15 December 2017

Fear not

Luke 2 verses 8-11

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

How would you feel if you were sitting minding your own business and an angelic being appeared and made an announcement to you? Fear seems like quite an appropriate response.

Fear is a normal, healthy, God given, human emotion. There are times in life when fear is an appropriate response to a given set of circumstances. If you are walking alone on a dark path at night and someone jumps out of the shadows, you are right to be afraid and your immediate reaction is to take to your heels and run. This is an instinctive reaction for self preservation. You do not hang around to see if it is a friend playing a trick on you or someone wishing you harm, you simply run.

Problems arise, however, when normal emotions start to interfere inappropriately with everyday situations. We can not afford to allow fear to control or override other emotional responses. Perhaps we have small children, who are by nature weak and vulnerable, and we start to think about all the things that could happen to them. They might catch cold if they are not wrapped up, they might pick up an infection by being at school, they might fall over in the playground and get hurt, etc. We become fearful in our imagination and not because of any real or present danger.

Currently many people are fearful of the economic recession, of political instability in certain countries spreading worldwide, of the breakdown of society and the rule of law and order. They find that they can not sleep at night, or are scared to go out during the day. Fear can be crippling, in all sorts of ways, for so many people and if we are honest, few of us live lives that are free from fear, in some shape, form or description.

Throughout the history of mankind this has always been the case. Those poor shepherds who sat tending their flocks by night were also fearful for their future. They were the lowest of the low in the society of their day. They were marginalised, impoverished, excluded and despised by many. They had no rights and struggled to survive. Their country was under enemy occupation and corruption and injustice were the order of the day. So it was into this situation, background and social standing that God chose to send His message of hope, and the angel begins with these words that we all need to hear, “Fear not…”

Nothing has changed, God still speaks to the humble poor of this world and says, “Fear not.” However, the message does not end there, but continues, “…for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.” God’s plan is to replace our fear with His joy. What a contrast – fear for joy. Who would not want to make that swap in their lives? But how is this to come about? Through the birth of a baby. No ordinary baby, this baby is God Himself in human form, come into the world He created, to rescue us from ourselves. Born to be the Saviour of the world, yes, but more importantly born to be my Saviour, the one who has rescued me from my fear and guilt and sin. He is the one who can set us free from all our fears and give us His peace and joy right now, and the hope of life eternal with Him in a place He calls Heaven. If you want to learn more about this amazing Christmas gift of a Saviour, and want to experience this freedom from fear, just call us at the ‘Rejoice Always’ office.