“Do not be afraid.” Would you believe that this is the most frequent command in the Bible? More than three hundred times God commands his people to not be afraid.
There are two ways to hear these commands. One is, “Stop it right now! Don’t be afraid!” In this case fear and worry would be just plain wrong. It would violate God’s direct command. When afraid or anxious you would confess to the Lord that it is sin—and then confess it again and again.
But there is another way to hear this command.
Have you ever heard a parent say to a child, “Be careful”? Technically, it is a command, yet no child would take it that way. The parent is not saying, “Be careful or you will be in trouble,” but, “I love you and my desire is that you be safe.”
Here is what Jesus says to you: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
This is not an edict from the King. The term “little flock” gives you a window into God’s heart. This is both a plea and an encouraging word from the Father, who knows and loves you. It is exactly what you need because when you are afraid you desperately need someone bigger than yourself in whom you can trust.
-Ed Welch, in his workbook When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety.