posted on December 05, 2009 12:32
A Prayer About Not Being Afraid
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12
Most kind and caring Lord Jesus, like bookends of glory, I’m confronted with the command, “Do not be afraid,” at both your birth and your resurrection (Matt. 28:5). How telling and how timely. Ever since my first parents sinned, feared and hid, I’ve helped to keep the family tradition alive. At times, fear has more power over my life than your love; and though I already know myself to be clothed in your righteousness, I still reach into the closet for “fig leaves”.
So once again today, I join shepherds in hurrying off to come to you, Jesus, for you alone bring the good news of great joy for which my heart longs every day; you alone can charm my fears and set this prisoner more fully free.
Because the gospel is true, I can tell you what you already know to be true, Jesus. My fears aren’t all that noble. I’m not really afraid of angelic hosts. I’m not really afraid to die. You’ve already set me free from that defining fear. I’m not even afraid of facing the final judgment, for with sincere humility and great joy, I gladly affirm your cross was my judgment day. You’ve exhausted God’s judgment against all my sins—past, present and future. Hallelujah!
So what kinds of fears do I still deal with, Jesus? For what fears do I need to obey the command, “Do not be afraid”? That ole’ snare called “the fear of man.” Jesus, there are some people whose praise and whose disdain have more functional power over my heart than the gospel. How can I possibly love someone well that I fear in that way?
Then there’s the fear of redundancy—the fear of disappearing into a cloud of not mattering any more. Jesus, even as I acknowledge this fear, how I praise you for your non-condemning grace and gaze. May the joy of being used by you never supersede the much greater joy of simply being known and loved by you.
I think that’s enough confession for one day, Jesus, though I have other fears for gospel-charming. I’m convicted, but I’m also so deeply encouraged, for I have found you not only as a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger. I’ve also found you to be a Savior, outside an empty tomb, now at the Father’s right hand, ever living to advocate and pray for me. Thank you… thank you… thank you. So very Amen, I pray, in your glorious name.
Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship
Christ Community Church
1215 Hillsboro Rd.
Franklin, TN 37069
It's good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace Hebrews 13:9