“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
One lie which on first glance or even some consideration doesn’t appear harmful is the popular saying that “Do not be afraid is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live everyday fearless.” The phrase “Do not be afraid”, versions of it, and even verses with that sentiment are not found 365 times. While it is true that it is said many times in scripture and therefore we should heed it, it is a lie that it occurs that many times. My own search brought up just about 100 times. That in itself is incredibly encouraging. So how can this myth be harmful?
It is a lie. People have added an interpretation that is not included in any way in the Bible. God never tells us to live fearlessly. In verses such as Deuteronomy 31:6 and Joshua 1:9 and many others which say “do not be afraid,” the phrase or sentiment “be courageous” is included. Be courageous does not mean to live without fear, it means to act in the face of fear. It makes the meaning of “do not be afraid”, do not respond with fear, respond with faith, and maintain hope in God and His Word.
Know that God is with you even while you tremble you can and should trust and depend on Him. The lie is propagated because people want easy answers. Even many Christians spread this seemingly harmless untruth rather than testing it themselves. It is harmful. It encourages people, but it encourages them to depend on their own strength. It leads them away from Christ, away from The Spirit and toward the flesh.
If you want to encourage a hurting friend or reassure someone who is suffering, choose to do so with the Truth not a greeting card saying. Quote scripture, pray, prophesy in The Spirit, cry with them, or simply sit in silence with them.