NBC use to have a public announcement service where some influential person would give a short announcement informing those watching about some vital piece of information (Drugs, Child Abuse, Hunger, etc.). And at the end of the PSA a shooting star would shoot across the TV with the words “The More You Know.” The idea behind it was that with this information you are better equipped to deal with the given topic.
I bring this up because I came across a quote today that got me thinking about what we know and the purpose of that knowledge. The quote came from Astronaut Chris Hadfield in an advertisement for a masters class he is teaching. The quote was:
“The more you know, the less you fear.”
Now, he said that in the context of flying thousands of miles per hour through the earth’s atmosphere and how that can be a very, very, terrifying experience if you don’t know what’s going on. But these astronauts know everything that is going on. Chris Hadfield, goes through this process where he makes it his job to know everything there is to know about the ship, its systems, their mission, and distills it down to one page for each system. This is when he says “The more you know, the less you fear.”
Lack of knowledge can lead to fear. Many Christians fear that they will not make it to heaven, others don’t want to talk about religion at all because of fear (fear of accountability, judgement, sacrifice, etc.), still others perhaps do not study and read as they should because of fear that their ideas may be challenged or changed. But, in an ironic cycle the lack of studying only leads to more fear which in turns leads to more not studying.
Consider the case of Felix in Acts 24:25“but as he [Paul] was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix became frightened and said ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” I am convinced that if Felix would have studied with Paul longer and come to a better understanding of those things Paul preached his fears would have been relieved.
Many of us were like Felix at one point. Terrified of what would happen in the hereafter, in the judgement. But, through the gaining of godly knowledge and time those fears subsided. They subsided because our faith grew! It got stronger and more robust. Faith only comes by interaction with the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Not just passive listening but active doing (James 2:22). It is by faith the men of old were able to “conquer kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:33-35).
Faith comes by understand God and His nature. Faith comes when we know God, what He has done for us, and what He will do in the future and placing our trust in Him. When we have our trust in God fear disappears. This is why Peter tells us to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18).
“The more you know, the less you fear.” So, how are you conquering your fears?