Written by Tim Wood
One of the many themes of the Christmas story is, “don’t be afraid.” This message is repeated to the main characters. The angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). In a dream Joseph received this message, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). The shepherds heard the angels say, “Do not be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
Clearly, the presence of Jesus and the good news of the gospel should calm our fears. Life is filled with fear inducing situations. The fear of a terminal illness, unemployment, terror attacks, rejections, or being overly fearful of what other people might think about you. Some fears are big and some are small but they are real. And, fear will take away the inner peace that God wants you to enjoy.
Psalm 27 focuses on fear. Chuck Swindoll wrote, “David met fear head-on at his front door with two questions. Whom shall I dread? Whom shall I fear? And he slammed the door in fears face by declaring, my heart will not fear…I shall be confident” (Psalm 27:3 NASB).
David teaches us how to counteract fear in Psalm 27. Pray: I have asked the Lord (v.4). Focus: I gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (v.4). God’s protection: He will keep me safe (v.5). Praise: I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord (v.6). Determination: Be strong and take heart, wait for the Lord (v. 14).
When the angels said, “Don’t be afraid” it is in command form. It’s not, “Don’t be afraid if you want to. Or if you feel like it.” It is don’t be afraid. Dick Mills writes, “Every commandment of God comes with the assurance that we can perform it. God doesn’t issue orders that we are incapable of fulfilling. It’s incongruous to say, ‘I’ve got lots of courage but no strength. Or, I’ve got lots of faith but I’m afraid.’ Courage and strength were given to you by God. Courage motivates our will and strength accompanies our efforts.”
The Lord is with me, whom shall I fear? The Lord is here, whom shall I dread? Don’t let fear keep you from enjoying the full blessing of God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ.