The Four “No’s” of Our Lives in Christ – by Ed Dunn

Do not be afraid…for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32, NIV).

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

I have a dear friend who pastors a congregation in a neighboring city not far from us here in Pasadena, California. My friend, Pastor Craig, as he is known to his congregants, loves to end his weekly sermons with a beautiful catch-phrase that both captures and carries great encouragement for our lives together in Christ Jesus. His catch-phrase goes something like this: In Christ Jesus, we can live our lives with No Fear, No Shame, No Guilt and No Doubt. Upon offering these words as his conclusion to each weekly sermon, Craig sits down and lets the weight of the Four No’s” sink in.

What does it mean to live our lives in Christ Jesus with No Fear, No Shame, No Guilt and No Doubt? Please allow me to share a few ideas.

No Fear: Fear seems to be such a common driver, a motivator, and a “come-from” in the world in which we live today. Headlining each day’s key news cycles, the media feeds we the public on an unrelenting diet of what to fear and who to blame for that fear. Our politicians first campaign on, and then govern from, a continual focus on all the ills that trouble us, and how they will somehow, magically, wave a governmental wand, fix our problems and take away our fears. Our pastors and preachers all-too-often use an unhealthy and counter-productive teaching around the fear of God; a teaching that just happens to keep their people coming, praying, and paying, in their churches. Sadly, fear has become an emotion we are far too accustomed to living with in our daily lives. 

As Christ-followers, Jesus reminds us again and again to fear not. Throughout the pages of the Gospel record, 365 times in fact (depending on the translation), Jesus uses the phrase, do not be afraid. In reading his encouragement, we remember that Christ Jesus has mastered our fear. We know that his perfect love within us casts out fear. We rest in the fact that Jesus has our lives completely covered, and in that, we live in and enjoy his peace.

No Shame and No Guilt: Guilt and shame can all-too-often run hand-in-hand. Usually, we first feel guilty about something we said or did (or something we didn’t say or do), and then, not long thereafter, the weight of shame moves in. The two emotions then go to war with us, in a recurring loop that just won’t quit. When we fall short, let others down, or act from a place of our honest human weakness and limitation, we feel the pain of guilt and shame at once. At such times, we can lose sight of our identity in Christ Jesus. We can forget that Jesus has our lives completely covered. We now live in a kingdom where we are truly loved and forgiven. The truth of our identity rests solely and safely with him, not in our human weakness and limitation.

No Doubt: As a result, we rest assured that Jesus is the author and finisher, the pioneer and perfector, of our faith. His indwelling faith within us – the total trust and ability to live fully in a true state of grace – with no doubt – is his gift to us through the Holy Spirit. We know, in full assurance, that Christ Jesus has our lives covered. We live in him and he lives is us. It is indeed finished; Jesus has given us the victory and citizenship in his kingdom now.

Each time I hear Pastor Craig share these words of encouragement, I am struck by their simplicity and deep meaning. In one short concluding phrase, I receive the essence of what it means to live free in Christ Jesus. I receive a beautiful reminder of how our Lord has changed our lives completely. I receive and rest in his peace. 

To live life as a Christ-follower, with No Fear, No Shame, No Guilt and No Doubt, is to live in a true state of grace. As a citizen of his kingdom now, with an identity in him, we can let go of the old thought-patterns and recurring emotions of guilt and shame. We cast away fear, the fear that is so common in both our world around us, and in our own human nature. We live anew, with no doubt, trusting fully in him. Together, we live from the Four No’s of our lives in him. As such, we live free.    

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