I have a four year old daughter who is afraid of certain things, like the dark, and occasionally a really big dog barking loudly. Praise God that she is still naive to all of the many fears that this world has to offer. But my guess is that if you are reading this right now you’re more than likely quite aware of the fear and hate that this world is steeped in. It seems to me like we are just surrounded by it. Fear of disease. Fear of terrorists. Fear of government. Fear of persecution. Fear of rejection. (Insert your own personal fears here). You don’t have to spend more than a day at school or a few minutes on Facebook to hear and see a lot of hateful comments or posts or actions rooted in fear.
But PRAISE GOD that we are called by Him NOT to fear. God tells us this time and time again in His word.
But wait…do not fear? But ebola has come to America now. And have you heard what extremist terrorists are doing to innocent people? “Do not fear” is an easy thing to say, but when we are surrounded by and fed reasons to fear daily, it isn’t always so easily done. So has God asked us to do something impossible?
Let me briefly change the subject here, and we’ll come back to this.
Recently in Bible class we had a great discussion and study about the things we choose to wear as followers of Jesus. And this wasn’t a discussion about modesty, or even physical clothing, for that matter. Rather, we spent some time meditating on what Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12, when he says, “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In verse 14 Paul says, “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together…”
I would guess that most of us put at least a little bit of thought each morning into what we will choose to wear that day (some of us more than others). We might even make that decision the night before. It appears that if we want to truly follow Jesus, there is an even more important decision pressing each day about what we will wear, than what our physical attire will be. Just as I would never be caught naked out in public, I don’t want to be seen without the spiritual clothing of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Because if I choose to wear the things that make me look like Jesus, I won’t have room for those extra accessories, like fear and hate. Fear and hate don’t match the attributes of Christ.
And then there’s love. The greatest of all things, because, after all, God is love (1 John 4:8). It is only by first putting on the love of Christ (the overcoat, if you will) that we can understand how to wear things like compassion and kindness, humility and gentleness. It is also by wearing the love of Jesus that we come to understand and trust God when He says, “Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).
I want you to try to think of the fears in your life. Now think about the potential of facing those fears head on, with the words of God ringing in your ears, “Do not fear, I will help you.” 2 Timothy 1:7 says that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love…”
The people of the world choose to clothe themselves with fear and hate. You and I have an opportunity every day to show the world what it looks like to wear the clothing of Jesus Christ. When someone shows you hate, return it with love. When someone speaks unkindly to you this week, choose to speak only kind words. When you see someone hurting, take time out of your own plans and schedule to show compassion. And stop being afraid. Because God is with you.
When we wrap ourselves in the love of Christ, the fear of the world will become nothing to us.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” –1 John 4:18