Choosing Faith over Fear
We’ve all likely heard some iteration(s) of these statements, and others, with increased frequency over the past month: “these are unprecedented times,” “this is a fluid situation,” or, “we haven’t seen the worst of this yet.” While some of these statements may feel true in the moment, we must allow what we know about God to dictate how we feel about God. The Bible holds incredible truths in stories of men and women who have chosen faith or fear when faced with the worst, unprecedented, fluid situations. We will take a brief look at one of these stories in Matthew 10 to see a few ways our Lord Jesus equipped His followers to choose faith over fear:
Matthew 10:26–31–26 says,
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[h] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[i] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
This story hits as Jesus is sending out the twelve Apostles to proclaim, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). He gives them instructions and encouragement, but also gives them a warning that persecution will come at the hands of “men, governors and kings.” Even after what feels like a long discouraging list of warnings, He tells them to “have no fear.”
Lately, it feels like we’ve been hit with several lists of long, discouraging warnings. However, we can choose to take Jesus at His Word and choose faith over fear in these three ways:
💡 Choose to Recognize Light Always Dispels Darkness (vv.26–27)
Jesus’ first reason to choose faith was to tell the Apostles that “nothing is covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known” (v.26b). He is telling His Apostles that He is the Light and He has given His word to them to “proclaim on the housetops” (v.27b). They don’t have to be fearful of the darkness in the world, because they have the Light! Five chapters earlier, Jesus told His disciples “you are the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14a), and the same is true today for those of us who are “in” Christ. We are called to be the Light in dark places, and we must choose to recognize that even just a little light can illuminate the darkest of places.
🏆 Choose to Revel in Victory (v.28)
The second reason to choose faith is the trust we can have in our all-powerful God and Father. Jesus told His followers not to be afraid of physical pain (or even death), but rather, to “fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (v.28b). This was incredibly strong language coming from Jesus, but He wanted to provide crystalline clarity regarding who was ultimately in control. He is saying that it would be better to be physically punished in this world for the sake of obedience, rather than physically and spiritually for all of eternity! Men, the world and even viruses can only harm our physical bodies, but unfaithfulness to the call of God would result in an eternity separated from Him.
Since we know that God has this power, we can know that the victory has already been won for His purposes. This doesn’t give us cause or license to be flippant or dismissive about the people or things in our lives that don’t necessarily reflect God’s victory over sin, death and hell; rather, this knowledge allows us to walk in freedom, security and holy revelry in God’s victory He has won for Himself (and us)!
💎 Choose to Remember You’re Valuable to God (vv.29–31)
The final way Jesus instructs His followers to choose faith over fear in this passage is an encouragement to know your worth. Jesus uses an illustration about sparrows (or tiny birds of relatively little worth) to drive His point home. Only once you’ve established the value of something can the appropriate amount of protection be given to it. God has established His children’s value by sending His son Jesus to pay the penalty of death on the cross for our sin. That means we are incredibly valuable to God! Don’t forget that!
We can choose faith over fear today because God is not surprised or shaken by our “unprecedented times!” We can choose faith over fear today because no matter “how fluid our situation is” the Rock won’t move! We can choose faith over fear today because “our worst” was defeated on the cross guaranteeing for those who are “in” Christ that the best is yet to come!