The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Fear

God, Terrorism & You

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As solo terrorist attacks dominate the daily news headlines with increasing frequency, it’s a great time to think about what you are supposed to be learning from all of these suicide bombers, random stabbers, and crazed gunmen.  The psychological factors that turn Average Joe Citizen into a screaming assailant really aren’t so mysterious.  People always have logical reasons for what they do, and whether it’s revenge, desperation, or dreams of a better life in eternity, the final results look the same to the public: some random guy violently assaulted a bunch of people without warning and now some people are dead and others are so horribly injured that they wish they were dead.  Terrorism is, well, terrifying.  So how is it affecting you when you pull up the news and read that another attack has occurred?  Have you ever been caught in one of these gruesome events, or have you known someone who was?  Noticing your own level of angst is quite important, because the more upset you are by these events, the more there is for you to learn.  You see, when it comes to your own spiritual development, there’s a principle that’s quite useful to bear in mind: if it upsets you, then it’s partly about you.  Read more of this post

Soul vs. Earthsuit: Two Sources of Fear

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Suppose you’re sitting in a room with a stranger and suddenly that man starts to look very upset about something.  How does this affect you?  You might be having a good day, and you don’t even know this other fellow, and yet you’re going to find his behavior distracting.  You won’t be able to help wondering what is troubling him.  The more upset he behaves, the more concerned you will become, and the harder you will find it to ignore him.  Read more of this post

Help for Aggressive Critics: Why You Need to Verbally Trump Others

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Are you one of those argumentative Christians who is always looking for a chance to shut someone down with your version of God’s truth?  Do you listen in on other people’s conversations, hoping that someone will show some ignorance on a subject that you feel you’re an expert on so you can barge into the conversation and pound that fool into the ground with your brilliance?  Do you find yourself getting all agitated and flush-faced when someone makes a comment about God which you believe is wrong?  Are you quick to break out a mocking tone and condescending language as you’re explaining your view to someone else?  Do you inwardly panic when someone points out a major flaw in your argument that you don’t know how to counter? Do you understand why you’re such a dominating pill in verbal conversations?  You have your reasons.  Humans always have reasons for what they do, and those reasons make sense to them.  Read more of this post

Loved Ones in Danger: How to Benefit from Your Stress

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Your husband is a cop and he’s out trying to stop a gang fight.  Your wife is a spy on a mission that she can’t talk about.  Your brother is a federal agent who is tracking down some dangerous criminals.  Your fiancé is a fireman trying to rescue people from a burning skyscraper.  Your sister has been kidnapped.  Your kid is in a coma.  Your partner was gunned down on the field and the surgery isn’t going well.  When our loved ones are in danger, the minutes feel like hours as we sit by the phone anxiously waiting for news.  When we’re sick with worry, we can’t eat, we can’t sleep, and we can’t concentrate on anything else but all of the awful “what ifs.”  So is this our only option in life—to sit around getting ulcers while we hope and pray for our loved ones to be returned to us safely?  No, this is not our only option.  We have much better choices available to us—choices that can greatly benefit our souls.  But first we have to decide that we want to mature, and unfortunately most souls won’t make this choice.  Read more of this post

Overcoming Your Fear of the Bible

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There are three main reasons why Christians avoid reading the Bible. Some feel it’s just too hard to understand. Others feel it’s as boring as dirt. A third group avoids the book out of fear—fear that they’ll feel hopelessly condemned or fear of how scary God is.

If you find the Bible too hard to understand, it’s not your fault. You’ve just had crummy teachers. It is very advantageous for Christian leaders to keep you in a confused muddle about what the book actually says, and thanks to their shady games, most Christians have a very poor understanding of Scripture and a strong belief that they need “experts” to interpret it for them. Well, no, you certainly do not need other humans to teach you about God. You just need God, and you have God, so it’s time to flush this theory that you’re dumber than your pastor.

There is no passage in the Bible that is too difficult for you to understand and if you’re tired of feeling confused, you’ve come to the right place. We love helping Christians understand the Bible better, and if you’re feeling stumped by some difficult passage, you can always drop us a line and we’ll be glad to help you out. There’s no such thing as a dumb Christian, and since we’re not threatened by you taking our kingdom away from us and we’re not relying on you to pay our bills, we have no reason to try and keep you feeling one down to us. So if God is stirring up your curiosity about the book, then it’s time for you to jump in, and we have plenty of material to get you started.

Now maybe you’re in the second camp of folks who find reading the Bible as tedious as watching paint dry. If so, it’s time to stop persecuting yourself with daily devotions and get a real solution to your problem. For help with this, see Escaping the Boredom of Reading the Bible.

