Fear or Faith

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“The fear of a man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in Jehovah shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

Fear is a terrible master. It ensnares us. It destroys love. It creates anxiety. It kills hope. When fear is the motivation there is always a snare, a trap. Think about Abraham.  Fearing men caused him to deny that Sarah was his wife (Gen. 12:12).  Fear led Peter to deny Jesus (Matt. 27:69-75). It even led him to withdraw from some Gentiles (Gal. 2:11-12). Fear moved King Saul to compromise what God had said (1 Sam. 15:19-21).

First consider, fear produces distrust in God and others. It brings occasion for many other sins. It can even lead one to do what one knows to be wrong.  It leaves man a moral coward. There is no real joy or goodness that fear produces. It leaves one with weakness and a conscience that is never at rest. Fear distorts and makes things seem worse than they are. Fear makes the adversary bigger than he really is. It is blinding.

The contrast however, is between fear, and what it can do to entangle us, and the security of one who trusts the Lord. Trust in the Lord leaves one with a conscience that knows he has done all he can to please Him. Trust in God produces peace of mind knowing God is our Protector and Guide (1 John. 4:18). “Fear ends where faith begins.”

“Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see” (Bob Proctor)! If fear provides many opportunities for many other sins and entanglements, trust in God provides freedom. Trust in God enables us to conquer our fears. It makes us victorious over the weaknesses that produces fear (1 John 5:4). Not because we are so strong and mighty but because God is.

Second consider, “Fear and faith have one thing in common. They both believe in a future that hasn’t happened yet. Fear believes in a negative future. Faith believes in a positive future. If neither has happened yet, why wouldn’t we choose to believe in a positive future” (Jon Gordon)?

The children of Israel had their opportunity to cross into the Promised Land. Ten of the spies, out of fear, said that they were not able. Fear of the giants and the land kept them from believing they could. Yet, their fear was over something that had not happened. Conversely, Joshua and Caleb believed in God and the promises He had made regarding the land. Yet, that is in the future. They had not possessed the land yet.

Furthermore, the promise of God was in the future but because of something that had not happened, for the next forty years the children of Israel wondered until all but Joshua and Caleb had died. Their fear lead to unbelief, and because of something that had not happened they died without ever seeing the Promised Land.

Now, it is easy to see that in them but how about me? Fear, worry, anxiety, stress can also keep me from inheriting what God has promised. We have a future. The future will come. So why not believe in the positive results of that future rather than doubting? We do not see God. We have never seen heaven. Heaven is promised but will we let fear keep us from believing what God has promised?

Further, how many times, simply because we are concerned about what someone will say about us, do we let fear of rejection by our peers govern our decisions? If I should stand up to them because of their language or lifestyle, will I let fear of what may happen stop me from believing in a positive outcome? There will be an outcome, why not believe in a positive result. Perhaps, they will surprise you and appreciate what you say to them.

Also, preaching is that way. Sometimes I just shake before I get up to preach. For various reasons I am just overcome by fear. But it is fear of something that has not yet happened. Most of the time things work with positive results.

Parents with their children can do the same thing. Parents become so fearful for their child they hover to protect and keep them from harm so much they do not let them engage in an activity in which they might lose or be hurt. But, faith says they may succeed, conquer and experience positive results.

Trust in God may not prevent men doing us harm but it does help us live above the fear.  With all that is going on in our world today fear is really having a field day. There are so many “fear snares” in our world. Fear of the financial market, fear of global disaster, fear of global cooling or warming, fear of violence in the street, fear of racism, fear of homophobia. All around are losing their mind because of fear. Stop! Wait! We need to get our eyes off this world and on to God. Trust in Him brings a peace of mind that is beyond understanding. Trust in God reminds us Who is really in control of this world. Trust in God helps us live above all the turmoil that surrounds us, that, while everybody is losing their mind, we have His. Now, there is confidence! “Let your faith be BIGGER than your faith.”

Both fear and faith have a risk.  Fear due to the possibility of rejection. Faith has the risk that we leave everything that means anything to us based on a promise in a God we have not seen. Faith takes the risk. The track record of faith in God is much better.

by Rickie Jenkins