A New Day: Three Reasons You Don’t Need to Be Afraid, Part 3

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

Reason #3: Fear not, for I have redeemed you.

This is the ultimate reason that God’s people should not be gripped by fear. We have been redeemed. God demonstrates that He is with His people and for His people by acting to redeem His people.

In these verses, God reminds the people that He created and formed them.

  • For the people of Isaiah’s day, this would call to mind how God created Israel centuries earlier, how He redeemed them from the bondage of Egypt and entered into a covenant relationship with them. Even when they passed through the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan River, God was faithful to guide them through to redemption.
  • And on this side of the cross and the empty tomb, we hear these words as a fresh promise for today. For God created and formed us as a people when He redeemed us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are bound together in a new covenant that makes us brothers and sisters together. And the sign of this covenant — baptism — is God’s promise anew: when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. I can’t help but think of this as a baptism text from this side of the empty tomb.

God is saying, “If you have been redeemed, you really have no need to be afraid.” And when those fears arise, we simply turn them over to Him.

Practically speaking, what does that mean? Well, for one thing, it means choosing not to fixate on those fears and releasing my right to worry about them. We can’t talk about fear without talking about worry; the two go hand in hand.

There is an old Native American myth. A grandfather is talking to his grandson and he is sharing a particular struggle. “It is as if there are two wolves warring within me, my grandson,” he says. “One wolf represents my desire to do the wrong; the other wolf represents my desire to do the right.”

The young boy is confused. “Which one will win?” he asks his grandfather.

The grandfather replied, “Whichever wolf I feed — that is the wolf that will win.”

Worry works this way. Worry is when we fixate on our fears — when we “feed” our fears, to use the wolf analogy. But worry is a choice. Rather than turning those worries over and over in our minds, Jesus calls us to forsake the path of worry. In the Sermon on the Mount, he says, Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more? He goes on to say, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Jesus isn’t telling us to be naive, to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the concerns of life. Instead, Jesus is telling us to entrust our fears and worries to Him.

Worry is kind of like a treadmill. There’s a lot of movement, but you’re not really going anywhere. Of course, spending time on a treadmill can actually be good for you. But worry doesn’t improve a single facet of your life. Gary Bradley, a preaching mentor of mine, once said, “If worry would do us any good, the Lord would tell us to do it.” But God never says that. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Not only is worry harmful to my physical health, it also damages my spiritual health. It keeps me from faithfully entrusting my fears to the Lord. It oftentimes sets itself up in opposition to my faith.

Worry is the self-inflicted choice that keeps me from becoming a person of fearless trust. But according to the Bible, when we follow Jesus, we learn how to take captive every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.

Do you have some worried, fearful thoughts that need to be taken captive? Do you need to get off the treadmill? If you have been redeemed, then I hope you’ll heed this word from the Lord:

Reason #3: Fear not, for I have redeemed you.

This entry was posted in Anxiety, Devotional, Faith, God, Isaiah, No Fear, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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