One more reminder: Do not fear

Many times, the Verse of the Day and its commentary seem custom-crafted to address a specific issue that confronts believers on that day. Today, July 19, 2020, the inspiration for this prescription from Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe comes from Isaiah 41:10 (Revised Standard Version) to which I add verse 13 to solidify this reminder to have no fear:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

13 For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

This comforting passage brings to mind my book Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs where I discuss fear as one of the factors impacting my response to prostate cancer more than 20 years ago. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5 The Fear Factor: “Do not fear; I will help you”:

. . . My situation with prostate cancer forced me to face head-on one of the potentially toxic emotions confronting me throughout the healing process: fear. A cancer diagnosis itself can evoke great fear, in that the term “cancer” too often generates one of the fundamental human fears–the fear of death.

Although we recognize fear as a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. I recognized firsthand that unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits. Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

Fear and Its Antidote

As noted in previous comments, we find 365 references to “have no fear” or “do not fear” in the Bible, so some say. This encouraging word from Isaiah 41 is yet another reminder to believers: “Do not fear.” We could view these particular verses as one of those daily memos from God to have no fear.

If not properly understood and dealt with, fear can metastasize into a toxic emotion that can negatively impact our lives. As believers, we must learn to counteract its harmful effects with the proper remedy. In this case, we find that love is the perfect antidote: the love of God, the highest form of love. This love is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife.” This close-knit love is also known as agape, a term used exclusively in the New Testament, to reveal the uniqueness of God’s love.

The book of I John also reveals the “perfect” connection between fear and love, particularly in 1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this know that we are in Him. [NKJV]

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting in nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end.
The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. Verse 18 provides the basis for love being the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

I recall learning about the love of God as a counteractant to fear in a very simple yet profound way. One of the first books that my wife and I used to teach our daughters about our Heavenly Father was My Little Golden Book about God. This was a kind of primer for our daughters who memorized the words and associated them with the illustrations long before they could actually “read.” Some of the most cherished lines were these words which closed out the small book: “Do not fear. I am here. And I love you, my dear. Close your eyes and sleep tight. For tomorrow will be bright. All is well, dear child. Good night.”

This simple response encourages all children of God to have no fear, for God is ever-present, and He continues to say, “And I love you, my dear.” Even in distressful and disturbing situations where we do not clearly understand what is transpiring in our lives health-wise and otherwise, we must remember

There is no Fear in Love

I John 4:18

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you
from becoming what God intends for you to be.”
– Rick Warren

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear
And abounds to transform any adverse atmosphere.
We are perfected and made whole when we walk in love,
A true love that we live and not one we just speak of.
Such love is pure and never repels but draws us near.

This balm of love heals all wounds, no matter how severe
With words of compassion each soul on earth longs to hear;
Love conquers any disaster and rises above.
There is no fear in love.

We follow in Christ’s steps, knowing our mandate is clear.
Assured of triumph, there is never a need to fear.
We press toward the mark, the prize we seek to lay hold of
To ascend in victory on wings of a gentle dove.
We walk forth as bold pioneers on a love frontier:
There is no fear in love.

The essence of the message for today is “Have no fear—walk in love.” We conclude as Whitley Phipps offers this encouraging musical reminder: “No Need to Fear”

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “One more reminder: Do not fear”

  1. Slavit Says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful sharing! I especially loved the little verses from the children’s book showing God’s great love and care for us. Life really is that simple. We have only one God the Father, Who is the source of all good things, and only one Lord Jesus Christ, who makes all those things available! 1Corinthians 8:6. Thanks again for sharing such great truth. Lots of love, Gene

  2. Meg Longley Says:

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder and encouragement! Very timely! We bought that Little Golden Book for our grandkids and enjoy reading it to them. That ending always makes me teary-eyed with thankfulness. Lots of love to you and yours! ❤️

  3. Teresa Lawrence Says:

    Beautifully written! I enjoyed reading God’s word on fear and love and how you allowed HS to speak His truth to the heart with such gentleness and compassion. Thank you Dr J. And congrats on the nomination of your inspiring book!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: