Day 2: Don’t Be Afraid
Throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, Jesus offered 125 commands. Of these, only eight are a command to love God and neighbor. But twenty-one times Jesus encouraged others to “not be afraid,” “not fear,” “have courage,” “take heart,” or “be of good cheer.” In fact, if you would take the time to analyze every statement Jesus made, you would discover that the one phrase Jesus spoke more than any other is…”don’t be afraid.”
Does this surprise you?
In his book titled Fearless, pastor and author Max Lucado writes, “When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. When safety becomes our god, we worship the risk-free life.” He goes on to note, “The fear-filled cannot love deeply. The fear filled cannot dream wildly…If we medicate fear with angry outbursts, drinking binges, sullen withdrawals, self-starvation, or viselike control, we exclude God from the solution and exacerbate the problem. We subject ourselves to a position of fear, allowing anxiety to dominate and define our lives. Joy-sapping worries. Day-numbing dread.”
As you read today, consider this: Why do you think Jesus taught so much about fear and worry?
Matthew 6:25 & 24:6; John 14:27; 2 Timothy 1:7; Exodus 14:14
Why do you think Jesus taught so much about fear and worry?
What do you think most people are afraid of in today’s culture?
Which of Max Lucado’s thoughts on the topic of fear stuck out to the most? Why do you think that is?
What would you say is your greatest fear in life?
Take the opportunity to write down one of the scripture verses from today’s reading on a small post-it note or index card. This week, memorize this verse.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and the many examples where You encourage joy and gladness, and discourage fear. I grateful for the lesson that fear can lead to the inability to love others deeply or to dream wildly. My desire is to be somebody who regularly loves others deeply, so I pray that you would continue to reveal anything in my life that discourages or distracts me from real growth. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.