12/17/08

"Hey You -- Fear Not!"

As the angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the coming of Jesus in Bethlehem, they first had to deal with the shepherds’ sudden fear. “Fear not,” an angel said. “I bring you good tidings. Listen to this good news” (Luke 2:10-11). How we need that message today.

As I watch Israel and Iran flex their military muscles and escalate their threats, listen to dire financial predictions, and hear disturbing reports about crime in neighborhoods near mine, it is easy to give in to unreasonable fear. The world is not a safe place. The world is confused and running headlong into disaster. The world is in a constant panic. The world has many good reasons to panic! But the peace that Jesus gives is out of this world—“My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives,” Jesus said (John 14:27). His words to us are “Don’t be afraid.” Throughout the scriptures we are commanded to “fear not,” “have courage,” and trust in the Lord, our Mighty Fortress.

Fear has always been one of my besetting sins. Left to myself, rather than walking in the Spirit, I struggle with unreasonable fears that lead to anxiety and depression. Fear robs us of peace to the point that we cannot experience many of God’s blessings.

There is a better way, and God in His mercy and grace is teaching me how to deal with my fears. When tempted to fear, I have a clear choice. I can linger in and entertain my fears, or I can go straight to prayer. I can choose trust in God and take courage in His presence, power, protection, and provision. I’m learning to counsel my heart firmly with God’s Word, saying, “Hey you—fear not! God is with you!”

No comments: