Fear is a God-given emotion that has the benefit of protecting us from potential threats. Only God does not know fear, for nothing is a threat to Him. To be afraid of something is not sin. But fear can become sin if we let it control us. So, when Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid,” He is not suggesting that we ignore our fears. That would be impossible. But He is saying that we are not to be controlled by fear, rather, act in faith – faith in Him who knows no fear!
In the gospel of Mark, we find these references to fearful situations that the disciples faced. Reflect on the circumstances of each incident that created the fear response.
Mark 4:40 ESV He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” – fear for physical safety
Mark 6:50 ESV …for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” – fear from a very unusual experience
Mark 9:32 ESV But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. – fear of being thought of as stupid or incompetent
Mark 10:32 ESV And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him… – fear of possible death from persecution
Mark 16:8 ESV And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. – fear of other’s opinions
Kingdom leaders face fear daily. Nothing new here. The only question we must answer is how do we respond? Does our fear control us and dictate our actions? Do we look to our own resources to deal with our perceived threat? Or do we use these situations to remind us of our need for help from the Lord and the empowerment that can come only from Him?
We are not talking about putting on some ‘brave front’ or false bravado. It’s OK to acknowledge whatever threat we encounter. Foolishness denies the reality. But faith names the threat and calls upon the Lord to help. He has promised never to leave or forsake us. He has promised to answer when we cry for His help.
… and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Psalm 50:15 ESV
What are you afraid of today? Call for His help!