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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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Who do I want to be during COVID-19? Fear Zone, Learning Zone, or Faith Zone?

Never trade what you do know for what you don’t know! This is one of the most important principles of being a “Christian Thinker,” especially in a COVID-19 world. We have a choice to make: We can focus on the problems or we can trust the promises. Our emotions can lie to us, and we need to counter our emotions with truth. We rest in who we are in Christ and the promises of God are for today.

There are 31,102 verses in the Bible (23,144 in the Old Testament and 7,958 in the New Testament). What verse would you guess is the most-searched-for Bible verse? It’s not John 3:16. In fact, for three-years-in-a-row this is the verse:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Jesus likely preached the “Sermon on the Mount” several times (see Matthew 5-7). In Matthew 6:25-34, three times Jesus says, “Do not worry!” This is a command. It is far easier to write the words “do not worry” than apply them to life, but one of the greatest promises of the Bible accompanies the promise. God’s peace will guard your hearts and minds. When we cannot see the hand of God, we must trust His heart and character (I have written about this theme extensively in my Bible study Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions).

Audrey and I are blessed with five children. One of our children has struggled with severe anxiety at times since the schools were closed in March. We have seen how fear can paralyze anyone, even those in our family. How should we respond as Christian Thinkers? I have a special message for you. We can live in the “protective presence of God,” which promises God’s presence in our lives, no matter our situation. We mix the promises of God with faith and rest. 1 Peter 1:3-9 says we have a “living hope”

We live in faith, not fear. Like you, as Audrey and I have prayed, ministered, written, flexed, and lived in 2020, we have noticed many people living in the “fear zone” (see image above) rather than the “faith zone.” I ask you to prayerfully review the infographic above and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about where you are and where He needs you to be.

We also pray. Our family continues praying for all on the front lines. What a reminder to live in the present and enjoy it immensely. We have grace for today and present pleasures (time together) are among God’s good gifts.

We Think Christianly. Being a Christin Thinker means we do not allow our minds to be corrupted by culture. Being a Christian Thinker means we do not allow false-information to steal our joy and hope. Being a Christian Thinker means we anchor every emotion and feeling to the truth of God’s changeless character and unbreakable word. Being Christian Thinkers ensures we are never silenced.

We bring hope. As followers of Jesus, we are the people who bring hope. Hope comes when we have a plan. I hope you enjoy a special Sunday sermon for you today linked below. Authentic Christian faith is never surprised by adversity or problems.

Thank you, Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Watch Dr. Johnston’s recent message “The Protective Presence of God”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jeremiah Johnston Show Podcast