The world around us likes to portray faith and fear differently than the Bible reveals them to be.
To the world, faith is a series of beliefs that can be defined or it’s a sentiment similar to hope, but we know from 2 Corinthians 4:13 that faith is a spirit. The Apostle Paul reveals that we as believers ought to persevere like Jesus did because we have “the same spirit of faith”. Faith – real Faith – is a spirit, and we know from the scriptures that the spirit of faith endeavors to influence us to act like Christ: like GOD.
The world treats fear like it’s an emotion, and while there are sentiments that are connected to it, it is much more than a simple feeling. 1 Timothy 1:7 tells us that fear is a spirit and, more importantly, it is not from GOD.
Another thing we can gather from the truths in these verses, and in others, is that both these spirits are present throughout life. This is a big deal because they operate the same way; by influencing you to act – to follow after – them.
The spirit of faith wants to influence you to act in faith.
The spirit of fear wants to influence you to act in fear.
Yes, faith is very similar to hope and can work in life the same way hope would. Yes, fear is unmistakable and can be impossible to ignore sometimes, because your physical body can literally respond to it instinctively. It’s deeper than that, though. In any given situation, you’re being worked on by the spirit of faith and by the spirit of fear, and the determining factor is strength or which one is stronger.
There’s a song by Cody Jinks I came across recently that says, “There’s a black and a white wolf in me, And I live and I die by which one I feed.” Though the song may not entirely line up with scripture, the concept expressed throughout the song has some truth to it. There is nothing assured in this life and a good life can quickly be ruined by evil, just like an evil life can be turned around by goodness (Rom. 12:21). Because we are human and we live in this physical realm, good and evil live here with us; we experience goodness and evil here, but they come from somewhere else. Good things may be done in this physical world, but goodness, itself, is a spiritual thing. Evil and darkness may be experienced in this natural life, but wickedness, itself, is a spiritual thing. Both goodness and wickedness are in attendance at every moment throughout your life.
Now, there are many things you cannot control in life, but you can control how strong the spirit of faith is in your life and how strong the spirit of fear is in your life.
How do you control how strong a spirit is?
You decide whether or not to feed it.
Nourishment is the foundation of strength. If someone is malnourished, they do not possess the strength they could if they were properly nourished. The same is true of the spirits that influence you. If the spirit of faith has been fed more often than the spirit of fear in your life, then that spirit of faith will have a strong influence over you. If the spirit of fear has been fed more often than the spirit of faith in your life, then that spirit of fear will have a strong influence over you. That’s why that line in that country song jumped out at me: “I live and I die by which one I feed.” It’s true.
If faith is influencing me more than fear is, then my life will be full of faithful actions and even GOD Himself, because faith is what makes GOD happy (Heb. 11:6). If fear is influencing me more than faith is, then my life will be full of fearful actions and I’ll never experience peace or rest or be pleasing to God (Heb. 3:10-11).
Take inventory of your life and ask yourself, “Which has a stronger influence in my life: the spirit of faith or the spirit of fear?”
If you don’t like which one has more influence in your life, then take a look at what you’re feeding on. Are you taking in more Breaking News than you are the Good News? Are you starving your inward man of the Word of GOD and gorging your soul and body on lusts and laziness? Are you practicing giving into the influence of faith on a regular basis, or do you just give in to fear’s influence all the time?
Faith and fear endeavor to influence you in every area of your life.
Which one are you feeding?