“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” ~John 14:1
So many of us live in fear. I’m not talking about temporary fear like the feelings you get stepping into the car of a roller coaster or listening to strange noises coming from the garage in the middle of the night. Not that kind of fear. I mean actually living in fear. I mean growing accustomed to — or even comfortable with — that constant worry about your life. Or your eternal body and soul. I mean accepting an uneasy feeling that your salvation is not secure and your future may be in doubt. It’s this “Once saved, barely saved” mentality that makes inner peace, the shalom that is the will of God for his children, impossible.
Living in fear means giving up control. Our fears begin to direct our thoughts and actions. We adjust our routine to accomodate our fears and our fears become our masters. Our fears dictate what we do or say. Or don’t do or say. If we’re not careful, fear barges into our lives and just makes itself at home. Fear will clean out your pantry and track mud all over your carpets and, eventually, take over shaping you and controlling you into an image very different from that of our Lord.
Fear keeps us from doing what we’re called to do as children of God and followers of his Christ.
Talk to my neighbor about Jesus? Oh, no, I’d be afraid.
Confront my sister in Christ about her sin? I’m afraid I just can’t.
Stand up for Jesus in front of others? I’m too afraid.
Fear of hurting feelings may keep us from disciplining our children.
Fear of straining relationships may keep us from sharing our faith.
Fear of being vulnerable may keep us from confessing sin or admitting our own wrongs.
Fear is powerful. And fear gets its power when it causes us to look away from the strength of our God and focus our eyes and attention instead on the opposition around us and our own weakness.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
Jesus calms the storm and asks his apostles, “Why are you afraid?”
Jairus’ daughter is dead and Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid.”
Jesus tells his apostles around the table that last night — he tells us, his followers, today — “Don’t be afraid.”
Fear loses its power when we focus our eyes and attention on our God and his eternal nature to love and heal and forgive and provide and protect and rescue and save. Then, there’s no place for anxiety or fear. There’s no room.
Whatever you’re afraid of completely evaporates when our eyes are on our loving Lord. His presence dismisses the dread. His touch terminates the terror. His power prevails over fright and doubt. His perfect loves drives out fear.
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” ~Hebrews 13:6