When was the last time you flinched?
You know, when your reflexes make you slam your eyelids shut and duck? When I’m riding my motorcycle and a dump truck kicks up a stone at 70 mph, I’m thankful that my reflexes have saved my face a few times.
Here’s the funny thing. When I’m in my car, fully equipped with a sturdy windshield, and a dump truck kicks up a stone at 70 mph I still blink and duck. Why? Because my reflexes are taking over.
But if I keep my eyes closed and head buried under the steering wheel, what’s going to happen then?
Fear works like a reflex
God gave you fear as a gift to get your attention, and to instinctively protect you when your mind, body or emotions aren’t quick enough to process danger.
Have you ever flinched in a quick burst of panic when someone from your family walked into the room but you didn’t notice them, and they started talking? That’s the reflex of fear. It doesn’t make you weak or sinful. It makes you human.
But if you remain upset at that family member, ranting and raving how rude they were to walk in a room and start talking, that’s a problem. That’s no longer fear serving you, but fear is mastering you.
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19,20).
Instead of leading their fears with the truth, the disciples followed their fears and hid behind locked doors like a cat scampers under a bed when a stranger comes in the house. Their fear is no longer a reflex serving their safety, but a master. Even a monster.
Jesus has something to say about monsters or masters
Jesus is Lord over them. They don’t have any claim on his disciples or you.
The risen, living and victorious Jesus miraculously appears to his scaredy-cat followers. He’s not overpowered after all. He’s not dead. He’s not limping or recovering. He is standing, fully alive, fully glorious, and fully functional in his state of exaltation.
Listen to Jesus’ words instead of listening to your fears. “Peace be with you.” Peace doesn’t panic or become paralyzed, hiding under the bed. Peace believes that Jesus isn’t afraid of your fears. Peace processes circumstances with faith instead of processing faith with circumstances. Peace steps courageously into problems instead of expecting them to all go away.
Look at Jesus’ wounds. Jesus “showed them his hands and side.” Why? They are the proof that your sins are all paid for. Because Jesus died and paid the price of justice for your sins, you are forgiven. You are free to leave your fears cursing or controlling you. Leave them behind and follow Jesus who has what is better.
Be like the disciples after they looked at Jesus. They “were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
Dear Jesus, your wounds prove that your words are always true. Your scars of death show the world that you conquered sin’s curse and control once and for all. Help me lead my fears instead of listening to them, and lead others to put their faith in you. Amen.
Use the PRAY acronym today.
- Praise (express your awe for Jesus and his victory over your fears)
- Repent (tell Jesus that you have allowed fear to control you, in forgiveness look at his wounds and listen to his words)
- Ask (identify a fear that is trying to steal your joy and peace, and ask Jesus to save you from it)
- Yield (believe that Jesus is a better replacement for whatever you fear, and is your risen friend and loving Lord)