Fear or Faith

There are many things we can fear.  We can fear what an evil person might do to us.  We can fear the all-powerful God of heaven.  We can fear animals such as lions or even spiders.  We can fear lightning, devastating storms, floods, and earthquakes.  We can fear heights, tight quarters, public speaking, or even clowns.  We can fear cancer that can take over our bodies and cut our lives short.  We can even fear a virus that can cause us sickness, pain and death.  There are so many things that we can fear.  Many people live their lives in fear.  But as a Christian, should we have fear?

We should have an appropriate fear for God.  Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.”  He is the creator of all things; He is all powerful; He will take vengeance on all those who obey unrighteousness.  But we also know that he is a loving and merciful God who has made us His children.  The fear Christians should have for God is a respect and reverence for Him.  But what about fear for other people and other things?

Fear is the opposite of faith; it is actually a lack of faith. It is a denial of the hope that God will take care of us no matter what trials we come up against. As Christians, we should be people of faith and not of fear.  We make a choice between faith and fear.  I saw this observation the other day:  fear and faith have something in common; they both ask us to believe in something we cannot see.  In our minds we can imagine the evil and harm that can come to us because of certain situations and we develop fear.  Or we can trust in God and choose faith.

God has promised to be with us.  Hebrews 13:5-6 “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.’   So we may boldly say:  ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?’”  Do you have faith in the promises of God?  Do you believe that the Lord is your helper?  Do you believe that He will never leave you or forsake you?  Choose faith over fear.  Psalms 118:5-6 “I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

When we trust in God, we can have peace.  Jesus taught in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  The world sees peace as a lack of conflict and problems.  The peace we receive from God is not a lack of trials, tribulations or conflict because we all have those things in our lives.  But the peace that God gives is a peace of mind and spirit.  In our minds and hearts we do not fear anything that comes along because God is our helper and He will never leave us or forsake us.  We don’t have to be troubled; we don’t have to be afraid.  Peace results when we truly trust in God.

There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God.  Romans 8:31-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The great message of this passage of scripture is that nothing can separate us from the love of our God. 

Imagine the worst thing that could happen to you; whatever that may be it cannot separate you from the love of God.  God still loves you; He is still your helper; He will still give you eternal life.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” When we put things in the proper perspective, the problems we face are light and momentary.  We do not need to fear.

Jesus told the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:9-10 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  My encouragement is that you do not fear anything you might suffer.  Be faithful until death and you will receive the crown of life.