When it comes to living in fear or faith, it’s a very personal thing. You can be surrounded by people who are afraid yet be completely unaffected by it.

The converse is true, as well. You can be surrounded by people of great faith, but it has no impact or practical application to your life.

For example, I’ve heard it said that sitting in a church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car. It’s not what’s around you that affects you, it’s what’s inside you that makes the difference.

To live by fear or faith is totally up to you. It’s a choice you make daily, sometimes almost minute by minute.

But is living in fear or faith as binary as I portray it to be? Is it just one or the other? Is there another state of existence between fear and faith? Is there a neutrality in the human experience where neither fear nor faith reign?

I contend there isn’t, but you will have to decide for yourself. What you choose to believe is totally up to you.

But since this is my column (and you’re reading it), I’ll share with you why I believe what I believe.

Let me start with this verse:

“… whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b).

The implication of this verse is you’re either living by faith or you’re living in sin. You have to believe in your heart that what you’re doing is what God wants you to do. Otherwise, you are in error.

Many a preacher has used their pulpit to preach various “Biblical” rules. And the transgression of those rules, so they say, is sin. But Paul made a clear distinction in his message: It’s not obedience to rules, it’s our faith.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28 (NKJV)).

I just realized (as I’m proofreading) some may interpret Romans 14:23b to imply the opposite of faith is sin. I can understand the logic. However, I choose to think of it this way, fear and sin go together like faith and obedience. If you’re walking in obedience to the things God is telling you to do, you’re walking in faith. If you are not walking in obedience to what God tells you to do, fear is an eventual byproduct.

Before I get too far off track, let’s go back to my initial point: I am not compelled to live in your fears any more than you are obligated to live by my faith.

If you want to fear a disease, whether it be cancer, Crohn’s, COVID-19, or cataracts, that’s your choice.

If you want to fear lack, whether it be through inflation, insolvency, or indebtedness, that again is your choice.

If you want to fear people, whether is because they are grouchy, grumpy, greedy, or guilty, you can fear anyone and everyone you want.

But don’t assume your fears are going to affect me.

I have chosen to believe the Word of God over the words of men. And I live my life confident that the things He has promised in His Word, He is capable and willing to perform.

The King James Version says it this way: “… for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12b).

Why am I so confident in the promises of God?

Here’s how Paul put it: “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory” (2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)).

I could give you more scriptures, and they may help persuade you, but until you make a conscientious decision to believe, you will not.

You’ll be like Thomas who declared, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

Instead, you’ll believe the word of your boss or coworkers. You’ll believe the word of the news anchor or weatherman (like they’re ever accurate). You’ll believe almost anyone that speaks contrary to the Word of God. And then wonder why fear grips you at times.

I simply choose not to fear. Think of it this way, a boat doesn’t sink because it’s surrounded by water. It sinks when the water gets inside of it. A boat is designed to float on the water.

I am designed to live by faith and weather the storms of life like a great ship at sea.

I encourage you, Dear Reader, begin to speak the Word and promises of God over your life. Any situation where fear tries to enter, replace it with relevant scriptures.

King David sang, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalm 27:1).

I have made his song my own. And when fear does try to grip me, I sing this one, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psalm 56:3).

Tim Hughes is a lay minister and elder at Ascension Life Church in Athens. He can be reached at tim@thramb.com

Tim Hughes is a lay minister and elder at Ascension Life Church in Athens. He can be reached at tim@thramb.com

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