If there is such a thing as one main problem that faces people world over, it’s the problem of fear.
Every day we are challenged to conquer our fears. And yet oftentimes they conquer us. I’ve found there are three things that go on inside when fear conquers you.
- You become paranoid. Fear makes you wonder what other people are saying or thinking about you. Fear has a way of making you feel like you’re on the outside. Fear makes you question other people’s motives and actions. Why didn’t they speak to me? Why did they speak to me? Why didn’t they compliment my clothing? Why did they say something about what I wear? Paranoia is a sure sign that fear is working on your heart.
- Fear makes you prejudiced. It is true that we fear the things we don’t understand. We fear the unfamiliar. We fear people who look, sound, and think differently from us. That’s fear’s job – to isolate and polarize people from people.
- Fear makes us feel powerless. It’s fear that tells us that we’ll never get another job, that we’ll never find a mate, that our children will never get on the right path, or that our best days are behind us.
The only antidote to fear is faith; and not just any kind of faith. It’s what I call a first-hand faith.
A lot of us live with second-hand faith. That is faith that has been handed down to us by our parents, or our families, or even our spouse. The truth is, faith doesn’t work that way. Another person can’t believe for you, can’t do your choosing for you. Faith is first-hand and personal, or it’s nothing. We talked about the three evidences of first-hand faith.
- The first evidence is confidence. We used Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter. And it said that the early men and women of God were famous for their faith. They had an unshakeable confidence in who God was and what He would do on the basis of His character. For example, God can always be trusted to be who He is and do what He does. So the question is, who is God, and what does He do? We know that God is creative, He’s loving, and He’s just. We know that those qualities will always be expressed in how he deals with us and with those around us.
- The second evidence of faith is conviction. Conviction simply means that this is what I know God has led me to do. This is a little trickier because often times we excuse what we do by saying, “God told me.” But this is something that is deep, personal, and abiding; an inner conviction that not only should something be done, but this should be done by me, here, in this moment. It’s the faith that gives us the confidence to take the right risk.
- The third evidence is commitment. It’s when we actually act on our faith, when we do something that backs up our profession. It’s where belief and behavior come together in one beautiful expression of a life filled with joy, happiness, and confidence in the will of God.
If I were you, I wouldn’t be wearing any “No Fear” t-shirts, because no fear is not the object. The object is to conquer the fears that conquer us, and to do it day by day, as we develop a first-hand faith.