by Jocelyn R. Plett
‘The person who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet” (Mohadesa Najumi).
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and song” (Isaiah 12:2).
Fearsome isn’t a word that Christ followers would take for themselves, I’d wager. Generally speaking, we are taught to take on characteristics like: Servant. Meek. Submissive. Obedient. Kind. Loving. Gentle. Joyful. Self-controlled.
Yet I am suggesting that to embody these things, as Christ did, is to become fearsome. It’s knowing that the Fearsome Glory of the Almighty God dwells within me, in this un-fearsome-looking human body, and within yours, although our faces are beginning to droop with the evidence of age. My body is no longer as strong as I’d like it to be. Yet in my mind’s eye, to be filled with the Spirit of God, and exhibit His fruit, is to be fearsome.
Not fearsome with intent to scare others or intimidate our siblings in Christ, but fearsome in ever increasing sanctification. Fearsome in appropriating true meekness without selfish motives. Fearsome in pure submission and obedience as Jesus did with his Father.
Why is that fearsome? To me, the image of Christ walking in perfect submission and humble obedience while facing suffering and death evokes tremors of ultimate power. The kind of “incomparably great power” for those of us who believe. “That power is the same as the mighty strength God exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:19)!
That is fearsome! It is ultimate power cloaked in the so-called “drab” garments of what the world sees as weakness. The world does know this weakness-cloaked power, but mostly through works of fiction. It is hidden from them.
Yet this is the kind of power and elusive fearsomeness that we have in Christ. Feel powerless? Draw nearer to Him. Feel sinful or like a failure? Draw nearer. Feel as though you’ve got nothing to offer? Offer your “nothing” and see Him multiply it a thousandfold. That’s fearsome!
As “Christ in me, the hope of Glory” and as “He becomes more and I become less” becomes manifest, this fearsomeness is released in me. What was once a rabble of thieves, sinners, weaklings, and the sick, is now a well-trained army of fearsome warriors under the command of the Lord! (1 Sam. 22:2).
In Christ I am fearsome in such a way that I don’t need to compare myself to others. We walk as one, this Church made up of us. Uniformly unique, all keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Because, golly, all that jealousy and quarreling among the Bride of Christ, that only betrays us as less-than-fearsome! As “mere humans” (2 Cor. 2:3).
If Paul calls us “mere humans” in that instance, what are we if that sort of behaviour is eradicated from our own minds, from our collective midst? More than human? Fearsome, perhaps?