“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” (II Timothy 1:7).
“Whenever I am afraid I will trust in you,” (Psalm 56:3).
I recently heard that the command, “Do not fear,” is mentioned 365 times in God’s Word. Assuming the accuracy of that statement, that is one command for every day of the year! And here’s the thing: On top of the command to not fear — which could be directed at Jesus’ mother, Mary; at Joshua; at David — the Bible talks a lot about fear and being afraid. Apparently it is a major issue that we as humans deal with.
Now there is a good kind of fear — when we “fear” or reverence God:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding of all those who do his commandments. His praise endures forever,” (Psalm 111:10).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” (Proverbs 1:7a).
But we aren’t talking about reverence here. Today we’re talking about being afraid, timidity, terror, panic, dread, anxiety, worry. Ever experience any of those?
There is a lot of fear cutting through the world population these days! Fear of uncertainty, fear of loss of finances, fear of illness, fear of death, fear of the future. It’s pretty rampant, and it’s easy for any one of us to get sucked up into it.
But our Jesus — the one who saved us (Acts 4:12), who walks with us (John 14:16-18), who knows our thoughts before we think them (Psalm 139:2), who knows when we’re going to go to bed and when we will arise each morning (Psalm 139:2) — He is called The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Peace is God’s antidote to fear and He is ready to provide it in abundance if only we will accept it and rest in Him.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (John 14:27).
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful,” (Colossians 3:15).
How do we get to a place where we allow God’s peace to override our fear?
We lay it at His feet. That’s what Paul told the Philippians. We come to Him in prayer and say, “Lord, I can’t rid myself of this fear (or anxiety or worry or fill-in-the-blank). Please take it from me, and replace it with your peace.” I’m speaking from experience, here.
Is this a one-and-done deal? Maybe. But possibly not. We humans are notorious for taking things back that we’ve given to God. But also, if there is a situation that is in your face that is causing agitation, it may mean repeatedly coming to our Lord until finally the peace settles in, because finally we learn to, “let go and let God.”
Remember, our God is the same One who calmed the raging sea for the disciples with one command: “Peace, be still.” He is able to effect the same response in our soul. Let Him.