Daily Devotionals

Fear or Fear Not?

Pastor Steve Ellison

We live in a time of rampant fear.  Many are afraid of COVID-19. Others are afraid of foreign governments. Others are afraid of our own government. Others are afraid of economic disaster. Others are afraid of the uncertainty surrounding all these things.  Fear is not always a bad thing. Fear may well keep you from doing stupid things.  The Bible speaks of the “fear of the Lord” 25 times. Because of the “fear of the Lord” we are told: be careful of what you do, it is wisdom, it is the beginning of wisdom and the beginning of knowledge, act faithfully, teach it to children, that it will cause you to discover the knowledge of God, it is hating evil, it prolongs life, it will help us to teach others about God, etc.  
 
On the other hand, fear often causes us to do stupid things. Most of what we fear, never comes to pass.  Furthermore, 2 Timothy 1:7-8 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear, cowardice) but we are to be unafraid to suffer for the gospel’s sake according to the power of God.  “Fear not” is a recurring directive in both the Old and New Testaments. So, which is it?  Fear or Fear Not?  Jesus’ emphatic answer to this question is recorded in Matthew 10 and Luke 12.
 
Luke 12:4-7 states, “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.  5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!  6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.  7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (NASU)  Jesus put a clear focus on fear, what to fear, and what not to fear.  The Bible is plain in declaring that fear of the Lord translates into obedience to the Lord.  All who name the name of Christ are called upon to obey His commandments.  Not obeying equals not fearing.
 
Speaking of fear, I would be afraid to listen to one who claims spiritual leadership but never mentions that hell is a real place where real people go.  Jesus clearly believed in hell and in the wisdom in fearing going there. It is a good thing to take precautions against temporal, physical harm but it is the height of stupidity to focus on that while ignoring the calamity that is unending. COVID-19 serves a marvelous purpose, pointing out to us that death is sure, certain, unending, and perhaps soon. It would be tragic to miss this lesson.  Preparing for a virus, even one that does not have a very high mortality rate, is wise.  Preparing for certain death is much wiser. God has clearly revealed in the Bible how to prepare for death.  The Church has been studying that message and proclaiming it for centuries. Perhaps it would be wise to fear Him who has the power and authority to cast you into hell.  Perhaps it would be wise to seek out His method of reconciliation so that hell can be avoided.
 
If He knows the sparrows and the hairs on your head, He knows your soul.  Romans 10:9-10 tells how your soul can be saved: Repent of your sin, believe in your heart and profess with your mouth that Jesus is the Resurrected Lord.  That is how “Fear Not” becomes a reality in your life.

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