What should you fear? I could easily make a list of 100 things I “should” fear off the top of my head.
And if you haven’t been living under a rock, and have been on social media a lot (or at all), you can too.
Fear. It is a prominent emotion right now.
Scripture talks a lot about fear. There are countless verses that start with “Do not fear”, and “Do not be afraid”, with more encouragement that follows into why we shouldn’t fear.
Early this week, I was on social media in the morning, and quickly my anxiety started to build. Want to know why? Because I am really good at creating the worst-case scenarios in my head. Like really good.
So, yeah, that is where my head was at. Considering the worst-case scenarios. And trust me when I say, the outcome in my mind wasn’t “but God…”
In this world, you will have trouble…
As much as God’s promises are true, and we should believe what He says is true, there is still the hard truth that life is going to be hard. And we can’t escape that as much as we want to and try. John 16:33, one of the most popular verses in the bible begins with “I tell you things so that you will have peace. in this world you will have trouble…”
Spoken by Jesus, after telling His disciples some really hard things. And it is almost an assurance. This is going to happen. He tells us this so that we are not surprised when trouble comes. But the verse ends by an even greater promise. “Take heart, I will overcome the world.”
Take heart, have courage, be of good cheer. A lighter way of saying “Do not fear…”
But, there is actually something Jesus tells us we should fear. And what I am about to share with you, has given me comfort all week.
Jesus tell us in Luke 12, “do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
Do not fear man. Fear the one who has the authority to send you to hell. Man doesn’t have that authority. The ONLY one who has the authority to do that is the one we should fear.
We are not left without hope.
You may be thinking, great, we are all doomed. And I hope you continue reading because I am going to share with you the beauty of the One, who is the One we are told to fear, but who is a good good Father. One we can trust in, put our hope in, and find eternal security in. Our strong tower, and shelter for the weak.
Right after Jesus tells us to fear God, He tells us about His care for us. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Sparrows were the cheapest bird you could buy during the time Jesus was saying this. They were almost worthless. Yet Jesus is saying that God remembers them. Then going on to say that God knows the number of hairs on our head. Do you know how many hairs on your children’s head? No? Me either, but if I did that would show my care for my child, my attention to detail, and even knowing when 1 of those strands falls out.
But if He cares for the sparrows that are pretty much of no value, how much more are you worth to Him? How much more valuable are you, who puts their trust in Him.
He is not an unknown God. And we are not unknown to Him.
Do not be afraid.
Jesus takes it a step further.
I do have to tell you a secret though. This is conditional. As much as there are verses that start with “Do not be afraid…”, there are a lot of verses that begin with the word “if”. Jesus doesn’t sugar coat things, to make us feel good. “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.”
Here is the “if”. If we believe, if we acknowledge Jesus before others, if we put our trust in Him, if we just have the faith the leads to obedience… then He will acknowledge us before the angels of God, then we will have eternal life, then His favor and care will be upon us. Then our name will be registered in heaven, and one day we will be standing before the One who Jesus told us should be our only fear.
Do Not Worry
Then Jesus continues to tell his disciples what they shouldn’t worry about. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life.
He is back to the birds again… And here is His point. We are more valuable to Him, than the things that we may consider as worthless.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
The one thing that we should fear
The one that we are told we should fear is the One who knows what we need. We are more valuable to Him than we could ever know. He knows what we fear. He knows we fear the hands of man, and that we will never have what we need.
But He wants us to trust Him. He doesn’t want us to set our hearts on the things of this world, and and to be running after those things. We are to seek His kingdom first, because He knows our needs. That is why we are told to pray “give us this day our daily bread”.
He knows we have fears, and He knows the end of the story. That is why He tells us Do not be afraid.
No. We do not need to fear. All we need to do is be still, and know He is God.