Monday, December 14, 2015

Putting Fear To Flight

Fear.  It is one of our basest emotions.  It causes us to flee, cower or man up.  It comes when we sense that we are faced by a threat, usually one that overwhelms us.  The New Testament journal is filled with the admonition "do not be afraid."  What were the threats?

Jesus told the disciples to not be afraid of those who will stand against them and even threaten their lives.  He said that our greater concern should be fearing and honoring Him above our fear of what men can do to us.  (Matthew 10:26-28)

Jesus also taught that we should not live in anxiety about material needs.  He spoke of being generous by selling what we have in order to provide the needs of others.  The basis of our actions is the fact that our Heavenly Father has been pleased to give us the Kingdom and knows what we need.  He will provide.  (Luke 12:27-34)

The Apostle Paul was told to keep speaking and teaching when he felt alone (Acts 18:9-10) and also told to be courageous in the midst of a ship wreck because God's plan for His life included caring for all the lives on board with him.  (Acts 27:21-26)

There are other examples.  But it is significant to me that all the key players in the Christmas story were told "do not be afraid."  Zechariah was confronted by the angel Gabriel as he did his temple service.  Startled by this sudden presence, Zechariah became afraid.  When Gabriel spoke to Mary it was not his presence that troubled her but his words.  What kind of greeting was this, that says she is "highly favored" and "the Lord is with" her?  Joseph was afraid of the implications of taking Mary home as his wife under the circumstance.  And the angel reassured him that God was in it.  The shepherds were shocked by having their night sky ablaze with the bright light of an angelic presence.  And they were told to "fear not."  This was not a sudden blast of judgment but an announcement of good news.

I've never had an angelic visit (at least not that I know).  Most of us haven't.  But I have had plenty of times when I have been afraid.  Afraid when we didn't know how we were going to pay our bills.  Afraid when I wasn't sure where to go next in leading.  Afraid and hurt when I thought we may lose our grandson at his birth.  Afraid when it felt like I was failing myself and everyone else, including the Lord.  And in each of those times the Lord said to me, "Do not be afraid Pat."  How?  He brought Scriptures to mind that settled my mind.  The Holy Spirit responded to my "Lord help me now" prayer by bringing me a sudden calm in my own spirit or having someone speak something to me that directly addressed my fear.  The person could not have known but He did.  And these actions on the Lord's part brought me peace.

If you are feeling fear at all today, take heart.  Listen to the voice of the Lord.  He is saying to you, "Do not be afraid."  Just seek me.  I know your needs.  I know my plans for your life.  I'm greater than those who are against you.  I have more for you than you can even imagine.  Do you believe this?  If so, let My peace overwhelm you.

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