Fear is certainly on the minds of many people these days. This is due to our fear of the economy, struggles in our relationships, and numerous other concerns.
There are many unique concerns that could be presented, but consider what are some of the sources of fear in your life? And are there a particular two that stand out the most?
But, first, what exactly is fear?
The backbone of fear is a form of negative faith that is based on doubting that God is in control. Fear contends that our concerns, when we feel ourselves overwhelmed, is too big for God to handle. Also, the possibility that evil has gained the upper hand. As a result, we naturally begin to question our hope of good conquering our fears.
In Running Scared, Edward Welch stated
Fear and worry are not mere emotions; they are expressions of what we hold dear. They reveal the loyalties of our hearts. If we know Christ and have affirmed our alliance to Him, worry is a sign that we are trying to have it both ways. We certainly don’t want to renounce our allegiance to Jesus, but we want to protect what we feel is our own. We are not so sure that the Lord can be trusted with some things. So we look for help elsewhere. And if there is no obvious alternate source of help, we worry.
It is vital to know and understand God in our battles against our fears.
The fact is that we allow our fears to control our actions and emotions and not allowing Gods peace and comfort in the middle of our storms. As a result, we experience our fears work against our faith.
There is an example of fear overcoming faith in Matthew 14:22-31:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long wayfrom the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Peter doubted, he began to fear. The entrance of fear resulted in the exit of his faith. Hence, the reason Jesus stated “O you of little faith.” Simply, if Peter had faith without doubt, he would have walked back to the boat with Jesus without thinking about it.
In the article “How Fear Can Rob Us,” Dr. Frederick K.C. Priced stated:
When Jesus told Peter, “Come,” that implied two things. It implied that Peter had Gods permission to defy the laws of nature, and that he had the ability to do so. Not only that, but it says in the same verse, he [Peter] walked on the water to go to Jesus. Peter was walking on the water! He was actually doing it. But he made the mistake of taking his eyes off Jesus, and looking at the wind and the waves. Once he did that he allowed fear to come in, which robbed Peter of completing a wonderful miracle.
Throughout the Bible, we are told not to be afraid or discouraged. We are also told of His faithfulness despite our fears and shortcomings. We see this common thread in what is called the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.
These men are not here because they did not have difficulties and fears that tested their faith in their faith. Rather, they had similar troubles and character faults as we have in our lives.
It is certain that everyone will face difficulties and our fears in our lives.
In John 16:33 (ESV) Jesus stated, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
But everyone can deal with our difficulties that test our faith, which builds our steadfastness according to James 1:2-4 (ESV).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The attribute that all the members of the “Hall of Faith” had in common, and what we must aspire to do, is being fearless due to their great faith in God. Thus, they had a desire to follow Him wholeheartedly with no restraint.
The opening verses of Hebrews 11 and 12 illustrates this well.
The first three verses of Hebrews 11 (ESV) states:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
And Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV):
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that isset before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The real problem is not the difficulties in our lives. The actual problem is when we allow our mind to get sidetracked and allow fear to engulf us.
It is too easy to allow fear to take over without warning. We all have overcome been with fear when we are being faced with a major difficulty in our lives.
Unfortunately, we all have gone and listened to our deepest fears and believed them so much that we begin to believe that God is smaller than our fears and difficulties.
When begin our fears so greatly, we begin to allow our comfort zone, our risk-free life to be our God. Max Lucado has stated, “[w]hen fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. When safety becomes our god, we worship the risk-free life.” In short, we allow our desire for safety to become our priority over God. As a result, we blind ourselves to the power of God.
In the article, “Fear Is Not an Option,” Bryon Bohnert stated that “[t]he fact is there is nothing too big for God. Even that ominous rock standing in your way looks small through His eyes. The size of the mountain is not important to Him.
The men in the “Hall of Faith” did not live their lives without having moments of concern. Despite their faith in God, they still found themselves consumed by fear. But faith was vital in overcoming their fears.
That is a great testament to all of us while we remember what God said in Jeremiah 23:29.
“Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”