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February 22, 2021 9:18 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Russell Moore to the show to discuss his new book, The Courage to Stand: Facing Your Fear Without Losing Your Soul. Moore provides guidance and advice for how Christians in particular can find courage in a world that seems to be filled with fear.
Family policy matters in engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Wilson presidency family and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program. It's our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will for better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters Tracy to vet bricks. Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters. Despite our love of Christ in our trust in his sovereign will. Christians often find ourselves anxious, worried, and sometimes downright fearful about our society and the future in his new book, the courage to stand facing your fear without losing your soul Dr. Russell Moore explores the root of much of today's fear and offers a paradoxical path forward Dr. Moore as president of the ethics and religious liberty commission of the Southern Baptist convention and were grateful to have him with us today to delve into some of the excellent topics and advice that he explores in his new book, Dr. Russell Moore. Welcome to family policy matters so much.
The key point out that there's a difference between being courageous and being fearless. Why do you make that distinction. Well, I think because a lot of people assume when they start to feel afraid that this means that they're cowardly but they're not courageous but that's not actually how the Bible finds it. God tells us repeatedly, old and new Testaments.
Don't be afraid, but he's always saying that the people who were afraid at the time. So if you think about for instance shepherds that the birth of Christ. When the angels appeared they were greatly afraid and then the angel say don't be afraid because I bring you good tidings and the same thing happened at the resurrection happens often and I think actually what Jesus does with all of us is similar to what he did with Peter when Peter went walking out on the water.
He starts to sink beneath the water and cries out for for help in Jesus pimples about that. That's often what he does in our lives. So when someone starting to feel fear. That doesn't mean that that person isn't courageous. Many times the courageous things that someone has to do their coming with great fear.
I was just talking to a mom yesterday who was dealing with a really difficult situation with her child and if you choose for him when you're really well and she said I have to admit I'm scared to death and I said what you're scared to death, but you're very courageous because you're doing your duty in the right way and I think that's about it.
Without the Bible to find some great examples. You also used quite a bit in your book. Why did you choose to feature him because of two reasons. One of them is that Elijah such a big figure in Scripture. Even though he's only there for a few chapters in first and second Kings, but he's referenced constantly throughout the rest of the Bible, but the second reason is because I often miss understood Elijah. Even though I knew his story really well when I would think of the the image that would come to mind was always that encounter with profits available on Mount caramel where Elijah calls down fire from heaven is really this triumphant sort of moment. But the more I spent with Elijah the more I realize actually that hinge point of his story wasn't that it was what happened right after that, where Elijah and first Kings 19 is saying to God I don't even know what I'm doing here and in God shows himself to Elijah in a way really that is pointing us to to Jesus. And I think that's important because maybe even especially in sort of a social media era where so many people are comparing their lives with the lives of people that they see no coarser editing and curating those lives to remind us that God is really often doing most of his work in us not in those moments where we feel like were winning, but in those moments where we where really understand or defend. We've had a lot of opportunities to be afraid in the last year and to be more dependent on God. Do you think that there are some common denominators behind the fear that we see so often in the world today.
I think there are often the sphere is a sense of hopelessness and an inability to see the future and I think that that can be with sort of big global things like the pandemic also can be with smaller things.
The person who may be has a family history of heart disease and every time that she feels something in her chest wonders does this mean that I'm not going to go down that path or or or anything like that.
There can be a sense of insecurity because we just can't see and we can't know the future.
I know that's where my fear mostly comes from God has to work on me to stop being a control freak about my own life and think you will if I just knew how this particular thing is going to go help my kids are going to turn our help your whatever it is, but that's not what walking by faith is like so you can deviate from courage in two ways. One is with a sort of bravado and swagger heard nothing bothers me. Sort of the mentality that that often people think of as courage, but it's not typically defined in the other would be a kind of cringing cowardice and withdrawal but it in the middle of those two things is an understanding of dependence and vulnerability. So one recognizes that that one's power isn't coming from self. It's coming from God and to go back to Elijah. I think about the way in which the Scripture points out that he's being for God's feeding him God's giving him water. There are people that God sends into his life that he did not previously know and all of those resources. I think God puts in our lives that those moments of fear, joy you think about princes the people in your life that there's a real bond that forms when there's somebody who is with you in a time of darkness, or trial, so this type of courage is so apparent in the word and you given us many great examples of that. Why do so many of us missed. I think her number is one of those reasons is because we are made of dust so we we have that natural weakness to us. We which is why we need the power of God, and I think the other reason is because, again, when we tend to look at courage. I think about some of the people some pastors that I had that I really admired for their courage but then later, sometimes maybe years later you can talk to them and they will say yeah I was scared to death. At that moment I was second-guessing myself the whole time so we don't really understand that then I think we can think will.
