Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Faith and Fear

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

There are within biblical texts, profound nuggets, statements that seem simple at first glance but, when contemplated, are rich, full of meaning. Take 1 John 4.18, for example: “Perfect love casts out fear.” Simple, yet profound. 

What I’m about to say may seem strange to you, but I think fear and faith are cut from the same cloth. Or it may better be said, they are opposite sides of the same coin. Fear is faith in a negative direction. Both faith and fear ask, “What if …” but fear expects a negative result: What if I fail? What if I mess up? What if God doesn’t come through? Fear directs our attention towards a negative outcome.

Maybe this illustration from a common situation in basketball will help you see the point. It’s the final three seconds of the game. You’re on the free throw line with the game winning shot in your hands. Just before you attempt to shoot, the opposing team calls a time out. Why? Because they want you to think, “What if I miss this shot?” The more the player thinks about missing the free throw, the more likely he is to miss it.

Faith, on the other hand, moves in the direction of the positive — the Word of God. And, joy of joys, faith grows by hearing the truth. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” [Romans 10.17]. As John pointed out, faith grows as you believe that the perfect love of God is active on your behalf. When you’re in Christ, you can count on these truths: God loves you. You are in Him. He is in you. You belong to God. 

Fear will not lead you to that truth.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us. 1 John  4.16-19 

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