by Arch Hoercher

What are you afraid of?  Snakes?  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my?  People?  Cancer?  Illness?  The unknown? Being alone?  Facebook?  Church?  God?  If we are honest with ourselves, there is probably something we are afraid of.  Does this fear control us or do we control the fear?

Luke 2: 8-12 (NIV) – “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified (afraid).  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The shepherds experienced fear.  They were “terrified”.  Up until the birth of Jesus, any manifestation of God to man was experienced with fear or terror.  This is not what God intended in the relationship between Himself and man.  At first, the relationship was perfect. God walked with and spoke with Adam and Eve.  It goes without saying that if one had a perfect relationship with God one would not be afraid of Him or anything else for that matter. You would know and be filled completely with God’s unconditional love.   Then, along came the serpent (Genesis 3). 

If we had a perfect relationship with God, we would not fear failure or rejection becausewe would not care what other people thought.  We would not fear what might happen or what is happening because we would trust God.  And we would never fear death because we would have the assurance that we would be with God forever and ever.

But like I said before, along came the serpent.  What the serpent basically said was, “Do you want to be happy?  You need to be in charge of your own life.  There should be no one in your life to tell you what to do, not even God.  If you do not take control of your own life and tell God to get out of yours, you will miss out on all the fun and games that independence and control has to offer.”  Adam and Eve believed this lie and the perfect relationship with God was broken.  This lie has gone from generation to generation up until today.  If you want to be happy, “do your own thing.”  There is a fear of God and trusting God that has been present since Adam and Eve made this choice, to trust only in themselves.  But the sad thing about this attitude is that it has never produced happiness and only has produced fear.  We have found out that we are not our own masters anyway – we might think that we are – but we are controlled by other people or organizations or religions or philosophies or circumstances that are totally out of our control.

But God gave us a way back.  In the form of an infant born in a stable in a little out of the way town in the middle of nowhere.  God sent His one and only Son, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings – God incarnate.  Born in obscurity to give us a way to restore a perfect relationship with God.  In Luke 2, the Angel of God said to “fear not” because a way has been provided to eliminate fear from your lives forever. 

The angel told them not to be afraid and gave the news of the long awaited Messiah and Lord had come.  But to eliminate their fear the shepherds had to do something.  They had to go to the Messiah and Lord and upon seeing Him their fears would be eliminated.  It is the same for God’s children today.  To eliminate your fears we must seek Him.  For God is saying, “Fear not, go to the Lord.” 

1 John 4:18 (NIV): “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  “Pefect love is the love of God.  The more of God’s love that we have in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, the less we should fear powers and principalities and the circumstances of the world.  With perfect love comes perfect peace.  The more we seek a closer relationship with God the less we should fear.  The more control of ourselves that we have surrendered to God, the less fear we will experience in our lives.

There are those who will and should experience fear.  Luke 12:5 (NIV) – “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him.”  Fear of God produces fear of wrath and judgment in those who do not know Him or who refuse to serve Him.  But God has given man a way out as He did the shepherds in the fields (Luke 2), “Fear Not, seek the Lord.”  The more we seek and trust Him, the closer we get to Him and the more we know His perfect love.  The closer we get to Him and the more we know His perfect love, the more we trust Him.  The more we trust Him, the less fear we will have in this world.

FEAR NOT!  SEEK HIM – FIRST!!  For if you do, you will be in control of your fear.