As we read the letters to the Thessalonian believers we see a continued message of “do not fear” and “strengthen your faith”. Fear and faith.
The early church had much they could fear: persecution, jail, lack of understanding, lack of trained teachers available daily, lack of access to scripture, misinformation, lies and outright attacks by Satan. But Paul again and again strives to set their mind on one thing – the goal – the second coming of Christ.
I recently read a small book called The Shark and the Goldfish by Jon Gordon. It is a motivational book targeted to help people who are going through major life changes (such as loss of a job). The basic message is that what we sometimes see as falling off the edge of a cliff is nothing more than one side of a wave picking us up and putting us somewhere else that God needs us to be.
The reason I bring it up is this dialogue between Sammy (the mentor) and Gordy:
“Do you know what fear and faith have in common?” asked Sammy.
“The letter F,” answered Gordy.
“Nice try,” said Sammy. “What fear and faith have in common is a future that hasn’t happened yet. Fear believes in a negative future. Faith believes in a positive future. Interestingly enough, both believe in something that hasn’t happened yet.”
An interesting thought that living in fear requires just as much belief as living in faith. But for fear the power behind that belief is from within man’s nature and darkness that dwells there. We even say, being afraid is just human nature. Whereas the power behind the belief in faith – in a positive future – is God’s Holy Spirit.
Fear isn’t something to be battled and overcome. It is a wrong perspective to be replaced with the correct one: Faith. You don’t need more belief to have faith, just different belief.