Do Not Fear
Living in Confidence Because God is With Us
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
What’s the most common command in the Bible, appearing in one form or another, more than 300 times?
“Don’t be afraid.”
Why should we not be afraid? Because, as God told Joshua in Deuteronomy, if we are a follower of Christ, God is with us. In fact, one of Jesus’ titles is “Immannuel,” meaning “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14)
What or who do we often fear the most? People. But God’s word says we should fear God, not people.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”
Here are some different kinds of fear, and how God’s word helps us combat them:
People can insult us
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” (Matthew 5:11)
Jesus says that we are BLESSED when people insult us for His sake. Why? Because it means we are following Jesus in a way that people actually notice, and that some will react against (see also John 15:18-19; 1 Peter 3:14)
People can harm us
In Acts 5, the Apostles were put on trial for preaching the gospel. They were sort of acquitted, but then they were beaten. Then “they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41). And what did they do right afterward? “Every day . . . they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:43).
People can kill us
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
These words of Jesus were not just theoretical; most of His disciples wound up being martyred.
Even today, in rare cases, people can be killed because of their Christian faith. But in light of eternity, as long as we are headed for Heaven, even losing our life is not that bad. And dying for Christ’s sake is a high honor.
In Matthew 28:18-20, when Jesus commanded the disciples to take His message to the end of the world, he reassured them (and us) by saying, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What are some other fears that can hinder us?
Fear of imagined circumstances
“The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!'” (Proverbs 22:13) Our fears are often much worse than what actually happens. A “sluggard” is a lazy person; so this verse tells us that yielding to imaginary fears can actually be a way to avoid responsibility.
Fear of displeasing people
Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
The bottom line is, when we are fearing people, it’s because we are insecure about ourselves. Strangely enough, insecurity about ourselves stems from pride – being preoccupied with what others think about us.
And yet, our issues usually go unnoticed because most people are too busy thinking about themselves. It’s like a teenager who thinks everyone is staring at a flaw on his face, when actually most people don’t even notice or care about the flaw.
When we truly have confidence in our right standing before the Lord, we won’t give much thought to what people think about us. Passages like this will describe us:
“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6)
And finally, one of my favorites. Pray this for your friends and ask them to pray that the Holy Spirit would make it true in your life as well: “The righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1b).
Pray this week:
Father, thank You that You are always with me. Thank You, Jesus, that You are Immanuel, God with me. Help me to live in the confidence that comes from knowing that You will never leave me or forsake me. Amen.
How has fear kept you from accomplishing what the Lord wants you to do? Talk about it with one of our caring volunteers.