Did you know that fear and faith want the same thing from you?
It’s true! Both ask you to believe in something that hasn’t happened yet. But the problem is, you can only choose one or the other…fear or faith.
Other than similar aims, faith and fear have little in common. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Faith is the choice to trust that God is, in fact, exactly who He says He is. It is a power we are able to simultaneously exercise and rest in as we lean into God’s love and accept that His promises for us are true no matter our circumstances.
The Bible tells us that fear, on the other hand, is a spirit– one that is not meant for us as children of God. According to 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” One of the easiest ways to tell that fear is not of God is that this spirit has a mind that thinks and a voice that speaks, and it will control you if you let it. Conversely, faith in God has never been about control. If you have faith, you have freedom.
The story of Noah and the ark is one of the greatest examples of faith in the Bible. Still, it’s interesting to note that Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”
So which is it? Faith or fear?
Holy fear is NOT THE SAME as the spirit of fear. Instead, it is a kind of fear that operates out of love and is based upon reverence and respect. When we genuinely love someone, we don’t want our actions to disappoint, disrespect, or harm the other person. We are living out of holy fear when we are careful not to betray trust, but this is very different from being afraid of punishment or revenge. This is the kind of fear that results in wisdom. As Proverbs 9:11 points out, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Holy fear, or “fear of the Lord”, comes through faith and is strengthened in faith. Friend, we have the choice to trust God at His word. We must BELIEVE and have faith in the promises He gives us. Our very walk with God begins and is driven by our faith, and that faith needs to be continually renewed so that we do not give in to the spirit of fear. We must know that He will reward our seeking Him and bless our efforts to know him more intimately. He will be right there to walk beside us through our disbelief. Nothing pleases Him more.
“It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists AND that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (MSG)
Maybe you’ve heard the saying before, “Faith is a muscle.” I really believe that’s true. Time after time, the Lord has asked me to walk out the faith I’ve proclaimed, and unfailingly I’ve seen it grow as a result. I believe He’s inviting you to walk too, and I’d love to hear how your faith is changing as you take that next step. Just shoot me an email at email@example.com. Have a prayer need? My inbox is always open for that too. I’d be honored to pray with you!
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