Don’t be afraid

Do not be afraid” said the angel Gabriel to Mary who was troubled by the angel’s previous words of greeting as he appeared to her (see Luke 1:26-38 ESV). So many times this is God’s message to individuals and to God’s people in general throughout the Bible. “Do not be afraid.” “Fear not.” The message comes through angels, visions, dreams, a voice from heaven, the Word of God Himself before His incarnation, Jesus during His time on earth, the Holy Spirit. And all these come to us as we reap the benefits of all these accounts written in God’s Word. These are written for us so that we will be released from the debilitating effects of fear.

There are many things that cause us to be afraid and fear comes in many forms. Sometimes fear is subconscious. We don’t always realize that hidden fear is what is driving us or troubling us. Sometimes fear is all too obvious and disrupts our waking hours and our sleep.

When God appears to people in various ways, their first response is usually fear when they realize it is God or a heavenly messenger of God. This happened to both Zechariah and Mary when angels suddenly appeared to announce miraculous births. But immediately the angels brought the reassuring words: “Do not be afraid.” Words from God create the very thing they speak forth. God created everything through His Word spoken. So when God says “Fear not”, He at the same time creates the ability in the hearer to be without fear. The hearer just has to allow himself or herself to believe and receive God’s creative Word.

Often we too are afraid to really come fully into the Lord’s Presence. This fear may be covered up with busyness and distractions. Will He really receive me with open arms in light of all my failings? What if He brings things to the surface that I am afraid to deal with? God’s love both accepts us as we are and changes us as we spend time in His presence. How awesome is God’s love! God the Father invites us to come in to His eternal throne room through the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from every sin, “known and unknown, done and left undone”. Here we can receive the love that alone casts out every fear (see 1 John 4:7-21 ESV especially verse 18).

Allow God to receive you just as you are with all your fears and other struggles and let His love flow in and over you as you rest in His presence. His love will deliver you from every fear.