Joshua 2:11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things... (NLT)
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV)
We are living in an era of unprecedented fear. Like most of you, I watched New York’s Twin Towers collapse from the terrorists’ attacks. This assault closed the door to innocence and opened the deadly door of fear that America never knew prior to the incident. On September 11, 2001 fear gained a voice in America from which we have yet to recover.
Fear has little effect until it’s given a voice. Stand in a crowded room and yell “Fire!” and watch chaos take over. Granted, looking at an inferno does perpetuate some fear, but when you give it a voice fear takes control of the entire situation.
My Mom was terribly afraid of water and like most little boys, I loved it. When I was young, every summer I lived with Mom’s persistent warning, “Billy, be careful around the water. You may drown! You don’t know how to swim, and even if you did, people who swim drown every day!”
I’d grab an old inner tube my Uncle Claude gave me and head for Happy Lake, the community swimming hole. But as I got older I enjoyed the swimming hole less and less. With Mom’s words resonating in my mind, I hesitated to even try to learn to swim. The older I got the more I resisted it until finally, I was a robust sixteen year old boy afraid of water. Why? Fear of water found a voice in my Mom, and finally a root in my heart. Because of fear, I never learned to swim well enough to enjoy it.
Surprisingly, fear and faith are transmitted the same way. Both require a voice to multiply and be effective. “Faith comes by hearing,” says Paul. Faith cannot spread unless someone gives a voice to the Word of God. Once faith has spoken, it will find root in the good ground of a receptive heart and grow abounding fruit. Likewise, fear does the same thing. The negative report of fear is easily received and believed. “Our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things." Once fear is communicated, courage is banished unless the shield of faith is proclaimed to protect the warrior.
I was a good athlete, so I knew my swimming skills were not limited due to a lack of ability. Early on, I realized that Mom’s fear became my reality. She voiced her fears, then I believed her fears. On the other hand, when my kids were young I determined to do the opposite of Mom. From an early age, every time I took my kids to a swimming pool I encouraged them to have fun in the water. In the shallow end of the pool I’d splash and splatter, then persuade them to try to swim in the deep end. I want to go on record and say, “MY KIDS CAN SWIM!” They do not fear water. Why? Because I gave a voice to faith rather than fear.
Fear has plenty of voices today. Just listen to the evening news. A bad economy, terrorists’ threats, and nuclear dangers fill the reports. Everything we eat causes cancer and the air we breathe is dangerously polluted! Global warming is melting both poles, major cities on both coast lines are in danger of encountering Tsunamis, and we make our kids stay indoors for fear that a meteorite may fall on them. (Ponder that last one…it’s meant to be ridiculous.)
Let me ask you a question. Besides your family, what and who is the first voice you listen to as you begin your day? I hope you don’t say “The Morning News.” I used to be a Morning News junkie myself. For years Karen warned me about filling my head with negative information as I began my day. I protected my habit in the name of being an “informed Christian leader.” I finally listened to her advice and it makes all the difference in the world. My “faith meter” rose tremendously when I allowed the word of faith rather than GMA to be the first voice to speak into my life every morning. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." If you’ll find time, even a small amount of time, to put God’s Word first it will give a voice to faith and quash the voices of fear.
What fears are you hearing and giving voice to? There’s plenty of fear to choose from. If you’ll give a voice to faith, believing that God is a good God and that He’ll do good things on your behalf, faith will loom over fear. It’s all in what you listen to and what you speak.
Because of technology, fear has a voice louder than any other time in history. But then, so does faith. Which one are you listening to? The one you listen to is the one you’ll give voice to. The one you give voice to is the one you’ll spread to your children and to everyone else around you.
My kids can swim because I gave faith, rather than fear a voice into their life.
Who are you listening to and what are you speaking, faith or fear?
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I loved this. I have so many "hang ups" from childhood. In my parenting, I am trying to make sure that my girls will always remember walking with the Lord. It will be like swimming. They won't be uncertain or scared, they'll just jump right in!