August 8th 2010

What Are You Afraid Of?

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:16-18 (NIV UK)

What are you afraid of? Most of us are afraid of something, and some of us are afraid of many things.

Fear can be a very good thing. It can save our lives by making us alert and careful. For example, I’m afraid of drunk drivers. In fact, I’m afraid of most all drivers. That fear makes me more careful in traffic than I would otherwise be. I watch out for other drivers and even expect them to do dangerous and unusual things. My fear of careless drivers helps me drive more cautiously and to try to anticipate potential danger.

I’m also afraid of rocketing down ski slopes at speeds in excess of my capability to manoeuvre or stop safely. I think that threshold of speed is about 20 mph, so I have chosen to stay off the ski slopes. Again, my fear of moving faster than I can handle helps keep me safe.

Fear of putting our hand in a fire, touching an electrical circuit, or being careless with sharp-bladed knives are positive, healthy fears. Fear of breaking the law can keep us out of trouble. Fear of heights can keep us safely close to the ground and away from dangerous precipices.

Fear is natural, and it can be a lifesaver.

But sometimes fear can get out of hand and even become a life-crippling burden. Excessive fear can keep us from doing normal and natural things. Fear of heights, for example, can keep us from getting into dangerous situations, but excessive fear of heights can paralyze us on a ladder. Excessive fear of traffic can prevent us from driving at all.

There are many things in the world to be afraid of, but fear of being rejected by God is not one of them. That is one fear that we can cross off our list of the things we worry about. In John 14:16-17, Jesus promised his disciples special help, as the scripture quoted above details. Then in verse 26, he added, “The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and points us to Jesus as our source of righteousness and the solution to all our fear and guilt. The Spirit reveals to us our true identity as children of God in union with Jesus Christ, and it is by the Spirit that Jesus and the Father make their dwelling within us. Whatever else you might be afraid of, know this: God loves you and will never stop loving you. That’s the one thing you never have to fear.

Holy Father, we thank you for the peace bequeathed to us by your Son. In our troubled, busy lives, help us to remember that we rely on you, that we rest in Jesus, and that we can rely on your unstinted support in our Christian lives. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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