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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 NIV
We all experience fear at some point in our lives. Different things may frighten us but everyone feels afraid at one time or another. There is no sin in feeling afraid. Just like there’s no sin in feeling angry. When we are tempted we haven’t yet sinned. It’s what we do with the temptation that can lead to sin. In the same way, what we do with our anger – how we choose to handle it – determines whether we’ve sinned or not. Feeling afraid isn’t a lack of faith. But being afraid is.
There’s a difference between feeling afraid and being afraid.
The feeling of fear isn’t sinful. But our reaction to the feeling – what we do with it – can certainly lead us into sin. Feeling fear is a natural reaction to something that appears to be a threat. Being afraid is choosing to live in a state of fear. To then allow fear to determine our decisions. To shape the way we view life. And ultimately it will affect how we view and relate to God.
When we operate from a place of fear, we have allowed whatever we’re afraid of to become larger in our eyes than God. Somehow, we must perceive something as more powerful than God if we live in fear of it. If we live in fear of failure, then success has become larger in our eyes – more important than God. The truth is, that whatever we hold in higher esteem than God, becomes our god. And that is idolatry. Idolatry is sin. God clearly says so in His Word. It wasn’t the fear of failure that would have been sin, but the choosing to live from that place of fear.
So what should we do instead when we feel afraid? How do we keep from being afraid when we feel afraid? The emotion of fear is simply an indicator that our faith has begun to shift from God, to something else. It’s a warning. Just like the gas light on the car is a warning that you’re running low. You still have a chance to change course. To go and fill your tank. In the same way, when we feel fear, we get to choose our reaction. In the Psalm, David tells us how he chose to respond when feeling afraid. He would put his trust in God. When we feel afraid it’s a chance to take stock. To stop and pay attention to where we have begun to misplace our trust. We have the choice to take the fearful thought captive and to replace it with the Truth of God’s Word. To confess that truth and to live from a place of faith in God rather than fear.
Feeling afraid is something we all go through. But it’s what we do with the feeling that counts.
Love & Blessings,