I’ve been asked, “Is it possible to have faith AND live in fear?” Maybe you’ve asked the same question? Fear and faith are opposites. I’ve heard it said that they cannot coexist in your heart at the same time. Yet battling fear is something we all deal with. Quickly, I’m sure you can count five fears you currently face.
For me, I’ve been battling the fear of waking up with a soul crushing pain as I’m struggling with a family relationship in need of healing and reconciliation. Fear for the well being of those I love battling depression and anxiety. Fear of a potential job loss in our family, after over 30 years with a company due to mandates. Fear over the safety and future of our nation, freedoms, and rights. The list goes on…
Fear by definition is an involuntary reaction that helps us quickly respond to potential threats. Fear is a natural survival mechanism. Once the brain detects a source of stress or fear, the brain activates the “fight or flight” response.
What does faith over fear look like for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? In the Bible, the faithful are told to “fear not.”
I have begun to study this question, and here is what I am learning – when I take my fears to God in tears and prayer, and place them at His feet, my focus changes. In His presence my spirit is restored and strengthened. I feel lighter and filled with confident hope. My eyes are on the LORD who is in control and who can do all things.
I am reminded of my place in the Kingdom of God; I am a daughter of the King, redeemed, set apart, given an inheritance with Christ, my future is safe and secure. When I fully trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God, I receive peace. Even when my situation has not changed, or the fears are justified.
My husband handles stress and fear in a healthy way that I can learn from. First, just know this about him – He is the strongest and most steady person I know. In handling stress or fear, he says this, “In my mind (and sometimes I write things down), I take inventory of all my resources, possible actions regarding what I fear, and I pray about it, asking for discernment and clarity. I change the fear to a concern, and no longer consider it a fear. If what I was concerned about comes to fruition, then I have my action plan.”
In Isaiah 41:10 God says this, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
In a sermon titled, “Fear” by the preacher of old, Charles Spurgeon, he begins by saying, “I shall speak this morning to those that are discouraged, depressed in spirit, and sore troubled in the Christian life. There are certain nights of exceeding great darkness, through which the spirit has to grope in much pain and misery, and during which much of the comfort of the Word is particularly needed.”
He then talked about what an “all-sufficient promise” the words “I will help you” are. If we have God helping us, all things are possible.
Spurgeon then explains that we must get rid of fear as much as possible for the following reasons: (I have paraphrased some points for smoothness of reading and into our modern language)
- Get rid of fear, because fear is painful. It torments the spirit! When the Christian trusts, they are happy; when they doubt, they are miserable. How miserable we become, even the most faithful Christians when we begin doubting and fearing!
- Fear is weakening. “Make a man afraid—he will run at his own shadow; make a man brave, and he will stand before an army and overcome them. He will never do much good in the world that is afraid of men. The fear of God brings blessings, but the fear of men brings a snare, and such a snare that many feet have been tripped by it. We must not fear; for fear is weakening.”
- Fear dishonors God. “Doubt the Eternal, distrust the Omnipotent? Oh, traitorous fear!” (Omnipotent means: “Having unlimited or universal power, authority; all-powerful.) “God is too wise to err, too good to be unkind; stop doubting him, and begin to trust him…”
- Do not doubt the Lord, O Christian; for in so doing you lower yourself. The more you believe, the greater you are; but the more you doubt, the less you become.
I’ve realized that when I fear most, it is because I’m making God small in my mind, and I’m forgetting God’s character.
Let’s remind ourselves of these truths about God – He is:
Omnipresent (Everywhere at all times).
Omnipotent (Having unlimited and universal power, authority, and force; all-powerful)..
Omniscient (Having universal knowledge; knowing all things; infinitely knowing/wise).
Omnibenevolent (Perfectly good; all-loving).
When I see God as He is, I remember what a powerful, righteous, justice-loving, holy God I love and serve. Faith overcomes fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (NLT)
The New King James Version says it like this, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
King David faced many fears, yet he trusted in God’s goodness and mercy. He wrote passionately in the book of Psalms, pleading for protection, expressing his fears, then turning to praise, song, and thankfulness.
Here is just one example from David:
Psalm 34:4-11 (NIV)
I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.
O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
O fear the LORD, you His saints; For those who fear Him there is no want.”
To fear God is to have reverence, a proper attitude of awe and respect. When we find reasons and ways to praise God, it is pretty difficult to live in fear.
As His people, we are not to fear this world or those in it, but to have faith. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith” (1 John 5:4 NKJV).
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1857). Fear Not. In The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 3, p. 391). London: Passmore & Alabaster.
How are you working to overcome fear in your life? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to learn from you.
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