“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.’” (Luke 2:10 NLT)
Knowing God is for you will change your whole perspective on life. You’ll stop thinking of God as someone looking down from Heaven, ready to yell “Gotcha!” any time you mess up.
God is for your success in life; he created you for a purpose and he wants you to succeed. It is God, your Creator, who will measure your success in life, and no one else.
This is extremely good news!
It means you don’t need to be afraid of God because God is for you. Yet, some people are so afraid of God they get nervous just talking about him. Do you know why? They feel guilty, and then they start thinking, “If I get close to God, he’s going to lecture me. He’s going to remind me of all the things I’ve done wrong, and then I’ll feel even worse!”
Nothing could be further from the truth of God. Jesus said, “I did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” In effect, Jesus is saying, “I didn’t come to scold you, I came to save you.”
And if God is for us, who can be against us?
Jesus came to save us, not to scare us. That’s why when the angel was telling the shepherds about the birth of Jesus, the first thing he said is, “Don’t be afraid!”
In fact, when God sends a message to people in the Bible, it’s not unusual for the first words to be: “Don’t be afraid.” There are 365 messages from God in the Bible that begin with a phrase like, “Fear not!” In other words, every single day of the year you can read a message from God that says, in effect, “You don’t need to be afraid. I am for you; I am with you; I love you.”
We celebrate Christmas because of this good news from God!
How would your life change if you deeply believed God is for you? Ask God to help you in your unbelief.
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by love.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2011 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.