Fear can be a crippling emotion. It can keep us from doing the right thing at the time when it is most needed. We can get down on ourselves because we are fearful, and think we lack the courage to do what is right. Sometimes we think that the most courageous person is the one who lacks fear. Some of the greats of the Bible were at times afraid to act -- yet they overcame fear and did what was right.
The disciples of the Lord were often afraid. Sometimes this fear was crippling to them. And several times Jesus stopped and said, "Do not be afraid."
Do Not Be Afraid To Tell Others That Jesus Has Risen: -- as Mary Magdalene clutched the feet of her risen Lord He gave her a special mission -- "Do not be afraid" He said, "Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me" (Matt. 28: 10). In a sense, this is our mission today. Go and tell others that Jesus has risen and that they will see Him again. Fear, however can keep us from sharing the good news. One of the biggest fears that hinder us is that many don't know what to say. Jesus makes the message simple, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you" (Mk. 5:19). "Do not be afraid to go and tell" the wonderful news of Jesus Christ to friends and family. With the Lord by your side, there is not need to fear.
Do Not Be Afraid During The Storms Of Life: -- In Matt. 14, Jesus made His disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to wait for Him on the other side. A fierce storm, however, overtakes them and the waves beat against the boat. The storm was such that the disciples feared for their lives. When Jesus comes, He tells them, "Do not be afraid" (14:27). The same comforting words of Jesus still calm the storms of our lives today. When storms rage and the contrary winds blow against your life, remember, there is One that will come to your aid saying, "it is I; do not be afraid."
Do Not Be Afraid When Death Comes: -- Jairus desperately sought out the healing powers of Jesus for his ailing daughter. When he received the news that his little girl had died, his heart must have been crushed. Jesus recognized the loss of his hope and the fear that came into his heart, and said to him, "Do not be afraid; only believe." (Mk. 5:36). The apostle Paul did not fear death, instead he welcomed it by recognizing that on the other side of death's door lay a "far better" place (Phil. 1:23). When death stands at the door of our lives or that of a loved one, the words of Jesus still ring true: "Do not be afraid; only believe." Believe! Believe that those who die in the Lord will be blessed and have rest from their labors (Rev. 14:13).
Do Not Be Afraid To Speak Out Against Sin: -- Corinth was a city given to debauchery. A quick scan of the sins listed in 1 Cor. 6: 9,10 should make anyone blush. It is in this atmosphere that Paul preaches the saving grace of God. When he first arrives, he stands in "weakness, in fear, and in much trembling" (2:3). But the Lord comforts him: "Do not be afraid...for I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:9,10).
When it seems like the world is given over to sin and you want to throw up your hands and say, "Forget it! No one will listen!" -- Jesus comes and says, "Do not be afraid, but speak." And who knows, the next person to whom you speak may be numbered among "the many" who belong to Him.
Fear can keep us from doing what needs to be done in service to the kingdom -- but only if we let it. Jesus says, "Do not be afraid" but press on to the goal, accomplish the work. Let us not be people who yield to fear, but instead, let us turn to the Master and allow Him to help us...master our fears.
By Clay Gentry in Biblical Insights, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 2008.
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