1 Peter 3:14b Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.
Isaiah 8:12 Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
The Gentile world had issues and concerns — anxiety inducing incidents which could strike fear into the lives of the believers. The believers were living lives contrary to the world and this came as a word of encouragement. In the mist of difficulties and persecutions there was a call to hang on- to persevere. The scripture in 1 Peter is a reflection of the one found in Isaiah and it is again a call to live above the fear and dread that can be found in the world.
The focus for the believer is not to be intimidated by all that they may be experiencing in the world, but instead, to focus on holiness. When the journey of the believer is to find themselves on the highway of holiness, following after and reflecting Jesus Christ, then the intimidations of this world begin to vanish.
There are plenty of things happening in the world that can be intimidating to us. There is instability in the economy. Just watch the stock market on a daily basis and it’s enough to make you fear.
Then there are the news headlines, and they are awful. There is unrest in our world, both abroad and at home. It is troubling and unsettling, and it can cause fear and dread. We can feel intimidated by the loud voices clamoring around us, each wanting to get our attention and pull us in their direction. The political voices on all sides can be, at times, deafening, each one calling for a conspiracy and the result can be all consuming and dread inducing.
During the time of Isaiah there was a call to turn aside from the fears of the world. The children of Israel were suffering and there did not seem to be much hope. Fast forward to the time of the Messiah. The long awaited one had finally come and yet here they were, continuing to suffer for their faith. People were being martyred for their new-found faith in Jesus Christ.
And now, nearly 2000 years later the message rings out to us. Don’t be afraid and don’t be intimidated by what you see happening around you. Instead, keep Jesus before you, ever and always seeking his face. May he dwell in our hearts, sanctifying us by his holy presence within us. If there is anything to fear, it is not following him — losing sight of the Christchild during this holiday season.
The things of this world are nothing in light of following the holy footsteps of our Messiah. No need to feel intimidated!
Lord, may I seek your holy presence in all things today. Amen.