These are some words on fear and faith from my “pastor resume” (AKA, Personal Information Form) for the Presbyterian Church. What do you think? How have you seen this played out?
Fear blocks much of what God seeks to do in our churches and lives. God says, “Fear not,” but we willingly choose fear over faith. When we choose fear, we miss out on God’s blessings. Even Jesus himself “could do no acts of power” in his own hometown where he was “amazed by their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6) Fear leads to an assumption of scarcity – we tightly grasp what we have, fearing that no more may come. In fear, we see God’s expansive mission as “impossible,” trading it for mere survival. In fear, we mistrust others and take sides rather than working together for God’s solutions.
Jesus exemplifies “faith over fear” and, through the Holy Spirit, God has given us the ability to choose faith over fear too. When God’s people walk in faith, we change lives and communities.
In faith we can assume abundance. When we act in faith, doing what God calls us to do, God provides the necessary resources – this is true for churches and generous individuals. Our needs are met, God’s work gets done, and we find ourselves “happy” and in “a land of delight.” (Malachi 3:7-12)
In faith, we can do amazing work – empowered by the Holy Spirit. We live out the Great Commandments (love God and neighbor – Luke 10:27) and the Great Commission (baptize and make disciples – Matthew 28:18-19) in fulfilled and joyful life together – even when facing challenges or crises. We don’t merely survive; we thrive as we see that God “is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)
In faith, we can work together in love and trust – seeing each other as brothers and sisters, we love, forgive, and become Christian community. “Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).
We “can do all things through him who strengthens [us],” (Philippians 4:13) I love working with God to build a culture of “faith over fear” in a community that is willing. My job – through preaching, teaching, coaching, and facilitating – is to lift up those ideals, remind the congregation and leaders that their faith in God is justified, and equip people for powerful ministry in church and world. To do that, I work to stay centered, grounded, and balanced – letting the Holy Spirit lead and empower me and encouraging others to do the same. As fear subsides and faith grows, God does amazing things. And we are blessed beyond measure.