You have probably seen T-shirts, signs, and stickers with the saying “Faith over Fear.” These three little words have encouraged many of us at one point or another. It’s ironic, however, that oftentimes when we are filled with faith and feel reassured, something happens that fills us with fear.
In my January blog post, I mentioned that there are about 365 “Do not be afraid” or “Fear not” statements in the Bible, yet sometimes it seems like fear has the upper hand.
We know that the truth is that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and that we are more than conquerors through Him (Romans 8:37). That’s why it is important to understand what faith is so that we can overcome our fears. The Bible tells us we can live victoriously by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.
So, what is faith? According to the dictionary, “faith is a complete trust or confidence in someone or something,” and everyone has faith: faith in themselves or another person, faith in all kinds of institutions, faith in riches, in medicine, in knowledge and education, et cetera. But the faith of a Christian is in the triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That means we believe in God and trust Him to lead and guide us.
It is great to believe in God. But “even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). So, according to the Bible, faith is more than just believing in God.
Faith is an action word, something that we have to practice daily by “setting our minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). And we set our minds on things above by putting God first, by loving Him and our neighbors, because God is love, and “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
This life isn’t all there is. Everything on this planet is temporary, but life with God is eternal. If we focus on the things of this earth, we will be in constant fear, frustration, and disappointment because there is so much evil, pain, and tragedy. Our faith will be shaken, guaranteed, and we will feel as if God has abandoned us even though He promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
But you know what’s amazing? Jesus knows our faith will be shaken, so He is praying for us. Can you imagine? God the Son is interceding for us! We know this from his conversation with the apostle Peter where He knew that Peter’s faith would falter, and Jesus said, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32a).
We, too, have to pray for our faith not to fail, and we need to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a). And when we’re struggling with our faith, we can pray like the father of the sick child in Mark 9:24, and say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
The only way our faith will grow is by reading the Bible. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4) because “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). “And without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). So, if we choose daily to put Him first, to focus on Him, and to saturate our minds and hearts with His words and promises, our faith will grow, and this will please our God. And in the end, “The joy of the LORD is your strength,” and my strength (Nehemiah 8:10), the strength we all need to overcome our fears with faith in Him.