Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
- TITLE: Fearful Or Faithful
By Doug Laird
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Fear is an inherent instinct that keeps one from unnecessarily placing oneself in harm’s way. This type of fear would be better perceived as “respect”. Fear can cause us to avoid the issue or source(s) of alarm, whereas “respect” would have us face and deal with what frightens us. Fear can be replaced with respect when our fears are properly addressed. Much of what we fear is based on a lack of knowledge or a perceived lack of control.
Anyone who has raised children can attest to the fact that parenting will put the most stable-minded and doctrinally-oriented parents to the test of their ability to deal with all that “might” happen as children are exposed to all sought of temptation and dangers, especially during the “invincible” teenaged years. While time may relieve us of the immediate exposure to the daily/nightly pressures associated with raising children, we will learn soon enough that as one stage of life’s problems are resolved, new, and often more intense ones are awaiting us just beyond the horizon.
It is normal to be afraid, but when fear dominates our thoughts, we surrender the peace and control of our minds to our circumstances. Satan knows the paralyzing effect that fear can produce in the realm of spiritual warfare.
Failing to address such fears can lead to phobias, in which the individual enters into an irrational or exaggerated sense of fear to the point that it negatively and unnecessarily impacts his/her life or the lives of others.
Fear can intensify when we are faced with situations when we have no control over what “might” happen. It is the perceived or actual loss of control that can send us into an emotional tailspin. Fear is very contagious and malignant. One flustered hen can stir up the whole coop into an uproar without even knowing the cause of alarm. Fear over one issue will soon spread to other areas as well.
So how is the “peace that surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4: 7 NASB)” obtained and retained in the midst of ANY circumstances?
The “short” answer of Scripture (Phil. 4: 6/1Pet.5: 7) is not to be anxious, place the matters in the hands of God via prayer, and then relax.
Did I hear someone say, “Easy to say, hard to do?”
Scripture (Matt.7: 24, 25) also teach that in order to be able to do this, one must first be doctrinally prepared and have the spiritual maturity to apply the doctrine(s) prior to the onset of the crisis. This requires a daily intake and application of the doctrine(s) to the events of everyday life. This is how God prepares us to do the same when crisis strike. Faith in applied doctrine is what resolves the issues of fear that may otherwise overcome us. More importantly, this is how God is glorified.
The antithesis of fear is faith. Faith refers to both WHAT we believe as well as the ACTION of believing it. More faith means less fear and visa versa.
It follows, then, that the degree of FEAR that we experience is based on our doctrinal ignorance or our lack of spiritual maturity to apply all that we claim to believe when put to the test. (Ouch!!!).
Acknowledging that the lack of faith in quantity, quality, or the spiritual maturity to make application as being the true source of our fear can be a painfully humbling experience. However, the humiliating pain is well worth the gain of maturing to the point in our walk with God that we can retain a relaxed mental attitude associated with the “peace that surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4: 7 NASB)” in the midst of great adversity as well as in the course of our daily lives.
Time and space do not permit an elaboration on such relevant doctrines as the Divine Decree(s) or the Sovereignty of God, but the bottom line is that God is in charge. Nothing can happen outside of His direct, permissive, or over-ruling will. Everything has a divine purpose and DISCIPLES are to here to do His will, not their own.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread (Psalm 27: 1 NASB).”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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