I lived in Denton for about 10 years. I got my Bachelors and Masters degree at the University of North Texas. Through that time I attended Denton Bible Church. I grew a lot in my faith through this church. The church has been an amazing resource for me in my walk with God. Denton Bible has an evening Christmas Eve service every year. Last month the church received a bomb threat to cancel their Christmas Eve service. They had to decide whether to continue with the service as planned.
Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous likely to cause pain or a threat. Most people want to live on this Earth for as long possible. When our safety is jeopardized, then we tend to panic and change the way we live. Sometimes we need to be smart and take precautionary steps towards a safer life. We are always at risk for harm whether we know it or not. The world is not a safe place because anything is possible.
We learned that this world was not safe early in history. Adam and Eve’s first kids were named Cain and Abel. Genesis 4-6-8 illustrates the evil of humanity.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
Cain was angry and bitter towards his brother. Abel’s sacrifice was considered righteous and looked highly upon by God. Cain killed his own brother due to jealousy and anger. This passage illustrates the point of how no situation is really safe. Cain killed a member of his own family. Humanity is capable of doing harm to one another without any regard to morality or conduct.
Fear can cause us to act differently. There are people who may ridicule and hate us because of our faith. Sometimes they may use threats, so that we will hide our faith. Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He was considered one of the most zealous disciples towards Jesus. When Jesus was betrayed, then Peter would follow Christ at a distance. Once he was accused of being a follower of Christ, then Peter chose to fear man.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed. John 18:25-27
This is that infamous moment where Peter denied his association with Jesus three times. There are a couple reasons that Peter denied Christ. Fear happens to be one of those reasons. Jesus had a death sentence at that moment. Peter was scared for Jesus’ life, but he was also concerned about his own life and safety. Peter denied Christ due to fear. Sometimes we do give in to fear because we naturally do not want to be harmed or alienated. Our instincts will fight for survival.
Nobody is entitled to a pain free and safe life. There are always going to be reasons that we should be fearful. This world is dangerous but we do not need to live in fear. Ultimately God is in control and He cares deeply for us. “The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6. David is secure in his relationship with God that he has no reason to fear man. When we make the decision to accept Christ as our savior in our life (John 3:16). It does not necessarily mean that we are guaranteed a completely safe life in this world. When we trust and follow God, then we can be assured that we will live with Him forever. Nothing in this world can ever take that away from us.
Denton Bible Church had to make a decision on whether to hold their Christmas Eve service last month. They did consider canceling the service because you do not want to put anybody’s life in jeopardy. Also they did not want to fear man and let threats dictate when they worship God. Denton Bible Church decided to have a service on Christmas Eve. I am proud of Denton Bible for not caving and allowing threats to dictate when they worship our God. One of my friends posted this about the service. “All is well in Denton. Thank you for all your prayers! In 10 years, this is the most blessed and proud I have been to call Denton Bible my home church.” Despite a person’s threats, God created an amazing and unforgettable atmosphere for His people on Christmas Eve that night.
I am always inspired when people choose to follow the Lord and not allow fear to control their lives. The truth is that no matter where we live, nowhere is completely safe. Our safety is always at risk because the world is fallen and people are sinful. When we watch the news these days, we witness how there is violence everywhere in schools, movie theaters, restaurants, and more. It seems the only way to be completely safe is to isolate yourself from society. Then we are allowing fear to dictate how we live.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
God calls us to be brave in a scary world. It is important for us to know that God is with us always. When we believe and trust in God, then we do not have to be fearful. We can live our lives to glorify and worship Him.