What are you afraid of? The future? Disease? The economy? Rejection by family or friends? One of Satan’s greatest strategies is to paralyze the believer in a state of fear so that they lose their courage, their peace, and their witness. As one preacher of the past so wisely said, “[Fear] is Satan’s weapon held in reserve. When alluring temptations fail, he opens his quiver and shoots these arrows to set the soul on fire, if not with sin then with terror” (W. Gurnall).
In Matthew 10, Christ was sending forth His faithful band of disciples into a hostile world “…as sheep in the midst of wolves” (v. 16). It seemed as though they had much to fear. For soon they would find that the same rejection and hatred that would be directed towards their Master would be turned towards them. Christ explained to them that “…if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (v. 25). The disciples were the household. Christ was the Master of the house. And Christ reminded them that following Him meant sharing in His rejection by the world. Therefore, Christ came to this lowly band of disciples with hard truth as to the reality of their near persecution, yet He didn’t fail to comfort their anxious hearts with the grace of His words. Three times Christ told His disciples to “fear not”. In v. 26, Christ told them to “fear them not…for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” Christ was reminding them that although it seemed as though they were suffering in defeat and that their persecutors were reigning in victory, that one day the tables would be turned and Christ would vindicate the righteous sacrifice of His saints. In v. 28, Christ said “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul…” The same verse goes on to remind His disciples that God is the One to be feared. The worst that men can do is killing a disciple physically. Yet physical death is not a tragedy for the believer, but rather, is a royal entrance into the presence of our Lord. In v. 31, Christ reminded His disciples to “fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” The disciple of Christ, in spite of unceasing trials, need not fear when he realizes the care that God has for him. If God cares for the sparrows and knows the exact count of hairs on our heads, then can we not rest in the faithful provision of God in caring for our needs? God’s people are of utmost value to their Master.
When fear is expelled from our hearts and God is the only One that we fear, we can go forward in courage and unwavering boldness as we go into the world unashamedly confessing Christ before men.