So frequently we find ourselves in God’s word, but lament that nothing much of spiritual significance is going on. Maybe we’re mired in fear, far too anxious to be of much good to anyone or anything, complaining about most of what we experience. Faced with tribulation our tendency is too often to crabbily recoil, belligerently spoil, or inefficiently toil, turning out results seldom worthwhile.
In order to overcome the first thing we need to recognize is that fear is pleasing to satan. Why is the devil pleased? He is pleased because in our fear we are not drawing on faith; in other words, we are not relying on Jesus Christ. It’s not necessarily that fear is faith in the devil, but rather a faith in nothingness—that somehow, in our anxiety, in our complaining, in our dread, something positive will be the result. That’s just utter nonsense.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
An Important Principle
The Deuteronomy passage plots a critical, spiritual principle in regard to our faith that you might not have caught. God essentially tells Israel to first be not afraid, for He will be with them on the other side of the Jordan River. In other words, it is a conditional agreement—God tends to reveal His self after we act faithfully. So, if it is our testimony that God seems distant, the cause might very well be that we walk in fear.
And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27
We see the very same thing illustrated in this account from Matthew’s Gospel. There is a horrific storm and the disciples fear for their lives. Suddenly Jesus appears to them walking upon the turbulent sea, but they do not recognize Him. Why? Because they were filled with fear and fear nudges out faith.
Take note of what happens next because it is important. Jesus tells them to first be of good cheer, then He announces, “It is I.” Then and only then do they recognize Jesus for who He truly is. And that is the true essence of our faith. Christians should never be caught saying, “Seeing is believing, ” because that is in direct contrast to what faith is! It is when we believe; when we speak and act faithfully, we see.
Furthermore, We Know…
… Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God Romans 10:17
Faith is worked-in as we absorb God’s word and faith is worked-out when we speak or act out faithfully. If faith comes in and does not go out, we are quenching His Spirit and the work He desires to do. It’s the very reason the Dead Sea is dead—the Jordan flows in, but nothing whatsoever flows out. However, when we act faithfully (fearlessly), we experience the abundant life in Christ Jesus as He reveals more and more of Himself.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6a
When we more fully understand this principle, in the face of our tribulations we will choose to be of good cheer and thus an awesome, pleasing witness for Him. Inevitably we discover it works, or more accurately, God works. As God breathes forth His word and we eagerly take it in, our faith matures. As we faithfully speak out and act out the word that we heard, God is pleased, He is honored, He is glorified, and He is revealed.
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6
follow me on Twitter HERE