Have you ever thought about faith, what it is and most importantly what it means to you? Do you think (or believe) that faith impacts your life or do you think that you can live without it? I believe that faith is vitally important in our lives and that we cannot live without it; also, without faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is a gift from God: believers have been given ‘the’ measure of faith and there is no amount of money we can pay for it nor can we earn it through good works (Romans 12:3b). I think it’s helpful to define words so we can have a better understanding of how we are to use and apply them to our lives.
Merriam-Webster defines FAITH as follows:
If you think about it, we actually have faith in both people and things without really considering it a belief. We sit in chairs and expect them to hold us up; we turn on our televisions, radios and other electronic devices in anticipation of them working as we expect. We can also have faith in people we don’t even know (e.g. airline pilots, bus operators, taxi drivers, doctors, hospital staff, etcetera) and trust them with our lives and safety. This type of faith could be considered sincerity of intentions and we always hope and pray that the people we are trusting, will not let us down or cause us harm.1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty; b. (1) fidelity : to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions; 2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust; 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
The most important kind of faith, loyalty or complete trust that anyone can have is faith in God. We would cease to exist without Him and would not have any hope in this life or for the next (Acts 17:28). God loved mankind so much that He gave His only Begotten Son to die for us, so that we would be reconciled to Him (John 3:16). Through Jesus we were redeemed from the eternal destiny we inherited as a result of Adam and Eve’s transgression against God in the Garden of Eden. Without Jesus Christ, we would have been eternally lost. The way that the world believes is quite different from the Scripture way of believing. The popular secular cliché for faith is:”I’ll believe it, when I see it.” But, believers in Jesus Christ, believe the opposite: “For we live by believing and not by seeing (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT).” It’s easy to believe what we can see, but that’s not faith; but believing in something that has not physically manifested is faith. “Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.] (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).
I believe that we sometimes have a tendency to believe in the things we desire [to see], when we are not to have faith in things, but in the Creator of things:God! It’s absurd for us to have more faith in people, who can and will let us down than we do in God! That should not be, for God is faithful, always keeps His promises and has an impeccable track record (Numbers 23:19). Mankind, on the other hand is fallible with the tendency to fall short. Since, we have the tendency to believe in what we can see instead of believing, when we can’t, what can we do to have the faith that will allow us to trust God for something before we see it? The answer is the Word of God. If we are faithful, we can develop faith that will not waiver, regardless of the situation: “So faith comes by hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ“ (Romans 10:17 NLT). What we hear and embrace can either build or block our faith. I believe without a doubt that there’s nothing on earth more effective in building our faith in God than His infallible Word.
Now, let’s look at FEAR, which is verb denoting action. Again, I am using Merriam-Webster for the definition.
As an transitive verb, it is defined as: 1. archaic: frighten; 2 archaic: to feel fear in (oneself); 3: to have a reverential awe of <fear God>; 4: to be afraid of : expect with alarm <fear the worst>; as an intransitive verb, it is defined as: to be afraid or apprehensive <feared for their lives>.Looking at the definitions above, we see that fear can frighten us; cause us alarm (fearing the worst) or to have a reverential awe of God and His greatness. Scripture refers to fear as a spirit, that was not given to believers by God, but is a satanic tactic. Fear has the potential to be debilitating in that it can impair our spiritual strength and cause it to diminish if not identified and eliminated quickly. Renewing our minds with consistent doses of the Word of God can help us tremendously (Romans 12:2).
Everything positive has a negative or opposite, so let’s look at fear as the opposite of faith, because it’s incongruous and works against faith. I consider fear an enemy of faith, because if allowed, it will cause us to switch our focus on things that are temporary (tangible) and away from the things that are truly lasting (intangible); It will cause us to doubt God and not believe His Word. Fear if allowed can be a strong influential spirit in our lives as it is False, Evidence, Appearing, Real. The devil has an arsenal he uses against believers in Christ, but, God has also given us the spirit of power and love and spiritual weapons to counteract Satan’s collection of weapons and their effects (2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 6:11-18).
God does not want us to be in fear, because He knows the emotional damage it can cause us and that it will prevent us from walking in faith and receiving from Him. I find it interesting that each time God sent a messenger to deliver a message to anyone in the Scriptures or whenever Jesus spoke to those during His time of ministry, there was the exhortation to: Fear not! Take time to read the following references (or even better the associated chapter) at your leisure: Matthew 1:20; Matthew 28:5; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:30; Luke 2:10; Luke 5:10; Luke 8:50; Luke 12:7, 32. The love of God is perfect and fear cannot exist with love: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thoughts of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into loves’ complete perfection].
As we continue to dwell in God and His love, stayed armed with faith, the Word of God and the Armor of God, we will be equipped to frustrate the devil; most importantly, we can stop the fear that he uses to paralyze us in an effort to make us ineffective for God and His kingdom. We never have to fear being abandoned by Him, because God said that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b). Stopping fear in our lives is not a one-time event, but we must be diligent each moment of everyday to guard our hearts and minds to prevent future inroads. We can trust God to keep His promise (Hebrews 10:35) and fulfill His good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). God has given us everything we need to live a life of godliness, victory and success on earth without fear (2 Peter1:3).