your permission in advance than to ask every time you try to post a pic.)
This simple answer did not seem to calm her down, and she insisted again that “they” were keeping track of her. I did not want to start a debate about “them” or what they were going to do with her pictures, so I went to the heart of the issue—her faith and her fear.
This was certainly not a part of my job since it was a concern she had with her phone, so I did not hesitate to address the situation as though it were an everyday concern. I started by telling her that I too was a Christian. I believe in the same God she believed in and in His Bible. I mentioned 2 Timothy 1:7, and asked her if she knew what it said. She did not. So I quoted: “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (ESV).
She paused at this and immediately became defensive. She insisted that she was not really afraid, but she wanted to be prepared for when “they” would try to use her information against her during the tribulation. So I challenged her with this question:
“Do you really believe what you say you believe?”
“Of course,” she said.
“Well, you just told me that you believe in the rapture. That God will take all the righteous to heaven and they would be protected during the Tribulation.”
“So, do you believe that you will be left behind?” I asked.
“Well,” she hesitated then continued, “no, I guess not.”
“Then does it matter if ‘they’ get your information? You won’t even be here.”
She thought about that for a moment. “Huh, I never thought of it that way.”
“That is because it is easier for us to operate out of fear than it is to operate out of power and love and self-control. Especially if we do not actually believe what we say we believe.”
Unfortunately, many Christians do this. We often act as though we do not really believe what we are teaching others. Jesus faced this in the first century, too. He warned his followers to not act as the teachers of the law acted. “They do not practice what they preach” (Matthew 23:3b, NIV).
Living what we say we believe can be difficult, yes. So here is a tip: Teach others more often. In teaching others about the Gospel message, you are also teaching yourself. In studying the Word of God so that you can teach others, you too are coming to a better understanding of God. Romans 2:21 tells us that if we are going to teach others, we need to be following what we say we believe. It reads, “If you are going to tell people they ought not steal, then you should also not steal.”
It comes down to this—what do you really believe? If you operate out of fear that you might have put your faith in something that is not true, then you tend to not live what you say you believe. Do you really believe what you say you believe? Or do you fear that God won’t come through? God does not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of self-control. God is faithful. Do not fear, but have faith in Him!
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