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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fear VS. Faith

We are intrigued by fear, aren’t we? We tune into TV shows like “Fear Factor,” ride the most thrilling roller coasters, and watch scary movies. We cheer the prospect of being victorious in overcoming our fears.

But real life fears can be different, seizing us and consuming our lives. I have a friend who confessed that she is gripped by fear, afraid of making mistakes as a mom and things happening to her children. Although she didn’t like the feelings of fear, it was apparent that she had come to a place of “living in it.” And, as she shared these feelings with a group of women, they drew the conclusion that fear is just a “normal” part of life and something we just have to live with.

Or is it?

What if……

What if it is NOT God’s plan for us to be afraid? What if fear is a ploy of the enemy to keep us in bondage, preventing us from experiencing true faith?

Fear is a choice. Are we going to live in it? Are we going to be in bondage to it?

The Bible tells of people who stood on faith, even when the most “logical” reaction to their circumstances would have been fear. Moses, Esther, Daniel, David, Jesus! Usually, life didn’t improve immediately when they chose faith over fear, but instead got worse! When our circumstances go from “bad to worse,” we need to continue to look to God, trusting in His plan, even if it “looks” different than we expect.

You may be wondering, “How do I CHOOSE faith or fear? I don’t have control over fear. I can’t help what I feel!”

First, we have to understand that God doesn’t want us to fear. He commands us continually to “fear not.” So, if fear isn’t from God, then what IS fear and where does it come from?

Webster’s defines “fear” as “a painful emotion excited by apprehension of impending danger; dread.” Fear is an emotion. We can control our emotions without THEM controlling us. Maybe you doubt that you have any say when it comes to your emotions. But, you control emotions all the time. Have you ever felt like crying in a public place, but you held back the tears? You know, biting your cheeks, breathing deeply until the tears subsided? You restrained the emotional feeling. Or have you ever felt like laughing but it wasn’t an appropriate time, so you pushed away the desire? We “rein in” our emotions all the time in daily life, often without even thinking about it. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit that comes with a relationship with God.

It helps to know where most fear comes from. There is Godly fear that is good if it is keeping us from harm. But, most times fear is a tool used by the enemy to weaken our faith. If you believe that you don’t have any control over your fear, the enemy can keep you in bondage to it. If I believe that I can’t do anything about fear, then I sink deeper into a pit of desperation, feeling like there is no way out. How do I replace fear with faith?

The first step to overcoming fear is to cry out to the Lord for help. “Perfect love casts out fear.” Who is perfect love? God is love! When we put our trust in God, He will help us to break through the fear, doing what He has called us to do. I don’t have the power to overcome my fear on my own, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all of my fears.”
Psalm 34:4

The next step to conquering fear is take authority over the enemy. Claim the power and authority you have in the name and the blood of Jesus as a child of God. The devil loves to prey on us when we are weak- tired, discouraged, sick, or emotional- imprisoning us to fear. We need to tell him to get lost!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my
heart will not fear. Though war break out against me, even then will I be
confident.” Psalm 27:1-3
We also need to replace lies with Truth. So often we build up circumstances in our minds until we have blown them up into imaginary monsters. Instead, we need to believe, speak, and live God’s Truth. When Jesus was tested in the wilderness, He battled Satan with the Word, quoting scripture. We need to do the same!

Name the fear. Don’t allow feelings of fear to remain hidden in secret places.
Replace the fear with truth. Speak out loud what God says about you and your circumstances.
Get an arsenal of scripture to meditate on and use to strengthen you. Here are a few:

“I am strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
“He that is in me (Jesus)
is greater than he that is in the world (Satan).”
“I am more than a
conqueror in Christ Jesus.”
“If God is for me, than who dare be against me?”
“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
“Fear of man will prove to
be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
“In God whose name
I praise, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
If we are going to choose faith over fear, then, as we put off fear, we must put ON faith. Romans tells us that ALL of us, every one has been “given a measure of faith.” All believers have been given faith by God. Romans also tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. When we meditate on God’s Word, it increases our faith! Finally, we need to continue to ask God to increase our faith and then to practice putting our trust in Him.

Father God, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus! Thank You that because You are on m side, I have nothing to fear! Lord, help me to take courage in You. Help me to face all of mu fears, becoming fearless. Forgive m lack of faith. Fill me with more faith. In Christ's Name I pray. Amen.

Questions to Ponder

1. What is it that you fear? Name your fear, asking the Holy Spirit to bring any hidden fears to your mind.

2. Do you believe that God can overcome all of these fears, any obstacle you may be facing in life?

3. What does God's Word say about your personal circumstance? Find at least 2 bible verses that address your fear. If you are battling fears about being a good mother, what are God's promises to you as a parent?

Are you thirsty for more? Please come visit me at my personal blog. I would love to chat more with you there!

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Blogger windycindy said...

This is definitely a post that speaks to me! I suffer from anxiety and many fears. Thanks for your inspirational thoughts. Cindi

September 2, 2008 at 12:55 AM  
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September 2, 2008 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thank you for sharing this, such a blessing.

September 2, 2008 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger Teri Washington said...

Thanks for sharing this timely message. With the economy as it is today, the enemy is using fear to tell us we will lose. But we know that He who has promised is faithful.

Be blessed,


September 2, 2008 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

What a wonderful post! I think as nurturing women we tend to gravitate towards fear. Years ago I had to face my fears about several issues. The fear that something bad might happen to a loved one. One of my children would be late getting home (pre-cell phone era) and I would immediately start building a scenerio in my mind that maybe they were laying upsidedown in their car in a ditch, or maybe they were abducted. I'd sit there dwelling on this scenerio and sit there in tears, consumed by the fear that something bad had happened.

It wasn't until I was able to acknowledge it as a sin that I was set free from the bondage of fear.

It still tries to raise it's ugly head, but I know how to bring every thought captive now and stop the thought from overtaking me.

Thanks for this post, Tracy.

September 2, 2008 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Love this, Tracy. I know so many women in the grip of fear, admittedly so. I will be passing this post on...

September 2, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Awesome devotion, Tracy. Your post ministered to me today. While my fears and phobias are not exactly addressed in the Bible, God's promises to me are. God is greater than all my fears and I must remember that. Thanks for the reminder!

September 2, 2008 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger JesusRulzMe said...

GREAT Devo Tracy! I think as women, we're more easily gripped with all sorts of fears...b/c as you said, it IS an emotion and we do tend to be quite emotional. But GREAT counsel on speaking truth and trusting God's truth over how we feel.

Bless you sweet sister,

September 2, 2008 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Mark and Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

This touched me. Like Marsha, I obsess about my kids's health and safety constantly. I read a prayer request today about an eleven year old boy with an eggplant size tumor next to his windpipe and I was absolutely certain that my 4-year-old's bee-sting scar is now eitaher skin cancer or some flesh-eating fatal disease. You've laid out exactly how we should deal with FEAR -- which is nothing more than lack of TRUST!

Biting cheeks to prevent tears? That's a new one. I'll have to try it. Pushing back the urge to lol!? That'll never happen! I've LOL sitting in the front pew at church. And I'm the Pastor's Wife!

September 2, 2008 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Tiffanie said...

I used to be the queen of "what if". The first scripture I ever memorized was Philippians 4:6-7 and God has changed my life through those verses.

What if can still creep up from time to time though... Thanks for the reminders of His truths and promises.

September 2, 2008 at 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please pray for this family. Carol has had her entire colon removed and she also had a bilateral masectomy. She is finished with her chemo infusions but is in constant pain.

September 4, 2008 at 8:20 PM  

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