FEARFUL AND FAITHLESS
FEARFUL and FAITHLESS… two words that I am oh too familiar with. They used to be words that I kept near and dear to my heart. I know it seems a little weird to say that considering that the title of my blog is Fearless Faithful Following. However, I would be lying to you if I claimed to be a fearless and faithful follower of Christ my WHOLE life. If that was the case, then I would be perfect and you and I both know that isn’t true. I used to be a natural pessimist. Yes I know, you’re probably thinking, “There’s no way!?” Yes it’s true! I would always immediately see the worst of every situation or instantly think of all the things that could go wrong rather than go right. And if I’m honest, the old pessimistic Ashley is a person I have to fight to overcome on regular basis. She occasionally tries to resurrect herself.
I say all of this to let you know that fear is something I encounter and deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY. Becoming faithless is something I battle to overcome every day that I breathe. Being a consistent follower of Christ is a task that takes tremendous effort, diligence and constant discipline to maintain. But I have learned and now know whole heartedly that through the power and love of Jesus Christ, I can be fearless and faithful in my following towards Him. Not because of anything of me but because everything that is within Him.
MY STRUGGLE WITH FEAR
Can I be real with you for a second? When I first started this project of creating my blog my desire was to simply glorify God through my writings and to help encourage others. I had no idea that the Lord had other plans for my blog. The Lord wanted me to step out on faith and trust Him with this process. To expand and use all the resources I knew to help reach as many people as possible. I thought, “Surely Lord, you can’t mean me? You really want me to do all of this?” This all was so new for me. I didn’t know anything about blogging. I just had a God that I loved, and passion to pour out the words that He placed on my heart.
As soon as I made the commitment to trust in the Lord and step out on faith with this project, the Devil knew he had his work cut out for him. So he brought out the big guns. He started to place thoughts of fear, doubt, worry, and insecurity within me. Every time I tried to do something, I constantly had thoughts that were trying to counteract the very thing I was trying to do. Thoughts like, “Ashley, you’re not a good writer. Who in the world would want to read what you have to say?” or “You will fail. This project will never work. It’s just some lame idea you have in your head.”
It wasn’t easy. I’m going to keep it real with you. There were MANY times…MANY TIMES that I succumbed to the negative and doubting thoughts that I had within my head. I even got so low at times, that I literally thought of throwing in the towel and quitting everything! (For a moment, there was no longer going to be any such thing as Fearless Faithful Following. Thankfully God didn’t let that happen). Even in my moments of giving up and my low moments, what kept me was the Word of the Lord and the constant reminder that the Lord was ever before me and with me.
Now looking back on everything, I am soooo thankful for this process the Lord allowed me to go through. Through it I learned and am still learning so many valuable lessons. Like Paul talks about in the New Testament, every moment of suffering and testing is for the good of a Christian. When we are tested we are able to be built up in Christ, in His love, in His character, and in His comfort. (2 Cor 1:3-11) And the comfort and love I received I now want to impart that same love and comfort upon you.
MY ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU
I want you to know that faith and fear is something that every child of God has experienced at some point in time in their life, and if they’re honest it’s a complex that they face daily. Some of the greatest Christians that have ever lived encountered fear. Remember Abraham? When God told him to leave his town and pick up everything and head to a new place, do you think Abraham didn’t have moments of fear, doubt, or worry (Gen 12:1-3)? Or when God instructed him to sacrifice his one and only son (Gen 22)? What about Elijah? Remember when he fled and asked the Lord to let him die because Jezebal had put a death sentence out for him (1 Kings 19: 1-5)? You think he wasn’t afraid? Or what about Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6)? You think he didn’t have a moment of doubt and fear that the lions would attack him? What about Peter, Paul, John? All the apostles? When they were persecuted for Christ’s sake and had to flee to different cities (Acts 4, Acts 21)? You think they didn’t experience moments of fear? The Israelites (Exodus 15-16)? Moses (Exodus 3)? The list goes on and on.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. In no way am I condoning fear or the practice of it. Fear is not from God and it is not something God wants for His children. However, I want you to see that in your battle of overcoming and facing fear you are not alone. You are not the first person to experience it nor will you be the last. Fear has been in existence from the very moment sin entered the world (Gen 3:8-10). However, fear will never be victorious over the Lord and over His word. It’s not by chance that one of the most common scriptures and phrases in the bible are the words, “Do not be afraid.” (Deut 31:6, 1 Chron 28:20, Isaiah 41:10) Why would God tell us not to feel something, if we weren’t experiencing it? He knows the creature He created. God understands that we are flawed creatures in need of Him, His Word, His love, and His strength.
But here is the good thing in all of this! Fear and faith is something that you have the ability to choose. You have a choice to choose the one that you want to live out. You can either choose fear or choose faith. Fear DOES NOT HAVE to dominate you if you don’t want it to. God is so loving, so merciful, and so wonderful that for every sin, challenge, or difficulty, He always gives a solution and a way to overcome it.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
The solution to fear is FAITH. Faith will fight for you, and will knock down every brick of fear that tries to build itself in the walls of your heart. When faith is present, fear has no defenses…it is completely hopeless and powerless. The bible lets us know that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”(Rom 10:17). So that means that it is through and in the Word that faith is produced and can be strengthened. God’s Word is the most powerful thing there is. “The Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edge sword.” (Heb 4:12) I had to learn that whenever fear tries to make a place within my heart I have to immediately defeat it with the Word of God. Literally, there have been moments where I had to talk out loud and repeat the Word of God to myself. I knew those thoughts of fear weren’t from the Lord and I didn’t want to feed them or let them fester within me because they would only grow.
As Christians we have to fight!
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Thoughts of fear do not have to be entertained. WE have a choice. WE can reject fear and choose to trust in the Word of The Lord. God did not create you or me to be fearful or faithless. The bible lets us know that
“God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) “Perfect love cast out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
God is our perfect love, and where there is love fear cannot be present. When we embrace and truly understand the amazing love and power we have through God, it will demolish every inch of fear that tries to heighten itself. We were not created out of fear but out of love. And God, He created us to be fearless and faith-filled! So we must live in such a way that we understand whose we are and the power and love He has given us.
The key to becoming a fearless and faithful follower of Christ is in relying on the Lord and in His Word. It is through His power and His strength that we are able to be those things. I know it’s not always easy to defeat feelings of fear or moments of fear, but God did not say overcoming fear would be easy but that it would be possible to overcome through Him. So my friend, I want to leave you with these words. You were created out of the amazing love, power, and strength of God. You were not designed to be afraid or fearful. You serve a God that is greater than anyone or anything. With that being said, what is there to be afraid of? God wants you and I to trust in His power, His love, and His Word. He wants our hearts toward Him to be faith-filled and fear-less! With Him and through Him we can be those things. Saturate your heart with God’s Word and always trust God and take Him at His Word. He is faithful. He can be trusted and He cannot be defeated. Choose FAITH over FEAR. Choose to be a FAITHFUL, FEARLESS FOLLOWER for Him. For that is what you were designed to be. #BeEncourged #F3 #FearlessFaithfulFollowing
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:1, 6)