At the beginning of the multiple-Oscar-winning movie Gladiator, the Roman general Maximus is readying his cavalry to ride against a Germanic horde in a forest in Europe. He shouts to them, “Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!”
Elysium was a version of heaven that arose among the Greek poets and philosophers and remained popular in Roman times—a place where the righteous and heroic, and those chosen by the gods, would spend a blessed afterlife. If anyone would qualify for entrance into Elysium, Maximus’ brave cavalry would—so they had no fear in the face of possible death. As mythical as Elysium was, its promise was enough to take the fear and sting out of death. When you can laugh at death, nothing else in life deserves to be feared. Hebrews 2:15 tells us that one thing is powerful enough to hold people in bondage all their lives—the fear of death. But the apostle Paul spent an entire chapter of 1 Corinthians explaining how Christ, by His resurrection, defeated death: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) If Roman soldiers had no fear of death by hoping in a make-believe place called Elysium, how much more should we Christians not fear death based on the documented reality of the resurrection of Jesus? And if we don’t fear death, why should we fear anything else?
From Fear Knots to Fear Nots
Here are ten “fear nots” that give us every reason to untie the “fear knots” in our lives.
1. “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Fear not when it looks like a calling from God is not going to be fulfilled. God can make a way.
2. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord’” (Exodus 14:13). Fear not when you are stuck between a rock and a horrible hard place. God can part the sea and lead you through.
3. “When you go out to battle . . . do not be afraid of [your enemies]” (Deuteronomy 20:1). Fear not when you are outnumbered by your enemies. You and God are a majority.
4. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Fear not when God gives you an assignment beyond your experience. He is with you.
5. “And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him’” (2 Kings 1:15). Fear not when you don’t know what to do. God will guide you.
6. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard’” (2 Kings 19:6). Fear not when you hear gossip or words contrary to God’s Word. God’s Word alone is true.
7. “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria” (2 Chronicles 32:7). Fear not when you face those in power or authority. God rules over the kings of the earth.
8. “Fear not, for I am with you . . . I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you” (Isaiah 41:10). Fear not when you are weak. God will strengthen you.
9. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife” (Matthew 1:20). Fear not when following God’s will could result in embarrassment or criticism. God’s wisdom is foolish in man’s eyes—and vice versa.
10. “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy’” (Luke 2:10). Fear not when God blesses you unexpectedly. Receive God’s blessings with innocence and gratitude.
In those biblical examples God addressed future plans, lack of direction, opposition and enemies, insufficient qualifications, need for guidance, contradictory advice, ungodly rulers, weakness and confusion, hesitancy in obeying God, and blessings.
Do any of those sound familiar to you? Those, and many more, are situations in which God says, “Fear not!” Because Christ has conquered death, our last great enemy, there is nothing for us to fear in this life. Read, study, memorize, and claim God’s “fear nots”—and live the fearless life you were created to enjoy.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and serves as
Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
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