“Do not be afraid” occurs sixty-nine times in the New International Version of the Bible; “do not be discouraged six times; “let not your hearts be troubled” twice, and the word “peace” is there 250 times. Have any idea what God wants our attitude to be about circumstances in the world?
The LORD said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 New International Version) The angels said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid.” (Luke 2:10) Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV) And Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7 King James Version)
The message of Jesus Christ, the gospel, is a message of courage, not fear. It is everything to celebrate and leaves no room for despair. The Son of God came down to earth to bring us up to heaven. The very God who sets the rules and judges the rule breakers, took that judgment upon Himself in our place. And this grace, this mercy, this salvation of God is for everyone who believes that Jesus is the Savior just as the angel announced (Luke 2:11).
Fear is the opposite of faith. But faith in just anything is no antidote to fear. It is our faith in God that makes the difference. If our faith is in others no better than ourselves – what good is that? If our faith is in people we think are better than ourselves – they still come up short. If our faith is in fortune – stocks plunge. If our faith is in politics – administrations change. If our faith is in good health – don’t ever get sick. No, in all the world and in all the history of the world, there is only One who never has or ever will fail those who put their faith in Him – Jesus Christ. Jesus was so confident in His ability to take care of His followers that He equated Himself with God – “you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1 New King James Version).
Abel believed God and was counted righteous. Noah believed God and built an ark and rescued humanity from obliteration. Abraham believed God and received an earthly inheritance and a heavenly reward. Moses believed God and brought Israel out of bondage into liberty – a thing he tried and could not do himself. Joshua believed God and toppled cities – literally. David believed God and killed a giant and became king. The prophets believed God, opposed kings and won. The apostles believed Christ and, leaving all else, they followed Him to make disciples in all the nations. Through faith in Christ they preached the gospel, healed the sick, raised the dead, overthrew kingdoms and put demons to flight. Because of their faith in Christ no weapon ever forged prevailed against them. Through faith in Christ they established a new movement in the world that transformed the world and continues to change it to this day. Jesus declared to them, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the power of hell will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 paraphrase)
During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.
- Our hope is in the LORD: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:20-22 New International Version)
- Everyone who has faith in Christ will overcome the world: “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5 New Living Translation)
- A new world is coming, and you will love it: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:4-5 New Living Translation)
No one can say what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow. Faith in Him not only dispels fear, it wins the fray!