Webster’s Dictionary defines fear as this:
to be afraid of (something or someone)
to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
to be afraid and worried
Webster’s Dictionary defines faith as this:
strong belief or trust in someone or something
belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs
a system of religious beliefs
There is a glaring difference in the meaning of those words.
I read somewhere that the word fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. As if God was telling us each day not to fear. Whether or not that is just coincidence, I still think it’s pretty cool.
There is no grey area here. We are either living in complete fear, or by total faith. It can’t be both.
We can tell exactly where we are by how we respond to certain situations. We all go through stuff. We face trials, pain, and loss. I heard a sermon a couple of weeks ago during which the pastor said God allows us to go through all those things to teach us lessons. That is a very warped and inaccurate view of our Father. The enemy wants to tear us down and leave us wondering whether God loves us or not. He uses life to control us. We get the call that a loved one was just diagnosed with cancer. We immediately fall apart and start calling on God to do something. That’s fear, not faith.
Faith is hanging up from that call and thanking God that he has given us power over sickness and death. It’s visiting that loved one in the hospital and sharing Jesus with everyone there. Nurses, doctors, technicians. We hear the word cancer, and we gasp. Why? Because that word instills fear in our hearts.
We have the very same power inside of us that raised Christ from the grave of death. That same power can defeat cancer. We have to walk in faith.
If you’re going through anything that relates to death, loss, or destruction, then it’s coming straight from the pit of Hell. The enemy is here to kill, steal, and destroy. Not God.
Fear is turning to God when things have gone wrong. Faith is knowing He’s already there.
We are all at different stages in our walks with Christ. Some are just beginning, while others are more experienced. Our relationship with God is constantly growing. It’s not just saying a prayer and we’re good to go. In a marriage, you don’t just say “I do” and then wait for the relationship to mature. It takes effort.
Philippians 2:12-13 says (emphasis mine):
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
The word fear in this passage isn’t the Webster’s definition I mentioned earlier. The Greek word translated “fear” in this context can equally mean “reverence” or “respect”. We are all working through our salvation. It’s a process.
The reason Jesus was able to endure His time on this earth as a man was because of love. He was love personified. He walked out Christianity and gave us something to follow. He had no fear. Why? Because He was perfect love.
1 John 4:18 says:
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
If we are walking in perfect love, then we won’t live in fear. Our goal on this earth is to become love. God is love. We are to be imitators of God. (Ephesians 5:1)
If we worry, fret, and live in constant fear, we aren’t walking in love.
It really is that simple.
If you can’t love someone because they might not give it back, you’re living in fear. Faith says “I love you.” Period.
If you have to set boundaries around yourself because of people, then it’s all about self, and you’re living in fear. Faith is not distancing yourself from people, but loving them.
If you can’t approach someone in a crowded mall to let them know how much God loves them, you’re living in fear. Faith walks over and shares the hope of glory within us.
My goal is to completely surrender myself to perfect love and drop all fear to the curb. It’s the only way to truly follow Jesus. He said to deny ourselves.
Fear is all about self. Faith is all about surrender.