Faith over Fear… we’ve heard this said a lot this year as it relates to the pandemic. I find this phrase to be hurtful when it’s used in reference to those who are taking precautions that appear to others to be driven by fear. Faith over fear is Biblical and Scripturally sound advice when it’s used in context. The trouble is, there are a lot of things we say as Christians without considering the whole context of Scripture, and when we do that, we hurt others.
The Bible is clear that Christ followers are not to be fearful, but rather we are to trust God. Faith is belief that God is true to God’s Word. You may remember that Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by Satan in Matthew chapter 4. Satan told Jesus to stand on the highest point of the temple and “throw yourself down.” Satan even quoted Scripture promising God would save Jesus: “He will command his angels concerning you” (v.6). Satan essentially told Jesus to put “faith over fear” by suggesting that if Jesus threw himself over, God would save him. Jesus replied: “do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus did not put himself in harm’s way and then test God to save him, that is actually the opposite of faith because it demands God to prove God is trustworthy.
Sometimes, people make a case for faith over fear by arguing we all have a time to die and if it’s our time then it’s our time. We don’t attack people’s faith because they wear a seatbelt or watch their calories or get a mammogram, so this is an inconsistent and incomplete theology. The providence of God takes all of our actions into account. “God does not simply operate our wills or directly will for us instead of allowing us to will. That would hardly be consistent with the stress in Scripture on God given responsible freedom. If God were omnicausally and absolutely determining every event at this moment without any secondary causes, freedom would not be real, and therefore any assumption that persons are responsible for themselves would not be true. The Bible affirms in God we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 27:28). That does not mean that human choice is displaced or annihilated by the choice of God.” (Thomas Oden, Classic Christianity, 149). Faith assures us God is with us, God loves us, and God will ultimately bring everything to a good conclusion for us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
I pray that in 2022 we will go deeper in our faith. I invite you to study the Scriptures in context with me and apply them to the practical matters we face in our everyday lives. Start by signing up for The Anchored Newsletter at www.anchoredtochrist.org and follow me on social media @myramonroecarr. God bless you in 2022!