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Whom Do You Fear?

(The following is the March 20 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Luke 12 and pay close attention to verses 43-48.)

Whom do you fear? At some point in our lives, we all fear someone. Children may fear imaginary monsters hiding in dark spaces. As we grow, fears may be more rational but still troubling. Students may fear bullies. Anyone can fear strangers in certain circumstances. Personal history or biases contribute to anxiety around certain groups, such as employees fearing strict bosses or the oppressed fearing oppressors.

What about faith-related fears? Whom do you fear related to your faith in Christ? Jesus told his listeners whom to fear and whom not to fear. Even during the most extreme persecution where our earthly life could be in danger, Jesus said, “Don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more” (v. 4). On the one hand, it is encouraging to hear Christ tell us not to fear. Still, we are partial to our bodies. We don’t want anyone to hurt us, much less kill us. We have a healthy, God-given instinct for self-preservation. Shouldn’t we fear those who can kill us? Not at the expense of being faithful to Christ. Where we spend eternity is more important than living longer in this life if we must choose between the two.

Jesus reminds us there is only One deserving of our fear – God. “Fear him who has authority to throw people into hell after death” (v. 5). Only God deserves our ultimate awe, respect, and allegiance. From the perspective of all eternity, our time on this Earth is minuscule. Eternity never ends. We must make decisions consistent with where we expect to spend eternity as Christians. Why would we fear any human and deny our faith in exchange for a few more years on Earth if, by doing so, we are found faithless and forfeit eternal life?

As for those who can kill the body, the worst they can do is send us to our heavenly home earlier than we expected. Do not fear them. Fear God.

Next Step:

Consider whom you fear in this life besides God. Why do you fear them? Pray for God’s wisdom and strength to overcome the fears and act as he leads.

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