Say hello to my biggest threat. It’s the biggest, baddest danger that I face.
It’s not a terrorist attack. It’s not a traffic accident. It’s not cancer or job loss or bankruptcy. It’s not that person who (always) makes me lose my temper. It’s not even coronavirus.
My biggest threat … is me!
In Romans 8, Paul puts external (outside) threats into perspective. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril … He says that none of that stuff can separate us from God’s love. No external threat has the power to remove us from God’s presence. No external threat can snatch away our crown of salvation.
The more I live, the more I’m convinced that the most dangerous threats lie within — not without.
The threat simply reveals what’s already in my heart. Take the threat of coronavirus, for example:
Do I respond to the virus by jumping in bed and throwing the covers over my head in fear? Do I trample over other shoppers so that I can snatch the last pack of toilet paper? Do I explode in anger at every inconvenience? Do I secretly rejoice at the chance to laze around for weeks on end? I hope, instead, that I come to the following conclusion: “I trust God to ultimately take care of me and my loved ones no matter what happens, and I will get closer to Him through this trial.”
External threats simply reveal what’s already in my heart.
Think about the things in our lives that we find most threatening. Do any of them (by themselves) have the power to separate us from God’s love? Can any of them overpower God’s will for us? Can any of them cancel the price Jesus paid for us on the cross?
In that light, those dangers don’t seem so dangerous. It’s the sin lurking inside me that’s the real threat. Sin is what separates me from my Heavenly Father. Principalities and powers are nothing compared to pride, greed, and selfishness. It seems so dark and grim…
…but there is some very, very good news!
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for my sin!
I don’t have the power, but He does. He can cleanse my heart, help me break dysfunctional habits of thought and deed, help me surrender those stubborn strongholds.
I need God to protect me from illnesses, car crashes, and other catastrophes, but most of all, I need Him to protect me from me. That unchanging need drives me into His arms daily. So, even when external threats go away (when this pandemic is past), I’ll still need to turn to God. And guess what? He’ll always be there.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.