“What are you afraid of?”
We’ve all heard that question before. It’s the question that can nag at our souls and cause us to lose sleep at night if we allow it to. The question of, “what holds me back from doing x, y, or z?” And if we walk in step with Christ, we quickly realize that fear is always going to run in exact opposition to faith. Like oil and water, fear and faith just don’t mix.
I think there’s a value that society places on fear that can cause us to shrink back. “Healthy fear” is a term we mention when we say something or someone should be more careful because it’s actually a good thing. “Assessing the risks vs. benefits” is another: the idea that fear should play into whether a decision should come about or not. It seems in culture today, we’ve become calculated in our steps because we don’t really want to do something that might possibly take us outside of our comfort zones.
I’m intrigued by all of this because as Christians we start out in a place that is not birthed in fear. We talk about taking a “step of faith” when we come to Christ. It’s faith that compels us to trust in Jesus and to believe that He truly died to free us from a life of sin and bondage. It’s faith that brings us forward in deeper and deeper assurance of Who He is.
But fear raises its pesky head when we start to look all around instead of staying fixed upon the Lord. We find no solace as we look at the daily news headlines of our world: ISIS, nuclear proliferation, various pandemics…the list could go on. And as we assess our own lives we see many things which can invoke fear as well. A financial crisis, a broken marriage, an untimely diagnosis, or the loss of employment are all real things that we (or someone close to us) may feel at this very moment.
I love that the Bible does not steer clear of this issue but rather tackles it head on. And one of my favorite passages involving faith and fear is Jesus walking to the disciples on the water:
Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him,“command me to come to You on the water.”
“Come!” He said.
And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:27-33 (HCSB)
What becomes clear after reading this passage is that Peter had the faith to step out of the boat but fear ultimately caused him to stumble. Fear and a lack of faith made his water-walking debut a short one. His eyes started to drift off of Jesus and look at the circumstances around him. But what would have happened if Peter had kept his eyes on Christ?
What would happen for us if we never took our eyes off of the Savior?
This entry started with the simple question, “What are you afraid of?” I know today what makes me afraid. I think I know it all too well because much of my day is spent trying to fix it, solve it, and address it within my own power and strength. We see how well that turned out for Peter and perhaps this story is a daily reminder we all need.
I’m all about praying bold prayers. In fact, 2017 for me is about stepping out in boldness and in faith with the courage to know I serve a God who still performs miracles. I won’t lie…everyday is a struggle and the battle starts within my head to decide who or what I choose to follow. I think we all have that same choice today.
So what will it be for you? What is your bold prayer of faith and what fear(s) do you need to let go of? Can you trust Jesus through whatever you are facing and look to Him as a God Who still moves mountains?
I’m praying for you and cheering you on. Let’s step out together and live knowing that faith is greater than fear! I would love to connect with you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)