I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. -Romans 10:17, NKJV
I'm so very grateful God gives us faith, His faith, greater than any we could muster on our own. I have been guilty of the sins of worry and fear (and yes, they are sin). I worry about the people I love, and how I’m going to do all I need to today, and that there aren’t enough hours to do it all (when there actually IS enough time to do all GOD has for me; I’m the one adding more than I should on to my plate, or saying yes to things I shouldn’t). I worry about the future, and if I’ll make the right decisions, and what my backup plan should be for those wrong decisions (when the truth is God already has ALL the plans in place, every day and decision accounted for and repaired and redeemed before I even mess up-Psalm 139:16).
I worry about conflict, confrontation, what other people will think or say about my decisions (even though God tells me He will give me the right words to say-Matt. 10:19). I have been afraid of other people’s opinions and judgements, of disappointing or upsetting them, for much of my life. I have feared other people's anger and wrath (sometimes rightly so, as they were dangerous, and words can leave scars). I am a reforming people-pleaser, and I am learning an important truth: “the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” IS safe. Not will be safe, but is safe, already. I am already safe. But will I trust it? Will I have faith? I am already protected from everything God does not will for my life. HE Himself has already protected me. So everything that He does allow, is good, (Ps. 103:5, Rom. 8:28), and for His good purposes. Just because someone says something hurtful, doesn’t mean I have to accept it. I am commanded by God to think only on what is TRUE, praiseworthy, just, right, honorable, admirable, etc. (Phil. 4:8). But I have to take these words on faith, even if I can't see them as true, yet.
If anyone, including my own inner critic, wants to criticize me, especially just for the sake of being critical, manipulative, self-serving, putting me down to feel better about themselves, (or anything that’s not for the sake of edifying or encouraging me to repent of sin), then I don’t have to accept what they say! God convicts for the sake of repentance; He does not manipulate us or leave us wallowing in guilt or shame; He convicts to lead us to repentance. Those other motives are the sins of man, which we are free to reject and ignore. I am free and empowered, in Christ, commanded by Him even, to reject any thoughts or words that do not adhere to Christ’s standard of truth, to Phil. 4:8. That includes worry. And fear. They are liars. Besides, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26, NIV)
Instead, we are to receive faith, to trust Him. To trust these truths He gives: God keeps us in the palm of His hand (Is. 49:2); He walks alongside us and holds us by the hand (Is. 42:6); not even a sparrow falls from the ground without His knowledge (Matt. 10:29); therefore how much more is He in every intricate detail of the lives of His chosen people, made in His image?
So what is the antidote to this fear and worry? Faith; trust—faith in God, trust in His Word and faithfulness. Part of this is a battle we wage in our minds. We must take God at His Word, choosing to believe and accept only that as the standard, and rejecting any thoughts or words that are not helpful, true, necessary, right, pure, worthy of praise, virtuous, etc., no matter how loud or frequent the false, invasive thoughts or messages of the world are. Ask yourself: "Is what I’m thinking true according to God’s Word?" Look up what the Bible says about that subject. And if the thought is false, not helpful, not praiseworthy, etc. walk away from it, and replace it with the truth of Scripture. Repeat the truth to yourself until you believe it; daily, hourly, if you must. Ask God to help. He will. Faith is taking God at His Word, no matter how it looks or seems. And He generously grants it to us.
Also, pray. When we pray thanks for what God has done and is doing, it also instills confidence deep in our hearts and minds that those things are true. By thanking Him that they are so, we actually begin to accept that they are so, and that they will be done. Psychologically, this produces acceptance and a deeper level of trust, of faith in God, and in His promises to us in the Word. Tony Evans says, "Faith is acting like it is so, even when it's not so, just because God said so." Faith is Peter casting out the net one more time, even after fishing all night, and saying to Jesus, "But at Your Word, I will" (Luke 5:5) to anything God tells us to do, no matter how seemingly impossible or ridiculous. He makes a way for what He wills. He empowers and strengthens us to do it, by His might, side by side with Him.
Part of this battle is also spiritual. We must wage war in the spiritual realm by putting on the FULL armor of God (Eph. 6:11-18) especially prayer. And sometimes, to be free, we must pray and fast together, digging deeply into God’s Word and letting that be what fills us, instead of food or worldly comforts. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He refuted the enemy’s lies with Scripture, and so should we.
A habit I learned from a Beth Moore Bible study is writing out verses as prayers, asking God to do what He says He will, and thanking Him that He will and is already working all things out. We can also pray the prayer a follower of Jesus did, “Lord help me overcome my unbelief!” And He will. His grace is sufficient. His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Cor. 19:19), even our weak faith. He lacks no faith in Himself, and He extends this same strength and power to us when we ask Him for it. And with that faith, we can stand in the truth, against the attacks of the enemy, and advance into all God has called us to. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6).
Part of the reward of receiving Christ is the armor of God, the armor of light. “...faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1). Faith is confidence that the One who died on the cross would rise again after 3 days, because He said He would. It is confidence that He is able to and will do all He has said He would, all He desires to do with us and for us. “As I have planned it, so it will happen. The Lord of Hosts Himself has planned it; therefore who can stand in His way?” (Is. 14:24) No one can! Not Satan and all his forces, not you or me or any human. We are pitiful in comparison to the almighty power of God, who spoke the earth and universe into existence.
When we read about how powerful God is, and remember all He has done, this too helps instill confidence, faith, in Him. We must remember, remind ourselves and others when our faith is weak, Who our God is and what He has done—for us personally, for those we know, and throughout the history of time for His beloved people. Freedom from fear and worry happen when we fully trust God, turning everything over to Him completely, because we know what he says, we take Him at His Word, trusting Him for our daily bread. Just look at right here, today. Ask Him for what you need right now, and trust He will give it, if you earnestly seek Him. Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. (Prov. 4:25) Faith is His gift to us, and we are free to ask and receive it at any time, more than we have, and all that we need.
For more verses about faith, read Romans 1:17, 2 Cor. 1:24, Gal. 3:9, 1 Tim. 1:19.
© 2020 Amanda Lorenzo
Liz Westwood from UK on December 02, 2020:
The verse 'Perfect love drives out all fear' springs to mind.