Fear. It’s like that mythical monster Hydra from Greek legend. Like Hydra’s heads, for every fear you conquer, two more take over.
Fears abound right now. Some current heads that have appeared: fear of getting sick. Fear of dying. Fear of losing a job. Fear that the government is lying. Fear that the economy will implode. On top of all those outward sources of fear are the inward sources of fear. Fear of failing. Fear that you can’t defeat sin. Fear that you will fall away from God.
If we seem to defeat one fear only to face more and more, what can we do?
Let’s turn to the ultimate Counselor, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:26–28 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  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. (ESV)
Getting to the Heart
The Lord Jesus commissioned His apostles to go out and preach the gospel to the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). He prepared them by pointing out the opposition they would face:
- Rejection by those in their same social class (10:14-15)
- Persecution by those in government positions (10:16-20)
- Betrayal by family members (10:21) and
- Hatred from everyone who hates Jesus (10:22)
These are things that are truly fear-producing! Many times we are guilty in these days of fearing the loss of comfort or that vacation we planned and saved for. Think of those who live on the mission of Jesus or who are called by Christ in limited-access countries to follow Him. They do face all those realities that Jesus mentioned in verses 14-22. How were those disciples to battle fear, and how must we battle fear today?
Ironically, we don’t get rid of fear! We actually need to place our fear in the right place.
Jesus said, “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” (10:28).
There are many things to fear in this life; many things to fear in our current cultural climate. But the solution to fear of what people can do to us or what might happen to us is to fear the Lord. If you and I really do fear God, acknowledging His authority over us and His almighty power over our bodies and souls, that shines a bright light on the shadows and threats of other fears, and we see them exposed for what they are. If we see the Lord for who He is, seeking Him out in the Bible, eager for all He reveals, we will live with stability, confidence and clear direction for life.
So the best question really isn’t, What are you afraid of? but Who do you fear?
Let’s talk it over:
- What are some of the usual fears that come upon you?
- Read Matthew 10:29-31. What further reason does Jesus give us to fear God?
Almighty Father, we confess that we have so much to learn about You and fearing You with reverent worship. There are so many things we have to feel afraid about, and you don’t minimize those sources of fear. Thank you, though, that you put them in perspective. There’s nothing worse that can happen to us than to lose You or miss You entirely in this life and the next. You are sovereign over the smallest details of our lives, and nothing about our welfare and needs escapes Your loving gaze. Thank you for commanding us, Lord Jesus, to have the right fear in our days. Grant us grace to fear You. Amen.
Key words to focus on:
“Mine are tears in times of sorrow
Darkness not yet understood
Through the valley I must travel
Where I see no earthly good
But mine is peace that flows from heaven
And the strength in times of need
I know my pain will not be wasted
Christ completes his work in me”
(Jonny Robinson and Rich Thompson, 2016)
Memory Passage for this Week:
Hebrews 13:5–6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (ESV)