by Jon Walker
“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, NIV)
Across the breadth of the Bible, God consistently sends the message, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
The Bible reveals that God knows we tend toward fear, particularly as we respond to uncertainty and change. Yet the Bible also reveals that God is the only unchanging certainty in this world – or out of it.
Yet, is it possible we have more faith in our fear than we do in God?
No matter how complex life becomes, it still comes down to this basic choice: Will we place our confidence in the All-Powerful Supreme Being and Sole Authority of the Universe, or will we place greater confidence in our fears?
Although the choice is black-or-white basic, God knows it’s not simple. It involves a challenging stretch, and that’s why God continually reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you.”
God is clear that our abilities, our resources – even a belief in the myth of luck – will not be what strengthens us for the journey. (Philippians 4:13) We fear we can’t do the things God calls us to do, and we fear that God will not protect us or provide for us. We choose this fear, embracing the unholy lie that our circumstances are bigger than the One True God.
Our faith in God gets placed on the altar of our own perceptions when we should be placing our perceptions on the altar of unflinching faith.
If you’re like me, you often fear what’s behind the curtain of God’s call, and God – frustratingly – won’t let me peek behind the curtain, and so:
Our fear shouts – “Pay no attention to the God behind the curtain; he’s just another wizard from Oz, using smoke and mirrors to give you the illusion of power and grace.”
Our God whispers – In that still, small voice, he calls us to develop confidence in him; he calls us to abandon the confidence we have in what we see and the confidence we have in our fears. God keeps the curtain of our future drawn so we will learn to live by faith and not by sight, so we will become certain of what we hope for and become sure of God, even when we cannot see how he’s working in our current circumstances. (Hebrews 11:1)
What does this mean?
· Ask God to replace your fear with faith – Eliminating your fear involves more than working up your courage. This is a spiritual battle that requires you to develop faith. But first you need to make a choice – Will you fear, or will you “faith?”
· Faith means you believe the truth – Your behavior and decisions are most often rooted in what you believe. When you experience fear, ask yourself, “What does this fear say about what I believe in this circumstance?” What fears are you experiencing today? What do they say about the beliefs you currently embrace? Ask God to pull these false beliefs and fears out by the root.
· Get caught in an act of faith – One day, a woman who had hemorrhaged for 12 years slipped up behind Jesus and touched his robe, believing he could heal her. “Jesus turned –caught her at it. Then he reassured her: ‘Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.’” (Matthew 9:22, MSG) God is for you, and he encourages you to be caught in the act of faith. When you act in faith, you proclaim your belief in God; you acknowledge he exists and that God cares about you.
· Let a friend tell you about your fears – Ask a friend if he or she sees a part of your life where you show more fear than faith – and then, together, pray for God to help your unbelief. (Mark 9:24)