Replacing Fear with Faith
May God’s grace and peace be with you every day. In this letter I hope to share something important with you that will bring stability to your Christian life—if you practice it.
Each time we enter a new year, we are confronted with 365 unknown days that tend to fill our hearts with fear. Our fear is based on what we experienced in the past, the things we see happening around us and our thoughts that usually imagine the worst.
For example, if our children were seriously sick last summer, we anxiously wait to see if it will happen again this year. If opposition to the Christian faith is increasing around us, we worry that we might have to quit our church-planting work and move somewhere else. If someone we love bitterly disappointed us or betrayed our trust, we are afraid it will happen again.
If we start thinking about the possibilities of political turmoil, travel accidents, persecution, martyrdom, lack of money to live on, our children failing their school exams, family problems, difficulties in our marriage, failing health, disunity in the church, power struggles among co-workers—and a thousand other terrible things—we will not have a single peaceful day.
In the face of all these real-life threats, the Bible tells us:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
Are we to close our eyes to reality? The truth is, the world we live in is not getting better. We are surrounded by wars, terrorism, persecution, sickness and all those things I listed above. As Christians, we are not immune to life’s struggles as long as we live in this fallen world. In addition, Satan is our enemy, and we are constantly engaged in a spiritual battle.
God doesn’t ask us to close our eyes to reality or pretend that nothing negative can ever happen to us.
Instead, God wants us to change our focus from the fearful things of this earth to Him. Only when I look at my heavenly Father can I put all the threatening things that surround me in this world in the right perspective. It then will become real to me that:
- My heavenly Father loves me: “... for the Father Himself loves you” (John 16:27).
- He knows every one of my needs: “... for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32).
- He cares for me: “... casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
- He bears my burden: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden” (Psalm 68:19).
- He doesn’t want me to worry: “Be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6).
- He invites me to tell Him all my concerns: “... in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
- He is all-powerful: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
- He is well able to rescue me from whatever I face: “... our God whom we serve is able to deliver us” (Daniel 3:17).
- If He chooses for me to go through trials, He is with me and brings me safely through: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).
- There is nothing He would not do for me: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
Learning to focus on my heavenly Father will replace my fear with faith. Faith will enable me to rejoice and give thanks, like the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, because I trust Him to have a solution for me.
It will give me peace in the midst of a storm, because I know He can handle my situation.
It assures me that He knows all the unknowns of my life and that I am safe in His arms.
Faith is what pleases God and what moves His hand to work on my behalf (Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 21:22).
Faith is the shield with which I must protect myself during an attack from Satan. With it I will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
I challenge you to practice replacing your fear with faith. Each time your circumstances or imagination fills you with fear, stop entertaining your fearful thoughts. Instead, meditate on each of the Bible verses I listed about focusing on our heavenly Father.
As you do, look at your situation or fear in the light of each verse, and ask God to make His Word alive to you. If going through these Scriptures once is not enough to replace your fear with faith, do it five, 10 or 20 times—until your spirit is able to believe God’s Word. If the same fear attacks you two days, three weeks or five years later, go through the Scriptures again.
This is what I do when I am afraid or when faced with problems. The Scriptures I cling to may vary with different situations, but the end result must be faith; otherwise, there will be no victory.
After you have learned how to replace fear with faith, teach it to others so that they too will become strong in the Lord our God.
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