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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

15 Jul '11

What makes the difference between those who live with faith and those who live with fear?

Posted by T.J. Addington in faith, The heart, trust
For believers this is a profoundly theological and personal question. Just think about conversations you have or hear: fear about the economy; fear about illnesses; fear that one won't have enough money in retirement; fear of travelling because of terrorism.

Then think of how amazingly cautious we can be in ministry settings from taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zone. What if we fail? We've never done that before! It's too risky! We don't have the money! And the hundred and one objections that often meet a new idea for ministry.

Why do so many people live fearful and cautious lives? Why do so many like to live in their comfort zone? Here is what they don't get. There is much to be fearful of in this world. All kinds of things can and will go wrong - I can attest to that many times over. But, when we are living with the Lord of the Universe resident in our hearts through the Holy Spirit we have no need to fear - ever. After all, we have in our lives, dwelling in us, the all powerful, all sovereign, all knowing, all loving God of the universe. There is much that we cannot handle. He can handle everything!

I said that this is a theological issue and it is. The most repeated command in Scripture is "fear not," "do not be afraid," and it is often accompanied by "for I am with you." When Joshua took over from Moses God told him "Be strong and courageous - three times. Why? Because "the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 16:6-9)." When Jesus gave us the great commission, he finished with these words, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

The bottom line is that fear is a denial of God's presence, power, promises and plan for us and our world. It is a denial of His divinity and sovereignty. It is a statement that we cannot trust the One who made us and saved us. If we cannot trust him with our situation today, how can we trust him for our salvation? He is either trustworthy or He is not.

How do I combat fear and live more fully in faith?
First, acknowledge the fears you have - whatever they are. Give them to God, ask Him to forgive you for not trusting and ask Him to help you live in faith rather than fear.
Second, memorize a few key passages from Scripture that tell us to fear not for He is with us.
Third, when your mind goes to fear or doubt intentionally and immediately ask God for the faith to trust Him.
Fourth, Ask God for situations where you are forced to trust him and grow your faith. The more we learn to trust the greater the faith we have.

A word to ministry leaders. Congregations and ministries take their faith cues from those who lead them. When they are courageous their followers will be courageous. When they believe for great things, their people will believe for great things. We set the tone for the level of faith or the level of fear. Where we live on this issue will determine where our organization will live as well.