For all of you in the third group: you’re the ones we’re going to focus on in this post. You’re afraid of getting too close to the book because you hate the way it makes you feel. Well, sure, who wants to feel like scum in the eyes of an angry God? And who wants to focus on the fact that God is a volatile Monster who gets off on slaughtering people? Infants getting bashed to death on rocks, pregnant women getting ripped open with swords, women getting treated like property, slavery, plagues, a bunch of hateful talk about sexual perverts—it’s all in there. But if any of it is dragging you down and making you feel hopeless about ever having a positive relationship with your own Creator, then there’s a major problem. You see, when you are properly taught about God, all of the violence and hateful language in the Bible doesn’t drag you down. On the contrary, you feel intrigued and inspired and more confident about how good God really is. But wait—how does that work? How do you get more confident about God being kind, gracious, and approachable by reading passages in which He’s chewing people out and threatening to beat their brains in? It’s all about understanding context. Read more of this post

God’s View of Self-Defense

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Guns. Knives. Pepper spray. Martial arts. Burglar alarms. There are many ways to try and protect yourself in this world. There is also a lot of common sense floating around. Don’t go down that dark alley alone. Stay out of the bad part of town. Don’t wear those colors in that gang’s turf. But if we totally cater to those who want to do violence—if we all back off and obey their ridiculous rules—isn’t that giving in? Isn’t that letting fear rule our lives? But then again, are we testing God if we intentionally put ourselves in harm’s way and assume that He will rush to our defense? Is the man who keeps a loaded gun by his bed honoring God by embracing his role as the family’s protector, or is he dishonoring God by putting his faith in his own skills and a manmade weapon? There are no blanket answers to these questions. There are no rules of behavior that we can say will apply to every situation. But there are guiding principles which you can use to figure out how you should handle the concept of self-defense, and that is what we’ll discuss in this post. Read more of this post

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t: Finding Peace in the Midst of Moral Dilemmas

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Life isn’t as simple as we want it to be. Sometimes we find ourselves being forced to choose between two options which each feel very wrong for different reasons. When there are moral issues on both sides, and when we’ve got our flesh screaming at us and our loved ones pressuring us in different directions, what do we do? How do we find peace with God when we’re feeling forced to choose between two evils? What happens when there is no third option that will magically resolve our crisis for us? This is real life: sometimes there is no option available to you that won’t fill your gut with nervous knots and make you feel like you’re being either a major creep or a total fool. But the good news is that even in these moments, there is a way to move forward, and that is what we’ll discuss in this post. Read more of this post

Understanding Your Passive Response to Assault: A Lack of Resistance Does Not Indicate Cowardice or Enjoyment

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In this post, we are speaking to those who have been physically or sexually assaulted and are now struggling to process the fact that they cooperated with their attackers.

Maybe you were raped. Maybe you were molested. Maybe you were physically beaten, tortured, or in some other way degraded. Whatever happened to you, if you responded submissively to those who assaulted you and made an effort to cooperate instead of resist, it is quite natural to look back on your behavior and feel that you made the wrong choice. After all, the world celebrates the strong and it has nothing nice to say about the weak. If you simply went along with your abusers, does that mean you are a spineless coward? If you didn’t even attempt to prevent someone from sexually assaulting you, does that mean that part of you was enjoying the experience? Certainly not. Read more of this post

Understanding How Easy it is to Succeed with God

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Many earnest Christians find themselves paralyzed with fear that God will suddenly flip out on them if they make one wrong move in life. Naturally this makes them feel very distressed and anxious whenever they have to make a decision. If your human father was some unreasonable, short-tempered jerk who was always demanding that you reach some impossibly high bar of perfection, you will automatically project these same bad qualities onto your heavenly Father. But the truth is that God is not a clone of your earthly parent. Instead, He is an entirely different kind of Being, and One who is far easier to succeed with than your fellow human beings.

Here’s a key point to understand: God does not expect you to read His mind. When He wants you to do something specific, He takes full responsibility for communicating His will to you. When He’s not giving you any specific instruction (which many Christians feel is most of the time), then is He going to flip out on you for making some wrong move? No. Read more of this post

The Purpose & Process of Overcoming Fear

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From our perspective, our fears seem very logical and completely proven. Once you are convinced in your core that something is true, you don’t become unconvinced overnight. At first, you write off every experience that counters your fears as a freak deviation from the norm.  Take the man who is convinced that God is disgusted with him because of something he did in the past. What’s really happening here is that the man is convinced that God must think like he does. Since the man can’t forgive himself, he assumes God can’t either. Since the man is disgusted with himself and believes he deserves endless misery in life, he assumes that God thinks the same way. When God says “I love you” to this man’s soul, the man instantly rejects the message as invalid. At first he pretends to not even hear what God said. When he does finally acknowledge the words, he blows them off as his own wishful thinking. Meanwhile, every time something goes wrong in the man’s life, he interprets it as a sign of Divine punishment. When something goes right, he either divorces God from it or he sees it as God setting him up for another round of pain. Read more of this post