Take Courage, Don’t Be Afraid

Annunciation Painting by Patricia BrintleFear is hardwired into our psyche. We are programmed for fight and flight in the deepest recesses of our brain in the amygdala, our reptilian brain. When something triggers fear in our lives, the amygdala gets the rest of the body responding with heart pounding, breath quickening, muscle tensing, sweat beading stress.

We all have been in a stress induced fight or flight response for the past 20 months, wouldn’t you say? Our bodies and psyches have been overacting to the pressures of the societal chaos we have all been slogging through. This overdrawn activation of the stress response to fear is taking its toll on us, body, mind and spirit.

We can all recognize that regardless of economic or political persuasion the entire $130 billion news industry thrives on pumping fear into our society. They herald bad news to inspire fear and dread.

While we are hardwired to respond to fear, we are not created for Fear. You certainly are not redeemed through Christ to live for fear.  The promise of the resurrected Christ over fear and death is “Peace be with you.” (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, 21, 26, Rev 15:33)

The entire bible addresses the stress of fear. A word that appears more 340 times in scripture. The answer to fear is not fight or flight, but faith. Faith is trusting the LORD cares for us in the midst of the chaos and threat of this life.

When we let fear overrun our lives and our spiritual devotion, we are not living by Faith and trust in the LORD. When we let fear overrun our lives and spiritual devotion, we are listening to Satan and his lies.  Do you trust the Lord is with you? (Luke 1:28) 

Some version of “Be Not Afraid” occurs 110 times in the scripture. The encouragement to move past fear occurs in all critical stories of scripture. Over and over again people of faith are urged to keep up their courage; to be steadfast and courageous.  As the angels say to the shepherds, the Spirit says to you, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will cause great joy.” (Luke 2:10)

When we look at the story of the birth of the Messiah we hear over and over again the heavenly heralds urging Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary not to be afraid and to trust the LORD.  As Mary proclaims, God promises “to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Lk 1:74–75).

Join us throughout the season of Advent and Christmas to be encouraged and strengthened by the Word of God and the Presence of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit come upon you, and the power of the Most High overshadow you. (Luke 1:35).   Your Servant in the Gospel, Pastor Douglas

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