Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Four Kings and a Fearful Android

In Star Trek: Generations, the android Data finally got to put in an emotion chip and experienced the full-range of human emotions that he had always wanted. Data had always been the smartest guy in any room, the strongest guy in any room, and the most ethical guy in any room, but he had always wanted to be human and experience the same emotions everybody else experienced. But the emotion chip overloaded his artificial system at just the wrong moment. While the villain of the movie was taking his best friend hostage, this incredibly powerful android who could easily have saved the day and stopped the villain was frozen by fear. When I watched the movie the night before the official release I sat there stunned. What in the world was Data afraid of? He should have been wiping the floors with the villain! Instead he was paralyzed and acted like a little baby because his fears got the best of him.

Last time, we talked about how scared Abram was of the Egyptians, going so far as to give up his wife to save his own skin. Well, after God saved Sarai from Pharaoh and Abram was banished from Egypt, he returned to the Promised Land with Sarai and his nephew Lot. Lot was captured by four kings who had come in to conquer the Land, wiping out all of their rivals in the process.  The next thing we know, Abram "assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. He brought back all of the goods and also his relative Lot, as well as the women and the other people" (Genesis 14:14-16, NLT). I read that passage, how Abram had conquered an entire alliance of kings who had wiped out all of the local kings, and how he did it with only 318 men, and I thought, If he could do that, why was he so afraid in Egypt?

Fear is one of those things that can sneak up on us. Much of the time, fear is not rational. And often fear loses its power if we can stop and think about the situation or if we simply focus on what needs to be done rather then why it scares us. Don't get me wrong, fear can be a good thing when it causes us to be cautious in circumstances where we might hurt ourselves by simply rushing in. But we must use fear as a tool, helping us to recognize situations that require a little more thought, determination, or prayer. We must never allow fear to dictate our actions.  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment" (NLT).  Those three things - power, love and sound judgment - can change fear from the thing that drives you into a tool at your disposal.

Don't allow fear to paralyze you. Use fear as an indicator of where sound judgment, love and God's power are required. Then apply them to the task.

Insulting Your Dinner Host

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 3 One of the things that drove me crazy when my children were younger was how they had no shame in asking p...