Thursday, April 18, 2013

Faith vs. Fear

~ A Matter of Trust ~   

Christianity has many paradoxes—dueling truths. Some find such a conflict in having faith in God while having a fear of God. The “fear” of God is better considered a reverence for Him, His majesty, and deserving of our respect and trust. “Faith” in relation to Christianity could be defined as “trust.” For example, you may have faith in someone you do not know. A person may purchase something over the phone from a person they’ve never met and have faith that they will do as promised. But can you really trust a person you do not know?

Trust is a relational term. This is one reason why those who do not have a loving earthly father may find it hard to trust a  heavenly Father. We fear a person or trust a person based largely upon what we have heard and believe about that person.

Example 1  ~  Consider the account we find in Numbers 13. Moses had sent twelve men to scout out Canaan (13:17-19). Ten of the twelve came back with a negative fearful report. The result was predictable. Most of the Israelites became fearful. Later in the account we find that Joshua and Caleb, the two scouts who trusted God in that same situation, were rewarded by God and entered into the promised land. This is a beautiful picture of Christians who have trusted God and will one day enter the promised eternal New Jerusalem.

God’s people are called to trust God with their everyday life and their future. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, I suggest you read the rest of Hebrews 11). 

Example 2  ~  Remember the account of the disciples out on the Sea of Galilee when the storm arose. “But He [Jesus] said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” (Mark 4:40-41).

the heart of the matter:  Bad things happen when there is a lack of trust. This all started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve did not trust God at His word. In this account we find Satan’s first lie to mankind. 

And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:2-6).

application:  Are you fully trusting God and His Word? Are you fearful? If so, can you identify the area of your lack of trust? 

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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