This is the third post in the ““Fear Not” is a Command” series that I started last last month. In this post I’ll address what I believe to be the biggest hindrances for the believer in keeping this commandment. Those hindrances are doubt and fear. You can overcome and replace them with faith.
Doubt and fear usually go hand in hand. When we recognize doubt and fear, it’s a signal to ask ourselves if we are failing to trust God. Are we failing to truly love Him, are we failing to allow His love to be made perfect in our lives?
The Bible tells us that perfect love, the kind of love that God has for us and that we should have for Him, casts out fear.
1 John 4:17-18 (HCSB)17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world.18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.
Boldness is the opposite of fear. “Since love seeks the highest good of another, fear, which is shrinking from another, cannot be a part of love.” - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
With perfect love we don’t have to doubt or fear the past, present, or future. Perfect love causes us to have boldness. It is the love which God, who is love, has produced in us through the Holy Spirit. That boldness comes about because we know that we can approach God’s presence boldly, without any shame.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (HCSB)14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
When we approach the throne of God in prayer, there is mercy and strength to help us because He through Christ, our high priest, meets all our needs. This help is instantly available to every believer who can come, at any time, and "call upon the name of the Lord."
Because we’re bold, then we aren’t fearful because we trust and love God perfectly so we can say with confidence;
Romans 8:28 (HCSB)28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
We serve an incredible, amazing, and powerful God...a God who cares so much that He walks with us every second of the day. He does not sleep and He never takes a break. He never leaves us or forsakes us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB)6 Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Faith and Fear Cannot Exist Together
When we find ourselves giving in to doubt and fear, and our trust and love of God starts to get shaky we need to check our faith. I’m not talking about saving faith, but our daily living faith. Our saving faith is constant, but our daily living faith has it’s ups and downs according to our to the strength of our relationship with God. When we are not spending time with Him in prayer and His Word, when the first sign of trouble comes the first reaction is panic, doubt and fear. Fear and doubt are simply unbelief or weak belief and the longer it lingers the more fear and doubt take over our emotions.
The opposite of unbelief is faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
Faith is total belief that God is in control of all things concerning you even when there’s no tangible evidence. It’s something that we can’t produce ourselves, it’s a gift;
Ephesians 2:8-9 (HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift--9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
Faith is also a characteristic (fruit) produced in the life of believers by the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Bold mine).
Faith is confidence in God who loves us with a perfect love. He knows everything that we are going through and cares for all our needs. The more we know about His attributes and His amazing character from study of the Bible the more our faith grows, and the less frequent we have periods of fear and doubt. We replace them with faith.
How Do We Defeat Doubt with Our Faith?
You may think “I don’t want to be afraid or doubt but there are times I just can’t help it”.
Mark 9:23-24 (HCSB)23 Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can’? Everything is possible to the one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”
How do we believe God and live by faith?
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The answer is the Word of God. We need to study it and meditate on it like our lives depend on it, and they do.
Psalm 32:8 (HCSB)8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.
Psalm 119:9-11, 15 (HCSB)9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.10 I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands.11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways.
As you study and speak and meditate on the Word of God, remember the good things God has done and not your problems.
Start to doubt your doubts and fears.
Abraham is a perfect example for us to follow. The bible tells us that Abraham didn’t question the promise of God and because of it, his faith grew stronger. His faith was able to overcome any doubt he may have had.
Genesis 15:4-6 (HCSB)4 Now the word of the LORD came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.”5 He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that ⌊numerous⌋.
”6 Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
Romans 4:19-21 (HCSB)19 He considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith.20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21 because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Believe God’s promises and don't look at the circumstance. Let your faith build cancelling out all doubt. Praise God and be fully convinced that God will do what He said that He would do.
Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV) 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
1 John 5:4 (NKJV) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
I’ve been there
I’ve always been a risk taker, (often to the chagrin of my wife Ruth). Once I resigned from a very good position, in Orlando, to take another with a start up company in San Bernardino, CA. Thank God we hadn’t moved yet, I was commuting back and forth once a month, but six months later the exciting start up company was on the way out. Here I was in CA, going back to Orlando, without a job and no prospects for one. The first emotion was one of fear and then doubt, because here I was a 55 + senior executive on the street. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go? How are we going to be able to pay our bills. I got the shortness of breath the rapid heartbeat but then I remembered. I have always been a risk taker and not afraid to step out on faith. For most of my life I’ve been a senior executive of small companies many of them in the very years of their existence, very high risk. Every time God met all of our needs. I started speaking and meditating on the promises of God;
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
I replaced my doubt and fear with faith.
When I did a peace came over me that I can’ explain other than what the Apostle Paul said;
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I’m an example and a witness that when you replace doubt and fear with faith you win every time. Through faith you will experience that perfect love that casts off fear.
Isaiah 41:10 (HCSB)10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
You can conquer doubt with faith and win every time and when you win every time you become more than a conqueror.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.