The third fear we want to discuss is the fear of commitment as portrayed in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary could not have foreseen what it would cost to obey what the angel of God had told her. Nevertheless, she courageously accepted the assignment.
The Lord was asking Mary to become the scandal of society.
All through Galilee the rumour would go out…“Hey, did you hear? Mary’s pregnant and Joseph’s not the father.” The actual disgrace Mary and her family must have endured is reflected in the incident in John, when Jesus was teaching and the Pharisees stooped so low as to throw the rumour in His face:“At least you weren’t born without a father.” The angel Gabriel had said to Mary: “the Lord is with thee Mary.” That’s good to know, but it does not eliminate the pain. The commitment that Mary made was in full knowledge of the pain it would include.
There is a cost to commitment.Luke 2 vs 35,To Mary, He said, “… a sword will pierce even your own soul.”
Child of God, the simple fact is that if you are really going to walk with the Lord, you must be willing to take the bitter with the sweet, the bad with the good, the rain with the sunshine. Following Jesus requires us to embrace it all.
Unfortunately this concept has been virtually lost in charismatic circles. The Lord going with you does not eliminate the pain, but His presence provides the joy and strength needed to endure it. Mary dealt with all the fears associated with the cost of commitment. (The most dreaded word among Christians is the word commitment).
l The fear of insignificance (I am small / a nobody)
The last type of fear we will look at is as equally important as others. It has to do with the shepherds who came to the stable to see Jesus. Luke 2 vs 8: “And in the same region, there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.” This we can identify as the fear of insignificance. Most people I meet are not really egomaniacs, most of them have the opposite problem. They feel insignificant, unworthy, and unable to recognise their value in the sight of the Lord. Self-deprecation is a disease. In Christ, we are significant (we are somebody). In Christ, God does not deal with groups, but with individuals. Each person is important to God. Now God’s response to “insignificant” people is rather unusual. It seems that throughout the scriptures, the Lord takes special efforts to reveal Himself to people who seemed least important to society.
a. The woman who had five husbands.
b. Mary Magdelene, privileged to be the first one to see Him out of the tomb.
The revelation of Jesus was continually given to people of little significance according to world standards. Now we come to the shepherds. The angel came to this little band of men back in the remote pastures and said: “I want to bring you good tidings of great joy.”[Who? Us?]
Later, when the shepherds came to the cave to see the baby Jesus, Joseph said: “what do you want?” They replied: “an angel has appeared to us, Sir, please don’t turn us away, let us see the child, Christ.”[We are not important people, but the Lord has spoken to us. Oh, Sir, don’t turn us away.]
God came to this old man, Simeon, a man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel. Simeon was a nobody, but God took pains to arrange for him to have a special divine experience. Simeon was at home on his couch, and the holy Spirit said: “Get up and go into the temple. I have got a surprise for you… someone I want you to see. And as he came to the temple, there was Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus. When He saw Him his response was:
“Now I am ready to go.
I have seen Him.
I have held Him.
I am ready for glory.”
Who was Simeon to hold Christ? He was a nobody, [insignificant]. I love less important people… most of them are close to God.
Then there is one other insignificant person, an aged widow named Anna. She spent all her time fasting and praying in the temple, a woman who served God with all her heart. Anna is described as, “… a widow to the age of eighty-four.”
Anna just happened to drop in. If God wants to bless you, at times it seems to be by accident.
Just a phone call.
Meeting someone whom you last met years ago.
The providence of God works in a narrow, dangerous margin.The slightest event can become the source of God’s acknowledgement.
So when the Lord saw Anna just happen to walk in, at the moment He must have said: “I think I will bless my servant Anna.”
You are not insignificant to the Lord. He knows you. Don’t yield to the accusation which says that you are insignificant to God. With the coming of Jesus, there is a release of hope to resolve those fears. He sent His Holy Spirit to be a comfort and guide.
When the fears of our lives are met by Jesus, He conquers and replaces them with a hope which enables us to serve Him without fear.