.Recently I read that the Bible uses the phrase “Do not fear” 365 times, once for every day of the year. I have been curious if that is true. It sounds great, right? While I didn’t do an incredibly deep study, I did check some Bible resources to see what came up when I searched this phrase. I didn’t look up all variations of the phrase, but I discovered that it would be difficult to come up with exactly 365 instances. This reminded me to always check the facts before believing something I read. However, I still find it interesting that the Bible uses this phrase so many times.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Right now it seems like there is so much fear in the world and in this country. Perhaps it has always been this way, but I feel that we are letting fear take over our hearts. We allow fear to conquer love by living in a way that is safer rather than more loving. This issue has been on my heart for so long. I feel it’s important to talk about these issues with love and consideration.
The refugee situation has been on my heart a lot. I understand people’s fear and why they don’t want refugees to come into the country. However, when are we going to listen to God’s words? If there ever was a time we should not fear, that we should reach out and serve others who are desperate, is that not now? I know many fear the threat of allowing terrorists into our country, and understandably so. But what about the many innocent lives turned upside down by the violence in their home country? Will we ignore God’s command to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and help those who have nothing? What about the innocent children who don’t even understand what is going on in their world or have lost loved ones?
Sometimes serving others means we have to risk something. Maybe it is comfort, our safety, or even our lives. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? Look at the Apostles’ lives. They truly dedicated their lives to serving and following Jesus, even to the point of death. When we get to heaven, will God turn us away, saying He doesn’t know us because we didn’t welcome strangers and didn’t feed and clothe those in need?
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Overcoming fear is difficult. I struggle with it just as much as others. If I were in a desperate situation like these refugees, I would be thankful for any act of love shown to me by strangers. What better way to show God’s love and potentially bring someone to Christ than to serve in such a situation?
When we refuse to accept fear over love, we fight against the evil one. Evil men and Satan himself can try to fill us with fear, but no one can take away our faith and salvation.
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Let us pray to God for strength to get through difficult and fearful situations. When fear no longer rules our hearts, we can share God’s love with others who need it so desperately.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for always being with us, especially when we feel fear. We ask that you give us the strength to serve others even if it means sacrifice. Help us to be loving and compassionate followers of you and to think of others over ourselves. We long to be like you and to serve others like your son Jesus served on earth. Help us every day to overcome the evil one and to choose love over fear. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, Amen.
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