Faith or Fear? Two opposites compete for space. Remember when we could go to a store and shop? Numerous choices stretched before us. Seersucker. Denim. Silk. We chose what to wear.
Likewise, we make choices spiritually regarding what we wear. Social media and the news offer fear. Concern over the economy and disease. The new normal of shelter in place brings other cares: school at home, lack of contact with extended family and lots of contact with immediate family, and how one day merges into the next with little or no change. Fear is an option the world (and the enemy) offers.
God has other wardrobe choices in mind for His children. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me . . . Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:1, 27).” Let’s look more closely at these verses.
1) Do not let: It’s a choice, you know. Whether to entertain fear—or not. Too often, when fear knocks, we open the door and invite him in for coffee. Before we know it, he’s joined us for dinner and has invited himself to stay overnight. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid [fear], but gives us power, love and self-discipline [or sound judgment] (2 Timothy 1:7).” “Do not let your hearts be troubled (John 14:1).” You must take action.
2) Trust: Remember God’s track record. How has He been faithful before? Remember God’s Word. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is your shield, your fortress, your strong tower, your strength and your song. Remember His faithfulness to others. Be encouraged by their stories. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).” Remember.
3) Receive His peace: You can’t manufacture your own peace. It’s a God-thing. He gives. You must receive it and rest in it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).” For what can you thank Him right now?
4) Do not be afraid: Fear is not of God. Faith is. “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us (1 John 4:15-16).” I don’t mean to sound harsh, but too often we don’t test our thoughts. I challenge you to examine your mindset and see where you’ve landed. Are you relying on His love?
Faith and fear. They can’t co-exist. One displaces the other. Test your thoughts. Fearful or faithful? Anxious or peaceful? Stressful or God-confident?
P.S. If you’re having trouble trusting God in the midst of this craziness, I encourage you to soak in His Word. Here are some verses that I hope will strengthen you.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name”. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10