You may have noticed that I wonder a lot. A bit like a young child with an insatiable curiosity, my mind circles around all kinds of questions.
Sometimes, I think deeply about topics that truly have little effect on my everyday life.
- How do they know all snowflakes are unique?
- Why do we need to dream?
- How does something happening hundreds of miles away show almost instantaneously on my television? (Okay, I know I could research this one, but the science behind it may well be beyond my non-scientific brain capabilities.)
Other times, my thoughts and questions are initiated by television shows, movies, and books. I wander through the myriad of issues, asking myself tough questions:
- What would I do if I became a victim of criminal activity?
- Would I work with law enforcement to prosecute the offender?
- Could I stand up to the bully — even if they threatened my life or the lives of those dearest to me?
Let’s make the question less morbid and disconcerting. What about speaking up for our faith, to friends, in pleasant discussions with coworkers, or non-threatening situations with strangers? Do you confess your belief in the Bible and trust in Jesus?
Trust: Faith in Action
Trust is faith become absolute, ratified, consummated. . . . Trust is firm belief, it is faith in full flower. ~E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer
Chaplain and Pastor Edward Bounds wrote in his book The Necessity of Prayer, “Trust is a conscious act, a fact of which we are sensible.”
If we truly possess faith, we act. When we fail to act, we prove our hearts struggle with faith. LIke so much in faith, it’s a trust issue: Do you really trust God, and what He says in the Bible?
A Biblical Warning
In all of this, we must consider what God says in the Bible.
Revelation 1:1-2 tells us:
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.
And in Revelation 21:6, 8, John records these harrowing words.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
The first group listed is the cowardly, but what does that mean? The ones who lived life afraid? Perhaps the ones who struggled with fear? Or something more?
Insight from the Greek
The word the John used is deilos, a family of words that isn’t used much in the New Testament.
For example, Jesus used it in Matthew 8:23-27 (also told by Mark and Luke) after he calmed the storm. This is the storm that Jesus slept through even though it was ferocious enough to terrify men raised on the Sea. When they woke Him, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid [deilos]?”
Paul uses it in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 as he encourages young Timothy in his pastorship. He writes:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.
“When Rev. 21:8 places the fainthearted and the unbelieving in the lake of fire, it has in view Christians during times of persecution who, out of a fear of suffering, renounce their faith. It is a commonplace that human courage and cowardice are revealed in the face of death.”
Now What? Not more fear.
Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
However, the command given most often in Scripture is Do not fear. While that’s easy to remember, it’s not so simple to put into practice. Here are three tips to help.
1. Read and consider other points of view.
This can be tough, particularly when the person you are reading or listening to espouses something completely antithetical to you. But, just because they believe differently doesn’t mean they are wrong or don’t have valid points you need to consider.
2. Take Davy Crockett’s advice.
The nineteenth-century folk hero from Tennessee lived by a simple motto that guided him as a man, a soldier, and a politician. Be always sure you’re right—then go ahead.
3. Trust God.
The Bible offers many promises. This week might be a good time to start committing some of them to memory, especially ones that remind you God will give you the words you need, He will defend you as necessary to His plan, and His plan is always good.
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks is right. Determining ahead of time what your answers will be when the enemy throws fear in your face is one of the surest ways to defeat the schemes that seek to distract, neutralize, or victimize you.
Faith in action is as simple as actively trusting God, and it displays itself in the choices we make each day to face our fears. You can do this! I’m cheering you on.
In my Embers series, Deputy Fire Marshal Cassandra McCarthy never thought she’d be raising her two daughters alone, but her husband’s unexpected death forced her to find a career.
Now working beside a retired Special Operations soldier and veteran fireman, she serves her small North Carolina town, protecting them from hazards they don’t understand. She loves what she does and trusts God to provide—until a hurricane and a series of unexplained fires hit too close to home.
What will it cost Cassandra to protect the citizens of Silver Heights?