Fear vs. Faith

21 Aug

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD you God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

What does this scripture mean to you? I don’t mean on a superficial, surface level. Dig deep. What does this mean to you? What sticks out about it?

Do you see the command?

Do you see the promise?

Do you see both and weigh them equally?

As Christians, we are given certain promises to live by and to take comfort in. However, many of us read promises like this one and only pick out the promise, not the command. It’s the same with scripture like Romans 8:28. If you ask most Christians, “What is Romans 8:28?”, do you know what the response generally is? “All things work together for good.”…Do you know what the actual answer is? “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” This, like Joshua 1:9 is a promise with a command attached. All things work for our good if we love God, seek God, and obey God. When we seek Him and we follow the will He has for each of our lives, that’s when all things work together for the good. This promise is not easy to swallow, but for me personally, I feel Joshua 1:9 challenges me to my core, to the very depth of my nature, which I figure is probably the point.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged…”

Ok, here is where it hurts.Firstly, every time I find myself reading this, I think of some way that I have doubted God. Either now or previously, it doesn’t matter, but one or more instances of spiritual insecurity jump into my mind. “Have I not commanded you?” Yes Lord, you have. You have commanded me to share my faith, do step out of my comfort zone and to live for you, no matter the cost. You have commanded me to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. You have commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. These commands are what you ask of me, and you ask me to do them with strength and courage, without terror or discouragement. I mean what have I to lose on this Earth? To live is Christ and to die is gain so what am I afraid of?

I feel that in this season of life, this is a lesson God wants me to not only learn, but it is a mountain that He wants me to conquer. And I may have just realized a way to start winning this battle of fear vs. faith.

It is a part of human nature to be afraid, especially when speaking with others. In the world today, more people are scared of public speaking than of death.Does it make sense? No. But no one said humanity, or life for that matter, should make any sense. It doesn’t make sense for the Almighty God of this universe to humble himself into human flesh, die on a cross, and rise from the dead because He loves us with a love that transcends all understanding. It doesn’t make sense for Him to love anyone on this Earth, especially me, knowing before I was born, the things I would do and the sins I would commit. But in the end, these things, all though they don’t really make sense, are the reality in which we live.

Anyway…while reading over this verse again today, which has been tugging at my heart for a while, I realized something in the text which I am not sure that I noticed before. It says “…for the LORD…” The LORD is different from the Lord. When it says LORD, it means the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHWH, which no one knows the actual pronunciation for, most of us say Yahweh. This LORD is referred to in Exodus 34:6b-7a! “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.”

He has compassion for me and for you.Compassion and grace. The compassion that it took so that grace could come down to a sinful Earth and for God to die on a cross to make atonement for our sin. That is compassion beyond anything that I could ever comprehend. He is slow to anger…which in other words means that He is patient beyond comprehension. So when we mess up and truly repent for our sins, He still loves us because He knows us and is patient with us. He is abounding in love and faithfulness. He is filled to the brim with love for His children. He will never leave nor forsake us. And to wrap this up “maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.” I know of examples of this in my own life, but lets draw some Biblical examples. The children of Israel are God’s chosen people. He has maintained this love forever. They rebelled and sinned when they worshiped the golden calf while Moses received the Ten Commandments, but the Lord forgave them. Did they have to deal with the consequences of their sin? Yes, but He never stopped loving them. This is the God that we serve. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He heals the broken, saves the lost, and loves the unloveable. We were saved by this God.

So next time I want to bite my tongue because I am scared of what people may think of me, I will think of who I serve and why. I will remember that I break a commandment of the most high God when I doubt His sovereign hand. I will remember that I am not of this world and that the Lord is with me and that He PROMISED to always be with me. What can man do to me? And I will speak the gospel to people with no shame and no fear because, He died for me and it’s my turn to live for Him. As Caleb so eloquently put it…Give me my mountain!

“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?”

Psalm 27:1


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