Do not be distracted by fear
Around 100 times, the Bible instructs us, “Fear not,” or “Do not be afraid.”
Why is the same command repeated so many times?
Because God knows us, and He knows how often and how deeply we struggle with fear.
Indeed, our struggle with fear comes up early in the Bible, in Genesis 3:10, just after Adam and Eve’s original sin. God came into the garden calling to Adam and Eve, but they were hiding from God. Adam explains (in Genesis 3:10), “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Ever since that time, out of our broken human nature, we have struggled with fear.
Queen Latifah points out, “Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears.”
Fear is often an obstacle in our lives, blocking us from becoming what we would love to become, diverting us from doing what we would love to accomplish. Fear is often a trap, imprisoning us, and keeping us from getting where we would like to get in life.
Angela Liddon shares personally, “When I think about my struggles with anxiety, I realize that I live in the future too much. It’s crazy how much I worry about things that haven’t happened yet and probably never will happen. I’ve spent my entire life battling the anxiety monster and I’ve missed out on so many great opportunities due to debilitating fear.”
How many of us, like Angela, have missed out on opportunities in life while running away from the “anxiety monster”?
When we are driven or propelled by fear, we shrink, we retreat, we hide, we lash out, we blame, we cling, we lose sleep or we sleep too much, we miss out, we diminish our opportunities.
But 1st John 4:18a announces, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
I find this to be incredibly accurate in my life. When I am moved by love, courage and hope and faith overpower my fears, but when love is lacking fear overpowers me.
I see this truth lived out in the Old Testament character Nehemiah. Amidst great opposition from those who surrounded the city of Jerusalem around 430 B.C., Nehemiah took on the task of rebuilding the walls of the city. At times the people were so afraid that they wanted to quit, but Nehemiah’s love for God and his love for the people of Jerusalem moved him, so he persevered in the face of threats to his life and plots against him.
I want to be like Nehemiah. I want to be moved by love to do good in the world around me. I want to be so moved by love that fear will not distract my focus from the good that God lays upon my heart to do.