Fear or Faith
By: Emily Dean
Ladies, I want to share with you about something I am really good at. In fact, I could really consider myself an expert in this. I am really good at being afraid. Anyone know what I’m talking about? Have you ever felt so well acquainted that fear could be your constant companion? Whenever a frightening situation comes up, I know immediately how to be afraid. What I’m not always so good at is exercising faith in the midst of fear.
Since childhood I have experienced all kinds of fears: fear of the dark, fear of bad weather, fear of mice (what can I say…I grew up in the country!), fear of people (people pleasers, anyone?), and fear of public speaking just to name a few. The last one is the most ironic because as a ministry wife and teacher I have found myself in front of more than my share of crowds! Where we are weak, He is strong!
What God has taught me is that I can’t just wish away my fear or pretend it’s not there. Believe me, as soon as I think I have one fear conquered; another one pops up! Instead, I have to practice faith despite my fear. God does not always remove my frightening circumstances, but He is with me guiding me with His peace each step of the way. As I have continued to seek the Lord in the area of practicing faith over fear, I have come to realize that the Bible talks a whole lot about fear. In fact, the Bible mentions fear in terms of being afraid of something well over 100 times. So if you ever feel afraid of anything, you are in good company with many heroes of the faith!
Here are few steps God has taught me in battling fear from some of my favorite verses that I hope will encourage you too:
1) Run to the Lord with your fear
Psalm 34:4 reminds us that God will deliver us from our fears. He may not remove the frightening circumstance, but He will help us through it. He provides us the peace that we need to face any difficult situation. In John 14:27(CSB) Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or afraid.” It’s great to get godly counsel from friends and family in times of distress, but Jesus is the only One who can fill our hearts and minds with His unexplainable peace. Run to Jesus when you feel afraid.
2) Refuse to give in to fear
One of my favorite verses about fear is tucked into a whole discourse about women. In 1 Peter 3:3-6 Peter speaks to women about focusing more on inward character than outward appearance. Then at the end of verse 6, he reminds women not to give in to fear. I always find this intriguing. Isn’t fear an emotional tendency given to women? I mean men experience fear too, but I read recently where women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder than men. What that tells us is that women driven by emotions will be afraid! We have to make a conscious effort to refuse to give in when fear threatens to take over thoughts.
3) Choose to walk in faith not fear
Psalm 112:7(CSB) states, “He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord.” My daughter wanted to write this one on our verse board at home recently when we had severe tornadoes a few miles from our house. She said it was a good verse for the day. I thought, praise the Lord she is learning where to turn when she is afraid! Over and over in Scripture, God reminds us that He is with us when we face scary circumstances. In Isaiah 41:10 (CSB) God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” How can it get any better than that? To think…the God of the whole universe holding our hand?
So I just want to encourage you today to let God hold your hand. Don’t let fear keep you from acting in faith to whatever God calls you to do. God will keep giving you new assignments until He takes you home. It could be that He has a new adventure waiting for you as soon as you just take a step of faith.
Emily Dean has been a ministry wife serving churches with her husband Jody in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi before transitioning to her current role as a Professor’s Wife, Coordinator of Women’s Programs, and Adjunct Professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She and Jody, along with their two precious children Lydia and James Robert, live in New Orleans where Jody serves as assistant professor of Christian Education at NOBTS. Passionate about training people how to study and teach God’s word, Emily currently teaches at NOBTS in the Women’s Ministry and Ministry Wife Programs.