“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
I wonder if anyone, like me, has been trying to overcome fear by sheer strength of will? Faith over Fear right? If I just build my faith enough then I can starve my fear. Anyone with me? And yet, one day after reading this singular passage, I suddenly became aware- it’s not by my might but by His Spirit. Why was I striving so hard? Didn’t I know who I was and what has been offered to me? Didn’t I know the heart of my Father? Perhaps I was finally getting somewhere…
Looking at this scripture, for me it breaks down into four parts:
- The Guidance – Fear Not
- The Address – Little Flock
- The Who – your Father
- The Intent – to give the Kingdom
This scripture is recorded as a direct teaching of Jesus and is embedded in a passage where Jesus is explaining the principle of not being anxious for our Father in heaven looks after us. I usually take the directive “Fear Not” as a command. I have always read those words as “chin up big girl”, or “suck it up buttercup”, or “get with the program already”. But that is not the tone of this passage. In the address, we find the heart of a Father explained who is come not to command His flock but to guide and comfort them.
The address “little flock” gives me further pause. Those are not the words of a commander demanding his troops tighten up their boot straps. It is the compassionate heart of the Comforter reaching out to allay and quiet the fears of His flock. This is further supported as the passage refers to the who as “Father”. Not Lord, not Savior, not Deliver, not Master, not Friend. He is all those things- sure! But here in this instance when confronting fear, He is simply Abba…our Father.
I understand, that depending on our experiences and family histories, “Father” does not always follow with a positive connotation. As if in answer to this complexity, Jesus expounds that this Father’s heart toward us is one that embodies “good pleasure” and one with intent “to give”. His is not a heart to withhold nor to demand. His is a heart that takes delight in giving. What a thought, God is not sitting closed fisted waiting for us to ask with the right words, or ask the right amount of times, or come when we are more believing. He is a Father who sits with an open hand beckoning us to come and ask… even in our fear. He is a Father who will help our unbelief- we need only ask. The Greek word used in this passage as pleasure (eudokeo’) can also be used to imply “am resolve”. Think about that. Our Father not only takes pleasure and delight in giving to us but He is resolved to do so. He is a Father who will withhold no good thing. It appears what our Father is awaiting is a heart that will simply receive. And what He is extending to us is the kingdom!
In this passage, the word kingdom is the Greek word basileia. It means sovereignty and/or royal power. It is used to imply kingship and God’s authority both in the world and in the hearts of men. More specifically, it can refer to the rule of Christ in believers’ hearts. What our Father is extending to us is authority that comes as Christ rules our hearts. That means as Christ takes His rightful place within us, the darkness of fear cannot take ground. Christ is the Word made flesh. He is the light of men. And He shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. (John 1:5). Our Father is extending to us victory! We have authority over fear. Not because of who we are but because of who Christ is!
As we come into 2020, I feel that God is shifting my perspective on fear. It’s as if in this single passage, I saw the heart of God revealed…His heart towards me…His heart towards us. We are His little ones. He knows we are afraid at times. But here’s the catch, we do not have to fear- not because of our resolve, but because of His. The authority is extended to us. So, take heart! We have dominion and we have authority from the throne itself! What hope we have in this truth! May our hearts be grounded in this hope. I challenge you, I challenge myself, to be a captive to fear no longer. Instead may we be held help captive by hope! May we “Return to [our] stronghold, O prisoners of hope..”, for we have been given the Kingdom! (Zech 9:12)
Writen by Vanessa Rothstein who is a guest author for our greater RNW Collective.
- What fear or worry is holding you captive? I challenge you to renounce that fear and invite Christ to take His rightful place on throne of your heart.
- Find your hope! This is a hard one for me (and perhaps some of you) but let’s shift our perspective. Instead of expecting bad, what good can we expect from our Father this year? Let’s be held captive by this hope knowing that our Father takes delight in giving us good.
- Our world becomes darker by the minute, but we have the light of Christ and are called to be the light of the world. And this light, the darkness will never extinguish. How can you encourage those around you as we advance into 2020? As we become free, let’s help free those around us. Hope begets hope.