***FAITH OVER FEAR***
If someone asked you to guess the most repeated command in the Bible, what would you say?
Love people? That certainly would seem like a solid choice. Maybe obey God? Seems like a safe call. Though they are both vitally important topics addressed in Scripture, they are not in any way the most repeated command in the Bible.
God`s most frequently repeated instruction is formulated in two simple words: “fear not.”
Interestingly, the command to “fear not” is repeated in the Bible exactly 365 times – once for every day of the year! A daily reminder from God to not be afraid. So there is obviously something prtty significant about fear! Below is an acrostic with the word “fear”:
F – False
E – Evidence
A – Appearing
R – Real
Yes, “fear” is nothing more than “false evidence appearing real.” Brought about by the lies of the enemy! This is part of the spiritual warfare of the Christian walk, and must be overcome! I do not believe there is such thing as progressing toward great faith without first passing through the cold waters of fear. However, once we recognize and identify the origins of any unhealthy and spiritually toxic fears that hold us back from growing spiritually, we must crucify them, by laying them at the foot of the Cross.
Consider these examples of some ways fear sets limits on our faith and our ability to grow spiritually:
– If you are too afraid that you`ve sinned too greatly, you are limiting your ability to receive God`s Grace and experience deeper levels of trust and intimacy in your relationship with God.
– If you are afraid of giving up control, you are limited in how much Jesus can lead you into the mission of God that you have been created to participate in.
– If you are afraid your life has little purpose or meaning, you will be limited in how much you can put your trust in Jesus to lead the life that you were desinged for.
– If you are afraid of giving up something that is toxic in your life but that you have come to depend on, you cannot experience the true freedom from the bondage of the thing that enslaves you.
– If you are afraid of looking foolish by believing in God, you will be trapped in a life of spiritual emptiness rather than living a life of vibrant growth.
When fear prevents you from responding to risky invitations from God, you begin to realize how powerful fear can become, and therefore how dangerous. Fear doesn`t want you to take the journey to the top of the mountain. If “fear” can rattle you enough, fear will persuade you to take your eyes off of the peak and settle for a miserably dull existence outside of God`s peace in Christ!
Are you able to recognize the interplay between fear and faith in your life? As you look at the story of your life, do you see the ways that Jesus has brought you to the intersection of fear and faith? For many of us the boundary of our range of action is determined by our ultimate fears, and our fears often remain hidden(sometimes even from ourselves) right up to the very moment when we must act. Jesus allows an evironment to be created that reveals our fears that hinder us from fully following Him, and living a godly life. This is one of the ways that Jesus shows His love for us. It doesn`t usually feel all warm and fuzzy at the moment, but He brings us directly to the boundary of our fears. The context of this can take so many different shapes. Sometimes a new opportunity is the catalyst, and other times it is a crisis. At times it is a conversation with a friend, and other times it happens during a time of self-reflection and prayer.
Fear draws boundaries and sets limits on our life of faith. It`s what fear will do to us if we fail to acknowledge it`s presence and learn how to face these fears head on and overcome them through Christ. We must travel through the valley of our fears to reach the mountain peaks of faith! (1 John 4:18)
*ASK YOURSELF: What situations or circumstances in my life are causing some anxiety or fear? How has fear kept me from moving forward in my life? and in my faith? When was the last time Jesus brought me to the intersection of faith and fear? How did I respond? What can I do right now to start preparing for the next time Jesus brings me to this intersection?
*SPEND TIME IN PRAYER: Heavenly Father, in times of uncertainty and doubt, in times when I am at a crossroads of fear and faith, may I choose to walk the narrow path of faith, trusting in You and Your Will for my life. Lord, let my faith be bigger than my fear, and in the midst of uncertainty, may I fully trust in that which is eternally certain, You Lord! I`m thankful for the Christians You`ve placed in my life to inspire, encourage, and edify me. Lord, help me move beyond any fears I currently have in order to take a bold step of faith through the darkness of fear into the Light and newness of life in you Jesus. Glory and Praise be to Your Holy name forever, Amen
If we hope to encounter God in deeper ways, experience greater degrees of spiritual transformation, and step into the newness of life that we are created for, then “fear not” must become a mandatory addition to our vocabulary of faith. The devil loves a fearful Christian.
But the problem is not that we feel afraid. The problem arises when fear is allowed to become the dominant narrative of our lives. When fear overshadows faith, our world seemingly becomes smaller spiritually speaking. We must not allow fear to cause us to retreat and seek self protection, which often means reverting to old sinful ways that spiritually infect the soul. Fear can cause spiritual paralysis and prevent us from believing God and stepping out in faith if we allow it.
Done by Joey F. Bellmore