Do the news headlines make you afraid to leave your home, to travel, to go to places where there are large crowds, to go around certain people, to trust technology, to trust your friends, or your family? With the constant barrage of bad news; terrorist attacks, gang violence, crime, the economy, and stealing of personal information. Add to that the fear of failure. With all these things happening in rapid succession many people are fearful and saying that the end is near.
Until that day does comes we must choose whether we are going to live in fear or to walk in faith. There is a thin line between fear and faith and Christians often flip flop between them.
- Noun - An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat:
- Verb - Be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening:
I’ve heard Christians use this phrase making FEAR and acronym. F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real, meaning there's no true threat of immediate physical danger, no threat of a loss of someone or something dear to us, actually nothing there at all. F.E.A.R. is an illusion. Something we fabricate in our own minds and pretend is real. I’m not sure that’s true because there are some things to truly be afraid of. We should fear an oncoming car traveling at a high rate of speed. That’s not false it’s real and there is ample evidence that if you are hit by that car there will be significant damage to you and/or your vehicle. For me there was a fear of eternal separation from God and in that case fear was a good thing. One of them is eternal separation from God. - From The Choice Driven Life, Choose Faith Over Fear
- Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
- Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Fear and faith are both expectations; faith expects the best and fear expects the worst.
Faith and fear are magnets; faith is a magnet that draws provision and fear is a magnet that draws lack.
- The fear of failure prevents us from ever trying new things or stretching ourselves to do more than we feel comfortable doing.
- The fear of the future can cause us not to enjoy today.
- Fear always tells you what you’re not, what you don’t have, what you can’t do, and what you never will be. Jesus overcame that fear; He left it no power and no strength.
- Fear paralyzes us it keeps us from moving forward. When we choose fear over faith, it makes us skeptical — we’re afraid of trying anything new when we’re afraid. It makes us selfish — we’re afraid to commit to God and to others. It makes us short sighted — we focus on the past and not on the future.
Dr.Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology (the study of the relationship between behavior, emotion, and cognition on the one hand, and brain function on the other), says that fear triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses, and activates more than 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters” and that fear is at the root of all stress.
Fear is the tactic of Satan is is not from God. The Bible tells us to fear God, but that fear doesn’t paralyze us. Here's the way thatR. C. Sproul describes the fear of God;
It refers to the fear that a child has for his father. In this regard, Luther is thinking of a child who has tremendous respect and love for his father or mother and who dearly wants to please them. He has a fear or an anxiety of offending the one he loves, not because he’s afraid of torture or even of punishment, but rather because he’s afraid of displeasing the one who is, in that child’s world, the source of security and love.reverence for Him.
Fear and faith cannot coexist; where you have one, you cannot have the other. You can go either way, faith or fear. You can choose either to trust God or not trust Him. You can’t do both. You can obey or not. I wrote a series of posts (“Fear Not” Is A Command), last year, in which I said that God commands us to not fear anyone, or anything but Him. You must make a choice!
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Nevertheless (that’s the favorite bible word of a young preacher who I know), there are a lot of Bible reading, and they say believing, Christians who choose to live in fear. When they see others with problems they start to wonder if it could happen to them and fear comes. They think there is a layoff coming; am I going to lose my job? What am I going to do if that happens? Should I go on vacation with all the terrorist attacks? There's going to be a big crowd at the fireworks display July 4th with everything that's going on should I just stay home? There are drive by shootings happening everyday should I just stay home and not go the the store tonight? his kind of thinking places what's going on around you above your relationship to God. If Satan can get you to think like this, he has won the battle for your mind, you're paralyzed. But when you focus on God rather than on what's going on, you win.
The Bible tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline"
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The Bible tells us to be wise but wisdom is not fear. Wisdom is grounded in faith.
Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Proverbs 2:6 (NKJV)6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
You can’t avoid making the choice between faith and fear. You are either walking in faith of fear. You can’t do faith and fear at the same time. As I said before faith in the face of fear stretches us to grow up spiritually.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
6 Steps In Choosing Faith Over Fear
1. Know the Word
Psalm 119:66 (NKJV)66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments.
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know how much I emphasize the importance of reading studying and knowing God’s word. It is our foundation in choosing faith over fear. It’s not enough to attend church on Sunday, attending Bible Study, or attending Prayer Meeting. To really understand that promises of God to never leave or forsake you and to protect you takes study the kind of study that causes His Word to soak into your spirit.
2. Obey the Word
James 2:22 (NKJV)22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
The more often we walk by faith and not sight in obedience to God’s Word the more our faith grows because we see that He always keeps His promises.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV)9 Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
3. Speak the Word
Deuteronomy 30:14 (NKJV)14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
There’s something about speaking God’s Word aloud. It’s not so God can hear it. Yes, it’s so your enemy Satan can hear it. Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness spoke God’s Word and Satan left Him.
Matthew 4:10-11 (NKJV)10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
When you speak God's Word you hear it too.. There's just something about repeating God’s Word that pushes you when you feel like giving in to fear and anxiety.
4. Pray the Word
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Some of the best prayers come straight from the Bible and are wonderful examples of how to move from fear to faith.
.Exodus 33:13 (NKJV)13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people."
Psalm 3:1-8 (NKJV)1 LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.2 Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." Selah3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.4 I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.7 Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
Jonah 2:2-9 (NKJV)2 And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.4 Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.'5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.8 "Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."
There are many more find them, memorize them, pray them when you feel fear creeping in.
5. Live the Word
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
James 1:22 (NKJV)22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
If you know, obey, speak and pray the Word of God, you will live out your life in faith and not fear.
Psalm 91:1-16 (NKJV) 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.14 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."
This Psalm says don't be afraid.
"It is the character of a true believer that he dwells in the secret place of the Most High; he is at home in God, returns to God, and reposes in him as his rest; he acquaints himself with inward religion, and makes heart-work of the service of God, worships within the veil, and loves to be alone with God, to converse with him in solitude.
It is the privilege and comfort of those that do so that they abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he shelters them, and comes between them and every thing that would annoy them, whether storm or sunshine. They shall not only have an admittance, but a residence, under God’s protection; he will be their rest and refuge for ever.
That all those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under his protection, and may therefore preserve a holy serenity and security of mind at all times." - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)
If we trust in God then he will protect us from the evils of this world. The picture that this Psalm presents is that God is always with us. We can go to Him at any time, anywhere, and for any reason. It also says if you love and trust Him He will deliver you, exalt you, and give you the victory of salvation.
Fear brings worry, stress, anxiety and torment, but the love of God, His perfect love drives it away.
1 John 4:16-18 (NKJV)16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
As you know, obey, speak and pray the Word of God His love will become even more evident. Your faith is built on the foundation of God’s love for you.
Accepting God’s love and having His Word abide in is choosing faith over fear.
You only have one life to live, choose to live it boldly and never let fear steal God’s best for you!