Dear Church Family
'Do not be afraid' is a message that God gives to people again and again in the Bible. Professor Tom McLeish reminded us of this in the excellent sermon he gave recently at our Sunday 9am congregation. I've often wondered why, so many times, God says 'do not fear' (eg. Isaiah 35;4; John 14:27)? The simple answer is that fear is a very common response in many situations but most of the time it's unhelpful. Of course when we're in genuine danger, fear can be good. It's fear, for example, that stops us getting too close to the edge of a cliff when out walking by the sea. That's a good and helpful fear! But most of the time fear is not helpful. Fear warps our perspective, causing us to think inaccurately, believe wrongly, speak negatively and act badly. That's why fear often results in anxiety, pessimism and poor choice-making.
In warfare, one of the main tactics of an enemy is to instil fear into the opposition. If you've seen the excellent film 'Darkest Hour' about the initial days of Winston Churchill's premiership in 1940 you will have picked up something of the brooding fear of those troublesome days and how Churchill had a difficult but important leadership role in reassuring our nation, and, over time, encouraging us to live above our fears and to work for and expect victory. In the spiritual battle we fight as followers of Jesus, fear is a commonly used tactic of Satan that we sometimes fail to recognise. We can so easily look through a lens of fear rather than with eyes of faith. That's why we need the truth of God's Word to guide us. The help of the Spirit to lift us. And the care of God's people to encourage us.
Who do you know who is afraid at the moment? Why not send them a message of encouragement today?
If you are afraid, hear those words again from the Lord today: 'do not fear'. You do not have to be afraid. Remember that 'God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline' (2 Timothy 3:7). And don't forget that, as followers of Jesus, the best is yet to come. Being reminded that the story will end well not only exposes fear but also gives us great hope. Kris Vallotton is right when he says that 'our greatest destiny lies on the other side of fear.' So do not be afraid.
Have a fearless weekend, and let's ensure we honour mothers, grandmothers and all those who have mothered us as we celebrate Mothering Sunday this Sunday.