I remember hearing a preacher say: “I don’t provide inspiration so much as information. People just need to know stuff, and that, in it itself, changes the way they think and live.”
It’s a useful concept when you consider the disabling quality of fear. Listen to Yann Martel in Life of Pi:
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
The truth is that fear is a liar. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. So this morning I want to understand something of God, so that I might walk in the light of assurance and not in the darkness of anxiety. Five verses from the Bible insist that this is so.
First, I want to stake my claim that God’s presence with me is the strong assurance that nothing else matters that much!
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
The promise: God is consistent. The most important part of you is something no person can ever threaten — your soul. In Christ, our souls are secure. Nothing can separate us from that love.
“So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” (Hebrews 13:6
The promise of help is like the presence of a strong brother in a schoolyard full of bullies. We are not afraid because God is consistent and promises His help. His powerful love far exceeds any evil we will face on this earth.
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 5:5)
God is involved. The Bible makes it clear that He is not a far-off, distant deity, but an involved and personal God. This means we do not have to live like all of our decisions and disappointments are on our shoulders. God fights for us even (and especially) as we are still in His presence.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
The promise: God sends us his indwelling Spirit. Our identity as sons and daughters of God is stronger than our former, fearful identity. We have access to a daily, devoted relationship to the living God because of this gift.
“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment . . . Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:21, 23-24)
The promise: God provides us with direction. He has not left us alone in this world to figure it out on our own. He gives us His Word and His Son as the example and the instruction we need to live free of fear. When we know His Word, we know His peace.