“When I am afraid, I will put my trust and faith in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Fear is an emotion triggered by the perception of danger or misfortune. Unfortunately, it’s an unpleasant emotion all of us experience—no one lives their whole life free of fear. It’s been said that our emotions make a good servant, but a poor master. In other words, our emotions must not be what controls our actions. We must master our emotions rather than allowing our emotions to master us.
The instruction, “fear not,” appears more than 80 times in the Bible. God warns us about the negativity involved in fear, but if we all experience fear from time to time, what are we to do? How do we manage the emotion of fear instead of allowing it to manage us?
In Psalm 56:3, David tells us what he does when he’s afraid. When he feels fear, he intentionally chooses to put his faith in God. Fear is an emotion, but faith is a choice. We can choose faith in spite of our fear.
Our emotions are not in charge of our actions. Our feelings are not in charge of our decisions. God is in charge, and when we choose to act based on our faith in God, we reduce fear and elevate faith.
Remember the 12 spies who were sent to scope out the Promised Land in Numbers, chapter 13? God had promised to give the land to the Israelites, and God’s promises are sure. Yet 10 of the 12 spies reported from a fear-based perspective. They emphasized the danger and seeming impossibility of possessing the land. Their view of the land was skewed by fear goggles.
Joshua and Caleb saw the same powerful inhabitants and the same fortified and strong cities. They very likely felt the same fear as the other 10 spies. But they put their emotion aside and answered out of their faith in God’s word. They encouraged the people to go at once and take the land. They refused to look through fear goggles. They viewed the Promised Land through goggles of faith.
Feeling afraid isn’t a sin. It’s just an emotion. The problem arises when we give in to the emotion and choose our action based on fear rather than faith. We don’t walk through life wearing our fear goggles and being mastered by fear. No, we walk through life wearing goggles of faith and we act based on belief and trust in God’s word and God’s character.
Fear is a terrible master. God is a loving, wise, powerful, and faithful master. When we are afraid, let’s follow David’s example and put our trust and faith in God.
Lord, you see what’s going on in my life right now. You know what’s going on in the world. Sometimes it seems so chaotic that fear almost overwhelms me. In times when I am anxious and afraid, help me choose to act on my faith in you rather than acting on the emotion of fear. I don’t want to be controlled by fear. I want to be led by faith. Lord, I give my entire life to you. Help me walk each day in faith. In Jesus’s name, amen.