The Most Common Command?
The Most Common Command?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(2 Tim 1:7 NLT)
If you ask a Christian what Jesus said were the most important commands, chances are you’ll get a quick answer: “Love the LORD your God and Love your Neighbor as yourself!” But if you ask them the most common command, both from Jesus and from Heaven in general, you might send them scampering to their closest computer or concordance. I didn’t know it myself until doing some research while reading Max Lucado’s latest book, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. But I do now!
Twenty-one times in the Gospels, Jesus tells someone, “Don’t be afraid!” or “Take courage!” or “Be of good cheer!” In comparison, the Greatest Commands only get repeated 8 times. Think that’s a fluke? Check the Old Testament; at least 80 times, people are told some variation of, “Do not be afraid.”
Do you think it might be important?
In the world we share today, security and safety are the most commonly accepted obsessions. Homeland Security. Social Security. Safety seats. Safety belts. Safety seals. Security systems. Security guards. Food safety. Safety training. You could tack your own additions to the end of the list! One of the funniest chain letters circulating the Internet pokes fun at this by reminding us of all the things people of earlier generations survived: water from the hosepipe, biking without helmets, riding on long trips sprawled across the back seat, being kicked out of the house after lunch and told not to come back before dark. You know the one! Now, some of those things have changed because we live in a different and more dangerous world, but let’s be serious for a moment: has all of our fear done anything good for us? Really?
In another place, Paul tells the early believers (and us!) that, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25) That if is more of a because: “because we live by the Spirit…” Do you hear what he is saying? We survive by air and food and drink; we live by the Spirit of God! Now, look again at what Paul told Timothy: what kind of Spirit gives us real life?
A Spirit of POWER!
A Spirit of LOVE!
A Spirit of SELF-DISCIPLINE!
Our world is being torn apart by fear. The Bible says it doesn’t have to be this way! The only true and trustworthy antidote to fear is total surrender to Christ Jesus our Lord. Storms will come, but the answer’s not to stare at the storm, but to follow the command of the Storm-Silencer! Don’t be afraid!