I used to think of “Fear Not” as a word of friendly advice, but I was wrong: “Fear Not” is a command.
When Jesus was awakened from a much needed sleep by His terrified disciples, He actually rebuked them for allowing themselves to fear.
Jesus Calms the Storm
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” – Matthew 8:23-26
We wake up to a new storm every day
We have a hurricane bearing down towards us, or the threat of war. Or we have the endless predictions of economic ruin. If that’s not enough, the roads are dangerous, and there are many health disasters lurking out there.
The disciples could have answered, “What do you mean, ‘Why are you so afraid?!!'” “We’re fishermen! We know exactly what this kind of storm can do!”
But they were with the Messiah. They knew about the faith lessons He had been teaching them, And fear, except for the fear of God, was not acceptable.
Today I came down stairs to hear once again Mrs. Dust muttering in frustration that we need to nuke North Korea and get over with it. This was of course because of the news media worrying endlessly about the stand off. It was born of fear. And fear is exactly how North Korea holds the world in its grip.
Looking around a bit more, there were predictions that the East Coast needs to fear another hurricane. And looking a little further I saw the usual list of false prophets predicting doom while selling survival food.
So my choice today is to obey the Master and reject fear
But it’s a fight, and is part of “the good fight of faith.” How do we banish fear? It’s a daily, even hourly, discipline.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
I will be fighting this fight every day. For now, I will turn off the news.
I will obey also the following advice (orders, actually):
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” –Philippians 4:4-9