I recently read an interesting anecdote that reveals how powerful fear can be. The story goes that one day a man was wandering in the wilderness when he bumped into Fear and Plague. The two told the man that they were headed to a large city on a mission to slay 40,000 people. The man asked Plague if he was going to do all that killing alone. Plague smiled and responded, “No, I’ll only take care of the first hundred. Fear will take care of the rest.”
When reading through the gospels, you will notice that when Jesus reprimanded the disciples for their lack of faith, he usually included phrases like, “Don’t be afraid,” or, “be of good cheer.” Jesus was communicating an important principle: fear tolerated is faith contaminated.
Fear must be the most worn-out tool in Satan’s arsenal because he uses it against Christians repetitively. The devil knows if he can get you to start worrying, you will be too preoccupied with worry and fear to have room for faith.
Faith cannot operate in a room full of fear and worry. That is why Jesus spent a lot of time during His most famous sermon admonishing His listeners against worry. He did this by drawing a parallel between the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air. He painted an interesting picture of how the lilies and the birds didn’t even work but never worried about their food or their clothes (Matt. 6:25–34). His message communicated His desire for us to totally depend on God instead of being filled with fear and worry.
Jesus not only taught this concept but modeled it for us. Anytime something happened around Him that would potentially cause His followers to fear and worry, He immediately reminded them not to worry.
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” — Mark 5:34–36
The disciples came with a bad report and immediately Jesus commanded them not to be afraid. That is how we ought to respond to bad news: we should not be afraid, and we should not worry—but only believe. As we do that, God will always make a way where there seems to be no way! Even what seems bad in our own eyes can be part of God’s plan to bless us.
Have you recently allowed fear and worry to take root in your life?
Lord, from today on, help me to live in faith. Help me to only believe and trust in You. Thank You that all Your plans towards me are good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.