Devotional: August 13, 2021
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1: 7 English Standard Version
Today is Friday the Thirteenth! Many people are suspicious of such days, fearing that something bad will happen. Yet the Apostle Paul reminds his protégé Timothy that fear should not be the defining mark of believers.
Paul did encounter superstitions. There is a strange incident in Acts 28: 3-6 where Paul is putting some sticks on a fire, when a viper comes out because of the heat and fastens on his hand. When the local people saw what had happened, they thought this was a sign he was a murderer, and predicted he would die. Paul simply shook off the creature and suffered no harm.
God has the ability to transform fear into love, and sometimes we get to participate in the process. Presbyterian Fred Rogers began the beloved children’s television show, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” In the Kingdom of Make Believe, there lived King Friday the 13th. Here is what Fred Rogers had to say about this puppet character:
"His name was King Friday XIII. We thought that was fun because so many people are so superstitious about Friday the 13th that we thought, let’s start children out thinking that Friday the 13th was a fun day. And every Friday the 13th would be his birthday. So we would celebrate his birthday every time a Friday the 13th came. And that was so wonderful about [broadcasting a live TV show]—when a Friday the 13th came, you knew it."
May God give each one of us a spirit of joy and love, so that we do not give in to the fears of this world!
God of love,
Our world is full of people with all sorts of ideas and suspicions. Thank you for the clarity You bring to my life, through Your word. Help me to never fear unnecessary things. Let me instead place my trust and faith in You. I know that love is the most powerful force in all the world. Let me be a force for love, especially this day. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.