It is somewhat awkward to discover in one’s mid (okay, late) thirties that one has been living a life of fear. Fear of exposure, of the opinions of others, of failure. Fear of being unloved, unaccepted, unseen. Fear of being humiliated, of others seeing the depth of need and brokenness within and running away, or worse, judging harshly.
These ugly fears lead to many other ugly places– to hypocrisy, to anxiety, to avoiding all risk, to seeking solace in damaging behaviors. They lead to a horrible mix of pride and shame that puts up walls of defense and good behavior. They lead to chains, to a prison built by one’s own hands, brick by fear-filled brick.
Oh, friends. This is so very far from the place of grace that God has planned for us– has provided for us.
God does not want His people to live in fear. To the people to whom He and His angels appeared in Scriptures, God had this message: Do not be afraid. To us, He gives this message as well: God has not given us a spirit of fear. His instruction to abstain from fear came to both the rich and the poor, those who had a huge, epic task to do and those whose job was simply to worship.
Fear not, for behold! I bring you good tidings of great joy!
I have lived so much of my life in fear– that was meant to be erased by the Savior born thousands of years ago, the Savior I claimed as my own decades ago. Jesus, Prince of Peace, God With Us, is the answer to my fear– to your fear. He is the Way to freedom, to joy, to courage and faith.
Christ answers all my fears.
I fear exposure; He covers me in His righteousness.
I fear the opinions of others; He stands in the gap for me, so that in God’s eyes I am holy and pure and beloved.
I fear failure; He gives more grace and reminds me that He is faithful.
I fear being unloved; He reminds me again and again that He loves me.
I fear being unaccepted; He makes me accepted in Himself.
I fear being unseen; He is the God Who Sees Me.
I fear being humiliated; He gives me an example of perfect humility and teaches me that to be humble is to be exalted, to be weak is to be made strong.
I fear people seeing the real state of my brokenness; He says my strength is made perfect in weakness and that He uses my foolishness and my smallness and my brokenness to teach and, yes, to shame the wise and the great and the strong. He fills all my broken places with His lavish and glorious grace, so I am overflowing with light.
I fear judgment; He says to me these precious words– there is no condemnation for those who are in Him.
The baby in the manger– the Savior on the cross– the Conqueror come out of the grave– He is the answer for my fears. He is the love of God incarnate, and perfect love drives out fear.
This Christmas season– are you afraid? My Savior has an answer. He came to save me and to save you– from sin and death and judgment, from fears that crush and hold us back from the freedom of grace.
Fear not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born . . . a Savior, Christ the Lord!
He holds me and helps me to stand firm and without fear; and I slowly open, a blossom late in coming but beautiful in His sight.
Glory to God in the highest!