Over and over in the Bible, we hear the phrase “Do not be afraid.” Some have said that it is found in one form or another 365 times in the Bible. I have never counted them but I would not be surprised if that number were true.
Why? That’s my question. Why are we reminded so often to not be afraid? I get it when an angel appears on earth, “Don’t be afraid” is a great opening line. But what about all the other times where it is just woven in by the Prophets, by Jesus, or found in the new testament letters?
I suspect it is found so often because we are fearful people. I know I am. I spent the morning fighting back fear, fear for the congregation I serve, for those who have chosen to draw away from regular worship and fellowship. Fearful that I have somehow failed at my job as their Shepherd. Fear that we as a congregation are not doing enough to impact this community for Christ.
Fear is one of Satan’s easiest tools, I don’t think it takes a lot of effort for him to make us fear filled people. You might say “I’m not a fearful person.” great, but do you know peace in your life? That unsettled striving for peace, that’s a form of fear.
Listen to the message the angel speaks to us today,
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)
God has come, and our fear is taken away and replace with Joy, and not just any joy, it is replaced with Great Joy for all the people. I too am included in “all the people” and so are you. This morning has taught me once again that I need to stop pondering what I have or have not done and fix my eyes on what Christ has done for me, what he has done in me, and what he is doing through me. When Christ becomes the center of our thoughts, and our actions, and only then, can we find Joy, Great Joy.
May the fear and restlessness of your day be filled by the Great Joy and Amazing Peace which Jesus brings to our world today and every day.