Fighting Fear With Humility

Making decisions can be a painful process. There are people for whom decision making is a skill, faced with an issue or even an opportunity and instinct kicks in and it's done. I do not fall into that category, the decision process is a long and winding road.

Fact is, more often than not, we may know what the right decision is, but there are always those little deterrents that make it hard to take the necessary steps. In short, the dilemma is fear, but many things can lead to fear.

Fear to me is the absence of faith, you can't do the two things at the same time, it's like trying to serve two masters, they live on the opposite end of the spectrum; to act by one is to evade the other.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other...
— Matthew 6:24

Truth is, in life things are rarely ever that black and white, they exist in the grey. It is a battle everyday to choose one or the other and fear is a very powerful and intimidating foe, who knows just how to push on the right buttons.

Sometimes reading the bible is a big 'wowuu'. The men of faith were truly tried and tested and it is so hard to imagine taking the leaps of faith they did.

Abraham was so faithful and obedient, that after the impossibly long wait for a son, he was trusting enough in God that he could carry Isaac and bound him up ready to make that sacrifice to God.

It's impossible to talk about faith and not talk about Job. Job was living a good, honorable life, obedient and in service of God and simply because Satan challenges God, that Job isn't in fact good but only obedient for sake of reward, God takes everything and everyone from him. The same God that Job had learned was a fair God, took it all away when Job did nothing to deserve it and yet Job still praised God in spite of it all.

Job-like faith.

But it's like, let's get serious, how real could these people be, if I were Abraham I would quickly doubt that it was this good God asking me to sacrifice my son, I mean why would God ask that of me. The same way we get confronted with situations and if we don't see the profit in it, it's like well, will God want this for me. The world has programmed us to see the cost of things and let that overwhelm our vision.

It's hard to leave something that you are comfortable in to challenge yourself where the reward is unsure. Risks are scary, when it comes to crunch time, how can you leave a 9-5 where there is a sure income to chase something unsure, you have responsibilities. I spent time in prayer lately on going forward with certain things in my life I believe God has purposed me to, but taking the risks that come with it is not easy.

Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
— Matthew 6:26-27

It's easy to read the bible and see these words of guidance and encouragement, but action is a lot harder. The Bible will tell you to trust in God and not worry about where your next meal is coming from, but the world will tell you it is irresponsible. Faith by the world's standards is foolishness and its hard to kick that feeling sometimes. How do we get to the point where obedience comes to us like it did to Abraham, Moses, Job and Joseph?

I want to take another look at Job, because we talk so much of 'Job like faith' and his trust in the Lord in spite of his circumstance, but it is deeper than that. And as long as we talk about that, with talking about his moments of doubt and His questioning God we make it seem like fear means we are failing.

Job was good, obedient, diligent, yes after he lost everything he continued to praise God but that wasn't all. The grey existed for Job too. Job doubted God, went through a season of resentment towards God, he questioned God, 'What did I do to deserve this? God can't be Just!' His friends accused him of all sorts of sins, that God is just so you must have done something and Job denied it all, Job was innocent yet he was suffering. Job ultimately challenged God to explain himself, accusing Him of being unfair and corrupt, he was tired. And when God came to answer Job, there was no direct answer but in fact this elaborate long story, where God showed Job the vastness of the world, and asks Job if he could run or understand it for just one day, showing him how detailed the universe is, so much so we could never understand, but God does. God then shows Job two beasts, beasts that would kill without a thought, and says these aren't evil they are part of my design.

See, from Job's perspective, God is not just - but God works from a grand perspective we could never understand. The wisdom of God is beyond anything we could understand and this is what Job comes to understand. The good things he had were not reward for his obedience and the things he lost were not punishment either. So when Job gets double of everything back, he knows that this is not reward or anything I am deserving of.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 3:5-6

So this is what Job-like faith is, it is humility, accepting that no matter what comes, good or bad, we can trust in the wisdom of God. It is not chasing reward or expecting it. So obedience to God has to come from a place of service, not expecting anything. It means putting aside worldly expectations, financial gain or reputation. If we can accept this and put these worldly expectations aside, taking the leaps of faith will become easier.