Faith vs Fear – Ps Kerrin Wallis

Episode Notes

Isaiah 41:10 – seems like a great place to start today with all that is going on in our world.

“10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (NLT)

You don’t have to look far this week to see people being affected by, living in, giving into, being held captive to fear!

  • Social Media – is full of fear.
  • The regular media is doing its best to fill people with fear.
  • Going to Woolworths this week was an eye opener to just how fear has gripped people’s lives in this current situation.

The great news for us as believers in Jesus is that we don’t have to live that way!

2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

“7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Fear is not God’s plan for our lives and in fact it directly opposes God’s intent for our lives which is that we should live with and by Faith! Fear and faith are in direct opposition to one another!

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

At a time when the world and those around us are filled with, affected by, and living in fear, this is exactly the time for believers in Jesus to demonstrate a life of faith and trust in God.

With instability all around us and people confused, wondering and unsure, we can show stability and have confidence in our rock, our strong refuge, in Jesus Christ!

There are so many differences between Fear and Faith, but this morning let me give you a few that I feel at this time are important to note.

1. Fear wants you to panic – Faith uses wisdom!

Again, you don’t have to look far right now to see people allowing fear to cause them to panic!

But panic never leads to good decisions. Panic causes people to make terrible decisions and leads to selfishness.

If we let fear rule in our lives it will lead to panic and bad decisions.

  • People will get into bad relationships because they are panicking that they will be left on the shelf.
  • I have seen people make terrible relationship decisions because they are afraid of being left on the shelf, no-one will love me, I need a relationship now!
  • People cause huge financial problems when they act in fear of not having, or missing out, or panic of what others think.
  • People leave jobs and run away from challenges because they allow fear and panic into their lives.

But if we embrace faith it causes us to use wisdom!

2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

“7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

(NLT)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

A sound mind! A mind that considers things, weighs them, has insight, gets good counsel, applies self-discipline – these are the things that lead to wise decision making!

Faith allows us to remove fear and so consider and weigh things against:

  • The Word and Promises of God.
  • The power of God who supplies ALL our needs, heals, rescues, is our strength
  • The proven history of Gods faithfulness.
  • All of these things then, mean we can live boldly, confidently and securely in God.

“Fear not, for I am with you, says the Lord…”

David talks about it in Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to his name.

4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Verse 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

When we find ourselves in a darkest valley, even a valley of the shadow of death, if we allow fear to set in and panic:

  • Panic will cause you to run away from God in hysteria and freak out, but then you have just run from the very thing that will protect and comfort you!
  • It is only faith in God, that keeps us close to the God who is the one offering protection and comfort.

If you find yourself in a valley or facing one, don’t run away in panic from the God who will keep and protect you. Stay close to Him!

Even at this time, don’t abandon your prayer, worship, giving, fellowship, but keep it up, keep close to God and His people and we can live lives of faith and wisdom regardless of what is going on around us.

2. Fear wants you to be ruled – Faith wants you to rule!

Fear never stays in one area of our life, but its plan is to take over, to rule, to dominate your life!

We give it an inch and allow fear of what people say about us into our lives,

  • Then before you know it, we are also afraid of what people aren’t saying about us!
  • Even worse if anyone says anything – we think it is about us!
  • Now even good things that people say we start looking for negativity in them and before you know it, allowing that one fear into our lives it now moves in and dominates our thinking!

But faith wants the opposite – faith wants us to rule in life!

Fear wants to hold you to the mercy of circumstances, opinions, negativity, surroundings, sometimes even totally imagined yet hasn’t even happened yet!

Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Jesus says in Matthew 10:28-31 (NLT)

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

God’s plan is that we live not ruled by fear, but that we should rule it!

The only way however to rule fear is with faith!

It takes faith to:

  • Look at an impossible situation and say I will trust God anyway.
  • Faith to face sickness, but trust God is in control.
  • Faith to be surrounded by challenge, but worship God anyway.
  • Faith to face financial challenges but continue to be generous
  • Faith to keep going another day, when you feel like you cannot.
  • Faith to refuse to give into negativity and doubt regardless of what we see.
  • Faith to trust God with our marriage when it seems too difficult.

All those things want to rule you, dominate your thoughts, take your courage, rob you of God’s blessing but God’s plan is that through faith you can rule over it!

It’s not that faith refuses to acknowledge reality, or circumstances, it just chooses not to be ruled by them!

And faith isn’t just about ruling fear, it’s about living a victorious life.

  • It’s about seeing the goodness of God, living with His blessing, believing for the impossible!

God is not some survival expert He is a generous, benevolent, faithful, powerful God who has plans for your life beyond what you can imagine!

Fear wants to rule you, but faith wants you to rule in life!

3. Fear wants you to be selfish – Faith wants you to be selfless!

If you take a look around you, you can see how when fear grips people. They panic, allow fear to rule them and it turns them into selfish people!

  • Again, the fact that perfectly healthy and capable people went and needlessly stockpiled with no thought to others, or particularly the vulnerable, that reveals to me unthinkable selfishness!

But that’s what fear does!

Wouldn’t you think that in a time of possible lack, people would do the opposite and choose less for themselves so that those in need, and the vulnerable could be cared for and looked after?

I think it’s a sad indictment on some of the prevailing selfish attitudes of people when our Prime Minister has to tell people to stop being so selfish and consider laws about it, rather than having people so rally around one another that we have more than enough!

But to me it’s simple, if you are ruled by fear, it wants you to be selfish and dominated by your own needs and possible lack – it drives people to horrible selfishness.

Faith, however, in a God who provides and a trust in the principles of generosity in God’s word, means we as believers can be:

  • Generous
  • Give to others first
  • Put others first
  • Sacrifice for others.

Know that God is our provider, not a supermarket chain, circumstance or this world!

1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Particularly at a time like this, let’s be the Church of Jesus with love and not fear!

Let’s go out of our way to make sure:

People are cared for.

People are looked out for.

We find those who are isolated or vulnerable and do what we can.

Let’s be the first to give up for others.

I honestly believe that we are in a unique set of circumstances that allow us a unique opportunity to show God’s love and power in amazing ways!

If we can choose not to fear, but to rise and live with faith in Jesus I believe we can reach many with God’s love and power in just such a time as this.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the statement that says fear and faith are in direct opposition to one another!
  2. Share examples of your experiences of seeing this in operation.
  3. Discuss how we as believers in Jesus can demonstrate a life of faith and trust in God.
  4. How will your lives change as a result of what is happening in our country today?