That means that I don't have what it takes to be courageous or because we think that courage is about these sorts of moments in life fighting a war or something like that, when in reality most of what we need courage for our those things that we would think of is very ordinary, everyday sorts of occurrences and I think sometimes that's confusing to some how can we embrace this paradox with joy. Encourage you get the point where you're actually asking that question, you're usually further along than you think you are and I think that I know very few people who are really courageous, who feel like the courageous just like I know very few people who are humble, you know that their humble but something God does in you and so I think that often gets looking back and asked me one time if you could go back and talk to your younger self. What advice would you have and the first thing that I said was stop wasting so much time worrying because the things that you're worried about either a never came about or be if they did, God was faithful. You are able to live through those things.
And then, on second thought, I said you know what I wouldn't want to talk to my younger self, though, because I really needed. All of those moms God really taught me things in even those things I would want to live through again and I think that's that's true for all of us. So often people actually are are much further along in the process than they think they are there some other tips for how we can untangle and reject the twisted ideas of success and power seem to come with our culture and society. There comes a point I actually had this conversation with someone not long ago who was going through what you might might stereotypically be called a midlife crisis but he just said. I've gotten the point where I'm really really thinking all my priorities and the things that used to matter to me. Don't as much, and other things do and I just said you should thank God for that because you're going to go through that moment. At some point in your life and if you have that moment. The earlier you can have it, the better because what you don't want to do is to have that on your deathbed so just embrace the crisis.
Whatever it is and say God I know that you're here with me and that you're showing me something trust you through. I appreciated your contrasting the two ways that people often do in the face of fear is one is that bravado or swagger and one is withdrawal and I think when you look at how Christians engage the world on some of these very controversial topics you see this you know you see sound that you're like oh please just be quiet and that other people are like, you know, engage, how can we find that middle ground. When we are discussing a lot of these really tough topics with friends, relatives, and even going on social media and talking about them.
First of all you're going to get it wrong sometimes it's very difficult to figure out to think of the Proverbs that put right together answer a fool according to his folly and answer, not a fool is difficult to know which of those two things is applicable at the moment so you're going to make mistakes and don't beat yourself up about that. But secondly I would say the key is for someone to say what is my point of vulnerability and overcompensate there so you think of Paul's warnings to Timothy about timidity and don't let anyone despise your your you and then you have Paul's warnings to those who are quarrelsome and you have an unhealthy craving for controversy. So I would say is that people who ought to be the most engaged in particular points of controversy ought to be the people who are the least, who least want to do that and the people who most want to do that should be the least to do it. So what I would say is if you're if you're sort of the person who really enjoys a good argument at the Thanksgiving table, then you probably ought to be focused on stepping back and if you're the sort of person who you really have a word that you need to speak but you're afraid to do it, then you probably are the one to do it. A lot of it has to depend on where you are in relationship to other people.
So all I rarely use social media.
A place for controversy because most the time you're not actually going to change people that way, but you based upon your relationship so I would speak much more bluntly to one of my sons. Then I went to one of their friends may be, even if it's about the exact same issue if if you know people you're going to know as best you can. How to speak to them. So I'm going to have one son who really needs direct talk and another son who's more sensitive and met with that would actually not be effective so as best as you can sort of read the situation and no know the way that you should engage in. Again, you're going to make some mistakes well were just at the time. But before we go talk to more where listeners go to get a copy of your new book, the courage to stand facing your fear without losing your soul what I can get it anywhere they buy books or they can go to the website Russell Moore.com and that there's a link there as well. Sounds great.
Dr. Russell Moore, president of the ethics and religious liberty commission. Thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters even listening to family policy matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plaintiff to do it again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across a lot of our website it NC family.award that's NC family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family