This isn’t my first attempt at doing a blog, but if this is posted, then it is my most earnest. I have set up a spot on the homepage of our church website (colchesterumc.com) called, “Jim Class”, which will be the new home and title for my blog.

I came up with this idea while reminiscing about a time in school, probably 8th or 9th grade, when I made a smart aleck comment to my gym teacher.

I didn’t dress for gym class one day and the teacher asked, “Clayton, where are your gym clothes?” I responded, “All my clothes are ‘Jim’ clothes.” Not surprisingly, I did some laps in my ‘Jim’ clothes, which included ‘hard shoes’. Thinking about this moment is what led me to the idea of calling my blog, “Jim Class”.

Fear seems to be dominating people’s thoughts over these last several months. With the Corona Virus, political and civil unrest, and an uncertain future, fear is an easy step for all of us at times.

Let’s look at what the Bible says on the subject.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (NKJV)

Psalms 34:1

Fear. What is fear? How often do we give in to fear?

The English word fear appears 501 times in the KJV of the Bible, and afraid shows up 189 times. So that’s a total of 690.  690 times, in the Bible, we are admonished concerning the subject of fear.

170 times it appears before the word, not, as in, “fear not.” 37 times we are told, “do not fear,” and 63 times we are told to be not afraid. 

That means 270 times, using the word fear or afraid, we are told not to do it. We are also told not to be anxious, or to be careful for nothing, or not to worry several times.

That means we are told in some way, specifically, not to fear, nearly 300 times in the Bible. When you add the synonyms for fear like, anxious, worry, and fret, or the phrase “take no thought,” the total is 365.

If God tells us not to do something and we do it, what are we doing? Sinning.

It is not my intention to bring condemnation on you, but I do want you to be convicted by what you glean from God’s Word.

“Fear is the enemy of logic. There is no more debilitating, crushing, self-defeating, sickening thing in the world–to an individual or to a nation.”

Frank Sinatra

Do you know the first time it shows up in the Bible?

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (NKJV)

Genesis 3:9-11

If the problem has been around that long it seems there should be an answer. How do we deal with fear?

Let’s look our text from the Message Bible.

 God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. (MSG)

He gives us the answer before He states the problem!

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:1-3

The following is a good place to start.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? 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 1:8-9

The solution comes from God but putting it into practice lies with YOU! You are mentioned specifically nine times in two verses and you is understood three other times in verse nine (You be strong…, You do not be afraid…, and You don’t be dismayed…)

In Christ,

Jim

Jim Clayton is currently the pastor at Colchester and Hills Grove United Methodist Church in McDonough County, Illinois. He has over 20 years of ministry experience and is an avid student of the Bible. He also has 20 years of experience in the criminal justice field having worked law enforcement, juvenile corrections, private and retail security, and as a court liaison for Family Service Association of the Wabash Valley.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and attended a two-year Biblical studies program at Rhema Bible College and is currently enrolled in Asbury Theological Seminary’s MDiv program.