The angels, who appear throughout the Christmas story, repeatedly instruct people to “fear not!” Which only tells us that there was plenty of fear that first Christmas! While we may try to take the angels’ advice and bravely banish all fear from our hearts and minds this time of year, why does scripture also say that fear can be useful to us? In what way?

(We always fear those things that hold power over our lives, so the key is locating where the ultimate power lies. Scripture urges us in our helplessness not to be afraid of the external forces of the world but to fear the ultimate authority: God. Because He is good, our fear of Him results not in terror but trust (childlike fear vs. slave-like fear). We can be relieved and at peace that we’re not in charge of the outcomes, knowing that whether God chooses to change or permit our circumstances, it is in our best interest).

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