Are we living in fear or by faith?

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.

14 thoughts on “Are we living in fear or by faith?

  1. I wanted to ponder this a bit before replying because there are aspects of what you said that disturb me, yet I also understand and affirm your desire to challenge the fear and negativity that so often surrounds us – both inside and outside the church.

    I think what disturbs me is where you say things like, ‘…he has given us power over sickness and death.’ It disturbs me because I don’t think it’s the whole truth. If it were, there would be no sickness or death in any church. Nor would Stephen, Peter, Paul and the rest have died. The world would have been completely transformed generations ago. But that’s not how things are.

    What we do have, in Christ, is the faith to understand that death need not be the end.

    Again, you say, ‘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.’

    But what does it mean to walk in faith? My father recently died from advanced cancer – and just missed his 80th birthday as a result. But he faced his last days with the same courage, determination and 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that had characterised most of the rest of his life. He did not need the cancer to leave his body in order to do that. He simply accepted that his time had come.

    Finally, you say, ‘If you’re going through anything that relates to death, loss, or destruction, then it’s coming straight from the pit of Hell…’

    Perhaps. But isn’t this also the way that Jesus walked? As I see it, for as long as we are in this world, it is our calling to get our hands dirty in just the same way as Jesus did. His life wasn’t about magicking away the pain and hunger. It was about living faithfully anyway, whether God seemed to be coming up with the goods or not. Hence his cry from the cross, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’

    His was a life lived with the same kind of faith as that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:

    ‘If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’ (Daniel 3:17-18)

    That kind of faith challenges me every single day of my life. It challenges me because it is not an easy faith. It does not promise deliverance from sickness and death – or not on our terms.

    I have seen God do some amazing things and I think it’s *hugely* important for us to be open to that. But I also know that there are times when God calls us to walk the difficult path. That’s why Jesus died. It’s also why Paul left us with the promise that, ‘neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39)


  2. I used to dread hard times, but now when something bizarre and ‘awful’ happens, I get excited! Years of experiencing ‘trials’ while walking hand-in-hand with the Lord have taught hubby and me that these occasions are meant to be blessings: to us, to someone in our lives, or both. During these times we get to see God in action – doing what we cannot do for ourselves – and experience His being intimately involved in every moment. We have come to cherish those ‘hard times’, which turn out to be our best times.

    Like you said, “Faith is all about surrender.” It’s all about being available to the Lord to do whatever He wants done. Y’shua (Jesus) demonstrated that kind of servant-hood to us when He gave His life for us. Talk about a trial!! Can we do less, especially when the rewards are so incredibly wonderful? Thanks for reminding us that with YHVH, there is NOTHING to fear!! Shalom and blessings. ❤


  3. The ‘fear’ referred to in many Bible texts is not always to be afraid. Vines helps us to understand the Hebrew verb does mean to stand in awe (Yare) which is based on the subject recognising the honour and reverence due the the person in authority.

    Also the noun for fear (Mora) used at Deut 4:24 is linked to evidence of being in the presence of a mighty person – recognising the divine in action.

    So we can have both fear and faith but we need to be certain our fear is Godly fear not fear of being found out or fear of other issues associated with failure of death.

    Really enjoyed the post and what comes over to each of us is that we have to understand the basis of our faith, live up to our vow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading this reminded me of something I was pondering earlier. Christianity is a religion based on, among other things, the concepts of redemption and resurrection. Therefore, when someone who has known love dies, we can have faith they will be resurrected to a life everlasting. Why can’t we learn to celebrate that more, and celebrate the time that person was among us?


  5. they are not always contradictory Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, although that was more awe and reverence. Having fought forest fires I have a healthy fear of fire! Not hell, because I’ve been there, Christ at my side!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderful post Chris. I like it a lot. I hear folks say too often, they are being tested by God. We will face trials, pain and loss because its part of the life cycle. Life has many diversities, but it also has an abundance of love. I tend to feed myself the love portion. With strong faith our love will always rise above all that comes.


  7. can we be living in fearful faith?

    or….. faithfully fearfulness?

    just playing with words. Good question though!


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