In Luke 2, Angels surprised shepherds who were tending to their flocks in the middle of the night to make an announcement. These rough and tough guys were overcome with fear; fear for their lives.
Fear is a protective quality, but it can also be an inhibiting one.
- Fear can keep us from making a needed decision.
- Fear can prevent us from breaking out of our “shell” and trying something new.
- Fear can lead us to miss out on opportunities by making us feel unqualified.
Fear should heighten our awareness of the moment but never prevent us from moving forward or from change.
The brain is a profoundly complex organ. More than 100 billion nerve cells comprise an intricate network of communications that is the starting point of everything we sense, think, and do. Some of these communications lead to conscious thought and action, while others produce involuntary responses. The fear response is almost entirely involuntary: We don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its course. (How Stuff Works)
The phrase “Fear not” is a command, not a suggestion. We may not be able to prevent the feeling of fear from happening, but we can choose how we will respond to fear.
How do we keep from responding incorrectly to fear?
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
Perfect love cast out fear. The word perfect in Greek means complete, full, wanting nothing. God’s love is so complete it doesn’t require any outside stimulation.
God’s love is based on His character, nature, and promises. Fear is often “false evidence appearing real.” Fear can be reinforced by past experiences, not present realities.
There is nothing you will face and nothing you can do that will keep God from loving you. Love is the foundation of God’s intentions towards you. You don’t have to fear what you’re facing because God has promised He will never leave you nor forsake you! (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Knowing that God loves you unconditionally means that He is not going to fail you. He will honor His promises in your life, so you don’t have to worry.
Don’t allow fear to control your responses and reactions when God has declared emphatically that He is for you and not against you, Romans 8:31.
Warren Weirsbe said this regarding fear, “If people are afraid, it is because of something in the past that haunts them, or something in the present that upsets them, or something in the future that they feel threatens them.”
God has redeemed your past, He is at work in your present, and is the author of your future.
Spending energy on being afraid is futile. It changes nothing. Focus your energy on trusting God. It’s His love that cast out all fear. Trust is the single most important characteristic of love.
The Christmas story reminds us that we do not have to live afraid because God loves us perfectly. His love is not dependent on our mood, attitude, actions or disposition.
We can trust Him because He declares that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39
Life may try to separate you. But God declares nothing will stop Him from loving you.
- Trust God when He is silent.
- Trust God when He appears absent.
- Trust God, when everything is going wrong.
- Trust God when more things are falling apart than are staying together.
Trust does not mean you fully understand what God is doing; it is trusting that He is for you and not against you.
Your past doesn’t define you; God’s perfect love does. When fear creeps in, remember that God loves you perfectly and let His perfect love silence your fears.