Fear or Faith? (How are you doing in living out your trust in Jesus?)

Fear or Faith? (How are you doing in living out your trust in Jesus?)

by Pastor Kurt Ebert on June 01, 2024

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.” … “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 11:1, 12:1-2).

How do you approach life? Do you approach it based upon fear or faith?
We all know that when Jesus Christ called us to faith, he called us to an ongoing path of change and development. As Luther put it in the first of his ninety-five theses, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

The Christian life isn’t a one and done kind of thing. It is an ongoing path of growth. We can say that when it comes to living out our faith, we are all “works in progress.” The Holy Spirit continually shapes, molds, and refines us by His powerful working in our lives. But I guess the question I’m really wrestling with is this, “What is my motivation to change? Do I want to change only because I’m afraid or do I want to change because I trust that God desires something better for me, my life, my family, my church, my community, and my world?”

I don’t want to change simply because I don’t like the outlook around me (a fear-based response). I want to change because I want to serve Jesus faithfully (a faith-based response). But the truth is that change can be scary. Change can be difficult. Change can be uncertain. Change by its very nature forces me out of my comfort zone and past my routine but isn’t that also the beauty of change? Change makes something “more” out of us. Change can stretch us, grow us, and shape us for the bigger dreams that God has in store for our lives.
While I desire to respond by faith that doesn’t mean that fear has been removed. We can all relate to the father in the ministry of Jesus who was struggling with the fear of what was happening to his sick and struggling son. In a moment of vulnerability and authenticity the man cried out to Jesus, “I believe, but help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b).

Maybe our struggle between living by faith versus living by fear may be best summarized in an illustration that I’ve heard from several different places, but most recently from a book by Eric Metaxas:

Let’s imagine a high-wire artist who has affixed a cable across a dangerous waterfall and then proceeds to walk back and forth across it. A crowd gathers … and upon returning from his jaunt across the taut wire, the man points to a wheelbarrow and asks the crowd whether they believe he can push it all the way across to the other side. Most people believe that he can, so they nod or even shout, “Yes!” The high-wire artist singles out a man in the front of the crowd, who seemed most confident in answering affirmatively. “You, sir!” the high-wire artist says to the man. “You say you believe that I can wheel the barrow across the cataract. Is that true? Do you really believe it?” “I do!” the man says. “Even with a heavy load inside the barrow?” “Why not? Certainly!” “Very well,” the high-wire artist says, “I’m glad to hear it. So please help me to show everyone else that I can do it by getting into the barrow!” Suddenly whether the man really and truly believes this can be done has become terribly personal. If he does, he should have no difficulty getting into the barrow. But if he doesn’t really and truly believe, he will never get into it. Isn’t that precisely the issue with what we believe? We say we believe that Jesus has defeated death on the Cross. … But God knows whether we actually believe it or are just claiming to. He sees it by our actions. God asks us: “Will you trust Me with your income?
Will you trust Me with your life? Will you trust Me with your spouse’s life or your child’s life? …” (Metaxas, Letter to the American Church, 69)
Jesus holds out his hand to you today and invites you to an exciting journey ahead. He just has one question, “Do you trust me?” May God bless and keep you each day in the trust that clings to Christ alone. Even when our trust may be weak and fading, Christ Jesus is faithful and true, and he will even help us in our fear and unbelief.