God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16–18
For the past three weeks at Creekside, we have been talking about Lessons From Improv. Starting with the realization that sometimes Christians can be a bit ridged and scripted, we looked to the art of improv comedy for lessons on how to live in a world that is very fluid.
First, because every person we come across in life was made in the image of God, and that God is going before us in life we look for places to agree — we “say yes.” Instead of looking for places of disagreement and judgement, we look for places of agreement and affirmation. But we don’t stop there, we say ‘Yes, and,” adding things to the conversation — I affirm and I also add “wow, you are really spiritual, me too, I think spirituality is crucial to living life, tell me about your spirituality.” “My spirituality is hugely important to me, without prayer, I don’t know how I would survive,” or “my relationship with God is the only thing I can really count on.” To the Yes and the Yes and we add making statements with confidence and humility. Though my examples are overtly spiritual, your conversations needn’t be, the idea is to see value in the other person and then go with the flow to affirm and add on, weather it is about spirituality, concern for the world, gardening, travel. Every piece of creativity had it’s genesis in us as image bearers of a creative God. If you look, you will see this reality all over the place.
The fourth and final Lesson From Improve is to be fearless. In improv as in life there will be mistakes, if you stop the show and start over it is awkward at best. Instead, go with the flow, adapt with the presence and be open to wherever the creative conversation takes you — there are no mistakes only opportunities. This forth lesson is especially important for followers of Jesus who are called to follow him not merely in the known and easy but even more so in the unknown, the hard, even the scary. Jesus says “do not be afraid, I am with you.” If you seek to move anywhere outside your comfort zone you will experience fear. Courage is the joining of fear and moving forward notwithstanding, not in recklessness, but in assurance that God is with us and he will not leave us regardless of the circumstances he calls us to.
God does not promise safety and security. God does not promise riches or fame. No, he promises much much more than fleeting trinkets. God promises things that last. He calls people to lives of impact and meaning, lives our fearlessness and courage as we move forward with him. His love is the fuel for fearlessness, because he is love, he is perfect and perfect love casts out fear so that we can move into the world with his banner of love as citizens of his Kingdom for his glory and for the sake of the world.
Peace hope and love, Doug