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FIRST-PERSON: Don’t be afraid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Our message is be afraid, be very afraid,” a Bush administration spokesman was quoted as saying recently after reviewing terrorist threats against the United States. The FBI has warned of the possibility of “spectacular attacks” in the United States with the goals of thousands of casualties and major disruption of our economy.

We must take these warnings very seriously. In the post 9/11 world, our security is a constant concern. We can be grateful for a government that is vigilant and concerned for our welfare.

But as I reflected on the warning to be very afraid, I was reminded that my greatest priority is my relationship with Christ, who went to the cross to guarantee my eternal security. As believers, we know a security that can never be threatened by al-Qaida, Sadaam Hussein or any other terrorist in this world. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned about the state of our world, but our concern should drive us to share our faith with those who need to know our Savior.

At Christ’s birth, as the skies lit up with heavenly hosts, the angels calmed the shepherds by telling them not to be afraid, that the news they brought was good news for all people. When Jesus fell asleep in the boat and a storm came up on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples feared they would drown and woke Jesus. He questioned their faith and asked them why they were afraid. On another occasion when the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee, they saw Jesus walking toward them and thought they were seeing a ghost. He identified himself and told them not to be afraid. Then when Peter sought to walk to Jesus, became afraid and began to sink, Jesus reached out to him and asked why he doubted. As Jesus spoke to the multitudes one day, he told them God knew them so intimately that the hairs on their heads were numbered. He told them not to be afraid. When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house after the death of his daughter, Jesus urged him not to be afraid. After Jesus had told the disciples, he would send them the Holy Spirit, he made it clear that the peace he gives is different from that of the world. And he told them not to be afraid.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, thank God for your families and for the privilege of living in a free country. Thank him also for the gift of salvation that enables us to know that, whatever the circumstances here on earth, we are eternally secure and will live with him forever in heaven. Then ask him for opportunities to tell others; pray by name for those who need Christ. Go and tell. And don’t be afraid.
Draper is president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • James T. Draper Jr.