Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Emotional Fear Factor

The idea of Fear Factor is to get people to do things that any normal human being would be afraid to face, let alone try on purpose. Forget being afraid of a solitary spider; how about we fill a whole room with arachnids and throw someone in!

Okay, I digress.

Image an emotional Fear Factor; you know, where there is some room filled with emotions and we would be thrown into the room just to see whether we could get out alive, so to speak.

Does the same thing happen to you as to me, where we suddenly wonder why we would rather climb into an arachnid-filled room than open the door to some hideaway in our hearts that has always screamed at us with… horrifying… FEELINGS?!

I have a question for God: is there some connection between all kinds of emotional stuff coming up for me, and God speaking to me about the spiritual gift of faith? Is God leading me to have the spiritual gift of faith in emotional things so that I can encourage and build others up as they face emotional things in their lives? Strange concept. Might work. God-sized.

Or, would it take more faith to believe God would energize the spiritual gifts of his church to minister to me should my emotions suddenly sproing-forth with four pairs of creepy little legs and threaten to undo me?

Anyway, this weekend I have been able to enter into one of my stories as a reader/editor. It is emotional. It also coincides with children leaving our daycare (some leaving our town), having a couple of children to look after while their Daddy was in the hospital over the weekend, being painfully reminded of people who once held a very personal place in my life but now have no room for me whatsoever, responding to a very personal email with zero response from any of the other recipients, posting a just-for-fun video on Facebook and facing a surprising reminder of childhood stuff, having a miserable night’s sleep, and having extra time this morning to FEEL!

It is in such real-life experiences as this that I hear the teaching of God’s word regarding spiritual gifts. God clearly wants his church to earnestly desire spiritual gifts,[1] including the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, and the expression of faith.[2] These appear to be the foundation for handling the others.[3] Perhaps, if these three gifts were used freely, it would help the church avoid extremes in the use of the other gifts?

It is tragic to see the division in the church between those who exaggerate spiritual gifts out of proportion to the teachings of God’s word, and those who deny some of the spiritual gifts in contradiction of the teachings of God’s word, when the Holy Spirit is working to distribute all the spiritual gifts among the whole body of Christ for the common good of all.[4]

Now, while this admission may trespass on minefields of self-protection, and lure some into theological digressions, my focus is simple: many of God’s children are emotionally crippled simply because they, and/or their churches, are overwhelmed by the Fear Factor that comes from threatening to open the emotional back rooms and bring the hidden things to God.

My contention is that God has given spiritual gifts to his church to enable us to lead members of the body of Christ to healing for the brokenhearted and binding up of their wounds,[5] so that they can join God’s work of using their spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ.[6]

Perhaps God wants us to know what it is like to have ALL the spiritual gifts in his church (as widely as he wants us to associate with his church), and to have them so working together that none are exaggerated, all are accepted and encouraged, and the whole body is built up because of it. Yes, even when facing the emotional Fear Factor!

Since that is what God’s word teaches,[7] can we trust him to factor in the handling of our fears so that, through the fellowship of spiritual gifts in the church, such strong love-relationships mature that his perfect love drives out our fears?[8]

Hmmm… maybe that is why some among us are to have the spiritual gift of faith?

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I Corinthians 14:1
[2] I Corinthians 12:8-9
[3] I share these three because this is as far as I have prayed and preached through the list of spiritual gifts Paul presents in I Corinthians 12:8-11. I Corinthians 12:1-11 is the context for this. I will likely have much more to share as I complete the list. Paul gives another description of these spiritual gifts in Romans 12:3-8.
[4] I Corinthians 12:7. Yes, John McArthur is wrong to teach that some of the spiritual gifts died out with the apostles since God carried the apostles along by his Holy Spirit to instruct the church in how to use all the spiritual gifts after they were gone. No, I do not have all the spiritual gifts issues figured out, but contribute this as something I hope has some spiritual gifting carrying me along to share it. I also pray that God is freeing me from emotional fears so that I can join his church to test everything by his word and his Spirit (there is a spiritual gift for that), and maximize the fellowship of the church in the use of spiritual gifts.
[5] Psalm 147:3
[6] Ephesians 4:1-16 gives another view of how the church works together in love to build up the whole body.
[7] I do not say this as though I am prideful in a personal position, but because these are the explicit statements of God’s word as written in the apostolic letters to the churches. Anything to the contrary is someone reading-in (eisegesis) their own personal opinions on the matter, making it unnecessarily divisive.
[8] God’s promise of I John 4:18, that “perfect love casts out fear”, is fulfilled in distributing spiritual gifts throughout the body of Christ to enable us to join him in this work. Of course, it requires us to put aside our fears that sabotage love-relationships in the church, and love each other enough to come together in our fears, presenting them all to God in prayer, and welcoming whatever he does throughout his body to minister to these needs.

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