Faith > Fear January 28, 2016
Faith > Fear
Ray Stedman said, “The chief mark of the Christian ought to be the absence of fear and the presence of joy. We have often quoted the description of a Christian as one who is completely fearless, continually cheerful, and constantly in trouble. It is that presence of joy and absence of fear that marks our genuine Christiananity and proves that we really are what we claim to be.”
“The Coming of Joy” (sermon, Peninsular Bible Church, Palo Alto, CA, December 19, 1976), www.pbc.org/files/messages/11623/3018.html.
. . .
When Aimee brought this design to me it was like “HECK YES!!!”
Fear has paralyzed me my entire life. Fear has prevented me from growing deeper in all aspects of my life. Fear has called me out on the fact that I am unqualified. I still have nightmares that the Newport-Mesa School District calls me and tells me my high school diploma has been retracted because Lord knows – it’s only by His grace that I received it.
Fear was my ruler.
At he same time that God put this print shop ministry on my heart I heard this quote, “Fear came to my door, faith answered, no one was there.” – Manafest.
At the time, I had no idea just what an impact those words would have on me, and how often they would pull me back from the fear coma I’d slip into.
Galatians 5:22-23 lists the Fruits of the Spirit. Number 7… after love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, and goodness, comes FAITHfulness, followed by gentleness and self-control.
As much as I loved the Lord and longed to serve Him, I was not producing these fruits. When trapped in fear there is no love, joy, or peace… and I was in a constant state of fear. Fear of rejection, denial, failure, the list goes on.
And yet, God opens all these doors to start printing shirts that exclusively share the hope and good news of Jesus. And He does it so fast that by the time it all sunk it, I was terrified out of my mind but had no choice except to keep going!
It is a daily choice we need to make: faith or fear?
Here is a little of what the Bible has to say about fear…
- 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
- Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
- John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
God has created each of us for such an awesome purpose. And it usually requires us stepping out of our comfort zones. The exciting thing is that when we run to the things we are most afraid of, our faith is strengthened, when, through Him, we overcome those things which previously bogged us down.
My most favorite Bible character right now is Elijah. I am going through Pastor Levi Lusko’s study on Elijah, “Fire and Ice.” AMAZING!!! You can check out his teachings HERE
Elijah comes on the scene in 1 Kings 17, out of nowhere, called by God to be completely bold and epic. Pretty much he strolled into the palace, before King Ahab, and told him, “I serve the God who lives and you are going to experience an insane drought.” And so it was. I could go on and on and on about Elijah, a totally obedient and awesome man of faith. But who I really want to share about is Ahab’s governor, Obadiah, who, while all the prophets of God were being slaughtered, he hid 100 away. Umm, yeah, I’d call that a BOLD move! The drought had gone on for three and half years and it was time for it to come to an end. God used Obadiah to orchestrate the meeting before Elijah and Ahab. Obadiah was terrified! He thought this was his death sentence…what if Elijah didn’t show?
“And Elijah said, ‘As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him today.’ So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.” 1 Kings 18:15-16
To find out what happens next, go dive into 1 Kings. IT IS AWESOME!!!
My point with all of this is, when we think about all the amazing people of God in the Bible and through out history, up to today, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that none of them felt qualified and they all struggled with fear… but they went forward in FAITH and OBEDIENCE.
Fear will prevent us from living up to our full potential. Being a Christian does not mean the fear is gone. It means that when the fear comes, we dive into God’s promises, remain in a constant state of praise, and take one step in front of the other.
We are absolutely human. We are going to get hurt, angry, and the bottom will drop out. We will struggle, times will arise that there seems to be no answer for the “why’s” and cries, but we are not alone in those moments and God’s promises remain true.
Paul says these things regarding hardships:
- “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance” Romans 5:3
- “Who shall separate us form the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardships or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35
- “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
A mindset of being continuously cheerful comes from FAITH that God’s word is true. He knows the ultimate pain because His Son was our ultimate sacrifice and although we live in a tainted, sin-filled world, this is not our home and we are promised eternal life: “where the burdens of this place will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face, and until that day, we’ll hold on to Him always,” to quote some Jeremy Camp.
I end this post with this final scripture -
“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
In His strength,
We always want to hear from you! We encourage you to share what Faith>Fear means to you. How has God given you strength in times that seem so overwhelming and terrifying? What are verses that have brought you peace when the waves are over head and your unable to find your footing? Comment below to encourage us and others.