There’s a great app that enables Christ-followers to embrace God and his word called the YouVersion app. You really ought to have this on your phone, so you have the Bible with you at all times (because sadly, we all seemingly have our phones with us all the time!) YouVersion has been installed over 400 million times to-date, and they believe over 41 billion chapters of scripture was either read or listened to in 2019. That’s amazing!
They also have the capacity to determine which single verse was read most, highlighted most or shared most. For this past year, it was Philippians 4:6:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
What a reminder to us all that fear and anxiety are the most pressing realities we face in our daily lives. In today’s reading from Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us of the futility of allowing fear to dominate our lives. He doesn’t suggest we not embrace fear as an option for managing life – he actually commands us not to fear three times in seven verses! It is likely the most often violated truth from the Bible! It somehow seems to be an acceptable sin to embrace … certainly more palatable than lust, greed or rage. But what is the damage of allowing fear to dominate and influence our souls? It sabotages our ability to believe that God is sovereign, kind and worthy of our deepest trust. It causes us to doubt God’s goodness and wisdom. It subtly communicates that Jesus isn’t enough, and it’s up to us to navigate the journey.
Our Genesis reading is the account of Abraham and Sarah having a child together in their later years. They both laughed at the idea. That was a problem! Their anxiety over her barrenness robbed them of hope that God was still in control and could do amazing things. “To live without hope is to cease to live,” wrote Fyodor Dostoevsky. Emile Brunner said, “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” If we allow fear to erode our hope – we lose every time.
May we seek God always first in life and trust him most. That is the best remedy to manage the soul-shrinking power of fear in our journeys. Have you allowed fear to rob you of hope today? Why not have a conversation with the Father about it?
Lead Pastor, Foothills Alliance Church