When Freeze Tag Takes a Dangerous Turn

When you were a child outside with friends on a late summer evening, did you ever play freeze tag?

That’s the game of tag where the one child who is “it” tags others who then are frozen in place until another player tags to “unfreeze” them.

Christians these days are engaging in a dangerous version of freeze tag and it’s time we stopped before we usher in a spiritual ice age (can’t you already feel the chill?).

Freeze tag has never been easier.

Today’s technology can be a gift to Christians globally – serving as a channel to access sound biblical teaching, carrying the gospel beyond borders, and allowing deeper fellowship between believers across cultures and miles. That happens when our hearts reflect the heart of Christ and we translate that through the keyboard.

There’s a downside, though, because we live on an outpost of glory and aren’t home yet. When we nurture un-Christlike attitudes, thoughts, and messages, technology can magnify and accelerate the transmission of those sinful shards of the Fall far and wide – like a viral bacterium.

Fear is a naturally occurring emotion that, left unchecked, can be weaponized by dark forces and utilized to paralyze large segments of the Body of Christ like a spiritual nerve agent. We deploy it every time we post or tweet or update our status with frightening rumors and false prophetic pronouncements untethered from biblical moorings.

We cannot be fearmongers with one breath and faithful followers with another without consequence. Fear is a spiritual predator with almost no remedy. When we spread it irresponsibly, we paralyze or freeze fellow Christians who then stiffen – immobilized – from kingdom work.

It’s not that there’s nothing to fear. We live under repeated tsunamis roaring toward us still from the Fall. Daily, we hurtle closer to the times prophesied long ago that promise to be terrible and without mercy.

Of course, there is much to fear. We reside in the great battle for souls and we are deployed for battle.

Still, God commands us not to fear. Repeatedly. As if He really means it. And if He commands us not to fear, do you imagine He approves of us inspiring fear in others?

Gideon lived in fearful times and God called him to be a mighty warrior against a fierce enemy. You’d think God would provide Gideon with a vast army and the finest artillery. Instead, God works to reduce Gideon’s army so that Israel could never boast that they’d saved themselves.

How did He determine the cut? God told Gideon to send home all the troops where were afraid.

“The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.” Judges 7:2-3

Did these Israelites have something to fear? Yes, of course! They faced a ruthless enemy! Do you imagine the 10,000 who stayed didn’t size up the threat? Didn’t understand what could happen? They were experienced warriors – they knew.

But, this lot had their fears in order. Their fear of God ranked higher than their fear of humans and when our fears are in order, it can look a lot like courage.

We live in fearful times and if we don’t see the dangers, we’re just not paying attention. But if our fears are in order, if we fear God more than we fear humans, this frees us to rise to the battle rather than drown beneath its waves.

Of course, we should warn one another of rising persecution, of consequences of standing for truth, and of threats to the Body of Christ, but always these warnings should conclude with a redemptive hope in Christ who is with us and never leaves us.

In this way, we can be the free runners in the game of freeze tag who elude the one who is “it.” A simple encounter with us – just a touch – should melt fear and release our brothers and sisters to be about the work of the kingdom with confidence and Christ-centered courage.

Have you been playing a dangerous version of freeze tag? Repent of your fearmongering and ask Jesus to show you how to speak to the reality of the times with an infusion of Christ-focused encouragement and eternity-minded courage over all inferior fears.

After all, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:39 ESV

Tag – you’re unfrozen – now, get moving!

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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Charlene M. Ryerson says:

    Great writing Lori. Love the analogy.

  2. Rob McCullough says:

    Thanks for expressing the truth regarding Christians actively engaged in fear and spreading fear. Truly, our Heavenly Father has Freedom and Joy and Peace and many more good things for us in Christ. Spreading fear is the work of our enemy – why should Christians engage with and work in agreement with our enemy?

  3. Les Stobbe says:

    Our media never run from fearmongering, even Christian media uses fearmongering to whip up the need for financial support. It’s so sad to see Christians being whipped into a fear-frenzy when we have the power of God at our disposal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this great reminder Lori. Our God is so much greater than our biggest Fears. In Him we can do all things. When you are walking the Spirit and power of God, fear has no place. His perfect love casts out all fear!!

  5. Kathy Burns says:

    Wonderful as usual! Thank you!

  6. Lori Ann Hatcher says:

    Thank you for the challenge, friend. I accept 🙂 May God grant us courage and grace.

  7. Tracy walsh says:

    I was told to not talk about my beliefs at work . I told my boss that this is a first Amendment right to speak the truth . It’s freedom of speech. I reply to them all the time “ I do not fear man… I fear God !”