I’ve noticed a phenomenon in American Christendom lately and I am at times guilty of it. Fear. Fear of the past, fear of the present, and fear of the future. As Christians we tend to fear what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. Fear comes from ignorance; not stupidity but ignorance. Random House Dictionary defines ignorance as a “lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.” The old adage of fear standing for “false evidence appearing real” is never more true when applied to the Christian life. We fear because we fail to have the right perspective.

On that Resurrection Morning, the Disciples feared for their lives and feared the future. And they need not have done so. So where did they go wrong? They forgot Jesus’ words. They looked at their circumstances instead of looking to Christ. If they had been about their Master’s business they would have met Jesus. It happened to the women after they left the empty tomb:

    “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’” (Matthew 28:9-10)

Imagine these women’s excitement about their meeting angels and having received the news of Christ’s resurrection and on the way they meet Jesus. And notice how He greets them; “Rejoice” and then “Do not be afraid.” Is that not just like our Lord? With His first words He reverses our attitudes and then He relieves our anxieties. And that is how God always works in the lives of His people.

When Isaac lied to King Abimelech about Rebekah being his sister (like father, like son!) and was facing a famine in the land, God watched out for fearful Isaac and had to remind him that God the Father was with him:

    “And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.’” (Genesis 26:24)

When we are weak and need to be strengthened God is with us:

    “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

The Lord Almighty is with us when we are facing trials:

    “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…’” (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

And the most amazing thing about our Jesus is that He takes away the fear of eternity; that’s right…eternity.

    “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’” (Revelation 1:17-18)

Is fear natural? Yes, but we are to cast off our natural aversions and live in the fact of Christ’s victory. Here is Matthew Henry’s take on Jesus’ meeting with the women in Matthew 28 and I pray it blesses you as much as it does me:

    “God’s gracious visits usually meet us in the way of duty; and to those who use what they have for others’ benefit, more shall be given. The salutation speaks the goodwill of Christ to man. It is the will of Christ that His people should be a cheerful, joyful people, and His resurrection furnishes abundant matter for joy. Be not afraid. Christ rose from the dead, to silence His people’s fears, and there is enough in that to silence them.”

Beloved, we who are the blood-bought, born-again Body of Christ and Family of God need not be fearful. The fact our Lord rose from the dead is all the knowledge we need to overcome fear. In our ignorance we see only our circumstances. In our rejoicing we see our Christ. Would to God I live my life daily as though this is a fact in my mind.

I pray the same for you.

Do not be afraid.

First, do not fear death. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior you will be with Him in eternity.

Second, do not fear life. Whatever we face, whether it be deep waters or scorching flames, we will not be overcome or burned. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the Lord our God, the Holy One of Israel, our Savior!

May we begin to live this truth!

In Christ
Ps. 37:4

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    Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers


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