Monday, October 15, 2012

Desires & Fears (challenging thoughts from Peru)

If these excerpts are the only part of the DeMars Missionary Newsletters that you read, you're missing gems like this:
As far as language school goes, we’re still grinding away. We’re memorizing a ton of verbs. We’re also trying to practice as much as possible, but it’s difficult when you only know present tense. You sound like Tarzan. 
You should really sign up for the whole thing.  Ask me how.  The following excerpts come from two different newsletters...

Thoughts on Our Desires

I (Sean) have never had an original idea in my life. Therefore, I spend my days trying to climb atop the shoulders of the gigantic saints who have come before me. Today I tried to climb up and onto the broad shoulder mantle of C.S. Lewis. I barely got high enough to see past the top of his head.

Anyways, reading Lewis always gets me thinking about desires. Many desires we have aren’t bad, but simply out of proper proportion. I think Augustine had something to say about that. Jesus, too...

Anyways, I realized that I have a lot of good desires, but some of my great desires (which are obviously alien to my own nature), are being trumped by my good desires. There are a lot of things that are good and godly that I simply can’t pursue because they would impede my journey to the greater things.

Friends, we all have the tendency to exalt sinful things over Godly things. You know that. But maybe sometimes we forget about our tendency to exalt good things over great things. That kind of thing is quite dangerous in its own right. Join me this week in examining your longings, passions, and desires. See if there might be something that you have been chasing after hard that, maybe...just maybe, you might need to let go of. I know I’ve found at least one of those things in my life just today.

Join me in examining your methodology, your time and money management, philosophy of ministry, or your freedoms in Christ. We cling to things, sometimes, because they’re “not sinful”. Surely our barometer is off if that’s the way we decide what to obstain from, embrace and/or pursue. What have you embraced in your life due to practicality, or expediency, that might be a little more shallow and a little less eternal? What great things are you brushing to the edge in order to make room for good things? Surely there is something in our lives that is strangling the eternal. Maybe that thing isn't even bad or sinful. But maybe the good things are just as dangerous when improperly considered.

Thoughts on our Fears

Let me talk to you about fear. I get the impression from some people that a common misconception about missionaries is that they’re fearless. Friends, nothing could be further from the truth. As someone who is new to this “missionary” game, allow me to shed a little bit of light on the subject....from a personal perspective.

 I’m afraid. I can’t even begin to explain to you how afraid I am. I can’t explain to you what the fear feels like. Not all fears feel the same, you know. Here’s what I can do, though. I can share some of my fears with you. I can show you my fears and help you develop a more natural empathy. Here goes nothen’...

I’m afraid of snakes and spiders. I’m afraid of getting bit and losing a leg (which is not uncommon in the jungle) or dying a painfully slow death. It’s not the death that scares me, it’s the pain.

I’m afraid of getting malaria.

I’m afraid of getting dengue fever.

I’m afraid my own mental and spiritual inadequacies.

I’m afraid of my knee finally snapping on me, leaving me crippled without the money for surgery.

I’m afraid of my wife and/or daughter dying, while I’m forced to watch helplessly.

I’m afraid of mosquitos. Non stop mosquitos for years on end.

I’m afraid of having to battle gastrointestinal issues for the rest of my life.

I’m afraid of being poor the rest of my life.

I’m afraid of America. I’m afraid that when things get really tough I’ll give up and go back to the easy life, caring only about myself.

I’m afraid of big bodies of water. Petrified, actually. Good thing I’ll be traveling the Amazon....

I’m afraid that we will give it all up and fail miserably.

I’m afraid of moral failure. I know my sin all too well to actually believe the lie that I’m above the sins that ensnare us all.

I’m afraid that my teammates will see me for who I really am and wish me gone.

I’m afraid that my friends in America will forget about us 2, 5, 10 years into this thing.

I’m afraid because we have no money coming in from fundraising.

I’m afraid...

I’m afraid...

I’m afraid...

And so is my wife. We have enough fears to build a house on. We’re not special. We’re unique, just like everyone else. We battle fear and anxiety. We feel weak. Even now, after only a short time, we sometimes feel like quitting. We victimize ourselves. We think the worst. We fail to trust in the promises of God. We fail to see eternity because we are being blinded by this ugly and fallen world.

But let me tell you what I’m truly afraid of:

I’m afraid of the Lord Jesus, in all of his splendor and glory, standing before me, and over me, on that final day. I’m afraid he’ll say “Turn away from me, I don’t know you. I never have”. I’m afraid of the account I’m going to have to give of my life. I’m afraid that I might stand before my beautiful and perfect savior and see my life in perfect 20/20. I’m afraid of seeing a wasted life, and wasted money, and wasted time, and careless speech. That is what truly scares me. Not in a bad way, either. In a good way. It’s the kind of Godly fear that sanctifies us.

Fear is good, but not all kinds of fear. There is a kind of majestic and glorious fear, a fear that is subject to the glory of God and the love of Christ. That kind of fear sets men free from lesser fears. Lesser fears cripple us, and lead us to a false religion that the apostle James doesn’t think too highly of. But greater fears kill those lesser fears. The greater fears produce wisdom. Wisdom sees through the lies and disbelief that our lesser fears are composed of.

I thank God for my fears, the lesser and the greater. My prayer is that they would, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be helpful to us when held in proper proportion. Remember, friends, the possession of fears doesn’t speak to our character. No, what speaks to our character, what speaks to truth of the Holy Spirit living and working in us, what really speaks volumes is which fears we submit to. By God’s grace, we are fighting daily to resist the fears of doubt and unbelief. Please pray for us.

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