– Max Lucado
Fear of God over Man
Proverbs 29:25 says “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe,” and that has proven true time and time again for me. I don’t know how many times I was hesitant to witness to people because of the fear of rejection, but then I thought they are really rejecting Christ and not me, as Jesus said, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; but whoever rejects you rejects him who sent me” (Matt 10:40). The religious leaders in Jesus’ day didn’t follow Jesus because they “loved human praise more than praise from God” (John 12:43), and many “would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). We must fear God, which means having a deep, abiding reverence and respect for Him and His Word.
Faith in God over Circumstances
When the disciples were in the boat with Jesus and the storm threatened to sink their boat, they feared what they saw instead of looking at Jesus (Matt 8:24). Did they really believe that the boat would sink with the Son of God aboard? They feared their circumstances instead of having faith in Jesus. Right after Jesus rebuked the storm, He rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith in God (Matt 8:26). Instead of my looking at the disciples and saying “shame on them for their lack of faith,” I should say “how much am I like them when the storms of life hit?”
Faith in His Promises
God’s promises are always sure, and He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5), but when troubles come–and they come to every child of God–we often shift our focus to the problems and not His Word. God says about His own promises through Paul, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20).
Faith in His Purposes
Trees use the wind to grow stronger. A few years ago when there was an atrium that was a self-contained unit, the trees began to die, and they couldn’t figure out why. What they discovered was that the trees needed some sort of resistance from the wind so that they would grow stronger. Scientists have discovered that the most rapid time of growth for trees is not just after a rain or during sunny days; rather, trees grow the fastest during times of strong winds. It is in their resistance that they become stronger. The same is true for believers. We must realize that everything that happens is going to work out for our good, as Paul wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
Fear is a killjoy. When our fear is stronger than our faith, we have taken our eyes off of Jesus and put them on the storm like the disciples did when they were with Jesus in the boat. We can trust God no matter what things look like. If we understand that fear is the opposite of faith, we can pray for God to increase our faith, and He will.