It is a normal response to the potential loss of things we hold precious…our lives, the lives of those we love, our jobs, our financial savings, and our reputations…just to name a few! But fear is something that robs us of many of the precious fruits of the Christian life—things like joy, peace, and contentment!
Max Lucado writes in Fearless, “Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Over-sized and rude, unwilling to share the heart with happiness. Happiness complies. Do you ever see the two together? Can one be happy and afraid at the same time? Clear thinking and afraid? Confident and afraid? Merciful and afraid? No. Fear is the big bully in the high school hallway: brash, loud, and unproductive. For all the noise fear makes and room it takes, fear does little good.”
If repetition is connected with making a point—then Jesus is deeply concerned that we get a handle on fear, because He repeats these commands…”Fear not!” and “Do not be afraid,” over 20 times in the New testament. There is no other phrase that Jesus repeats more often than this—there is nothing else that even comes close!
Faith is the antidote for fear—and faith (not fear) pleases God! (See Heb. 11:6) Lucado goes on to say, “Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, absent the dread of failure, rejection, or calamity. Can you imagine a life with no fear?”
I think this is the way God designed us to live—not to pretend that real fears (and potential losses) do not exist—but not to give in to them by providing them room in our hearts.
In our struggles and trials we need to know that God is both good and in complete control…and then we must choose to trust Him completely rather than to focus on our circumstances. Faith pleases God. So, let’s choose to walk by faith…and to enjoy His peace, joy, and contentment in every circumstance! Faith doesn’t, necessarily, change the outcome of our trials—but it does change us!