Faith Versus Fear

Today I read Deuteronomy 1-2 and Mark 12. Both passages this morning have to do with faith and trust. In Deuteronomy, Moses is recounting the history of the children of Israel as he delivers to them his final speech before dying. He reminds them of how God rescued them from the Egyptians and how even though he had been faithful to them, they lacked faith when it counted the most. They were too afraid to enter the land that God had told them to conquer because they were looking at it from their own strength and began to complain and look at the impossibilities instead of the possibilities. This paralyzed them and, as a result, God did not allow that entire generation to get into the promised land. Then in a fit of regret they decided to go and do what God had told them to do in the first place, this time again, against what God said they should do and they were defeated heavily.

As I think about the lack of faith of the Israelites it is interesting to note that not only did they face the huge consequences of their lack of belief by not getting to go into the land, but their children also suffered for 40 years while they literally waited for their parents to die off so they could have a permanent home that God had arranged for them. 40 years is a long time for anyone no matter how long you may live and here were kids who probably had the conversation with their parents about why they didn’t believe God.

I don’t think I have linked non belief with consequences to myself and others before. Sure I could see how I might suffer by not getting to experience all God has for me and wasting portions of my life and the talent God has given me all because I allowed my fear and the thoughts that go with it to drown out my trust in God and the possibilities that go along with serving a God for whom nothing is impossible. But when that lack of faith is translated to others and how they might suffer from my lack of faith, I find that this is even more serious than the consequence I would self inflict. How might others suffer? Well what if there were many people who needed whatever it was I felt God was calling me to do but I felt, for whatever reason, that I couldn’t make it happen? I know God could work out other arrangements but how would he respond to a conversation with him about not only letting Him and myself down, but also the others for whom my actions would have an impact?

That just weighs very heavy on my heart right now and I can see where I have lived both in faith and fear even in the recent past. I lived in fear of starting this couples ministry because I didn’t know what was the best way to do it, I didn’t want to fail, and I felt a lot of pressure to make sure this worked to prove I was the guy who could lead it. I then lived in faith when I stuck to my guns and did it the way I thought God had placed on my hear to make it happen and it has resulted in a great resource to the couples in our church and in other places. In both situations I experienced a great amount of pressure and naysayers, yet in the case of stepping out in faith, I am now able to see the results of that faith in the lives of those who are being touched. It is important that I walk by faith and not by fear and obey God when I feel him calling me to do something.

Lord, help me to be a man who hears your voice and responds in faith. Keep me from allowing my fears to keep me from doing what I know is right even if it may be an uncomfortable road to getting there. Amen.
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