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The Problem of Fear

We live in an age of fear. We fear nuclear war with N. Korea and trade war with China. Just when we stopped being afraid of the recession we started fearing inflation. We’re afraid we won’t save enough money to retire on or that it will be taken away by the state if we do. We fear our politicians (seriously see this poll). We’re afraid of failing and sometimes success. We’re afraid we’re going to ruin our relationships and be terrible friends, spouses, or parents. We’re afraid we won’t measure up or that when it’s all said and done we measured ourselves by the wrong standards. We’re afraid that our parents were right and that we’re turning into them. We’re afraid of diseases and their vaccinations. We’re afraid of fake news or worse that the news is true. We are afraid.

Maybe this is why the command “Do not be afraid” is one of the most common commands in the Bible. There are over 100 commands about fear, worry, or anxiety in the New Testament alone. While it might seem that policitians and reporters want us to be afraid, God does not want us to be afraid. Over the next five weeks we’ll be looking at what the Bible has to say about fear and how we can live free from it.  Spoiler alert, it has everything to do with Jesus.

Jesus offers us peace instead of fear. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Jesus has come to set you free from fear, you no longer have to be afraid. Fear holds us back from our best and keeps us trapped in bondage. The fear of failure keeps many people from even trying - it traps them in a prison of apathy. If you’re a perfectionist and you don’t think you can do something perfectly - you quit before you begin and stay perfectly stuck where you are. The fear of being hurt keeps many people trapped in a prison loneliness. Fear is a tragedy, especially because we don’t have to be afraid.

Hebrews 2 reminds us that Jesus came not to just set us free from hell, sin, and death, but also from fear. Jesus sets us free to live a fearless life. That said, the term “fearless” is a bit of a misnomer because you can’t be brave unless you have fear. The only things that are really fearless are the boring things of life, like putting on slippers, folding towels, sitting at a desk, eating a microwave meal. Things that have zero risk, but that’s not the world in which we live. There are real risks, real problems, things that make us afraid. This is why we need Jesus. He alone can set us free from fear to live our lives courageously for him.