Faith Overcomes The Fear Factor

HEBREWS 11: & 6

JESUS CHRIST has inspired faith and incited holy boldness in the lives of countless heroes of the faith. Today He invites you to join their ranks.

His invitation to “Take up your cross and follow Me” is an invitation to enter on the path of exciting service and walk it by faith and not by sight.

If you want exemption from boredom and immunity for a mundane life, then unreservedly accept His invitation. The Bible is replete with examples of individuals who took God at His word and obeyed. You see, whatever else faith is, it is obedience to the Word of God.

Hebrews 11 lists names of many who appropriately appear in the annals of faith. The personalities listed in Hebrews 11 are not fugitives from a wax museum. They are real life people like us who simply believed God and acted. They are our heroes of the faith. Those listed in this “Smithsonian of Faith” await contemporary heroes who will dare join them.

Perhaps the late Dean W. R. Inge put his finger of indictment on us when he wrote: “Christianity is a creed for heroes and we are harmless, good-natured little people who want everybody to have a good time.”

Only when we respond to this creed like our heroes before us with faith does Christianity become for us, and those who observe us, a mighty force which gives dynamic radiance to life.

Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Then this theme is continued in verse 6, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

Doubt is an attack on God’s character.

Faith is mere confidence in God’s character. It is simply belief that God means what He says and will do what He promises.

Belief and trust are two words used frequently in Scripture to identify how we should respond to the Lord.

One Hebrew word for “believe” is AMEN. It means “to use God as a foundation; to lean on Him.”

The word for “trust” is BATAK. It was originally a wrestling term meaning to “body-slam” an opponent. Applied to our faith life, it means to pick up your problems and body-slam them before the Lord.

Who have you been pleasing? Yourself? A peer group? I invite you to come on a venture with me and resolve no longer to be a marginal, rootless person.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for…”

In the fall of 1940 during World War II, the German Air Force, in an average of 200 planes per raid, bombed London for 57 consecutive nights. Many nights after the raids Prime Minister Winston Churchill could be seen in his suit and derby picking his way through the crowds, encouraging his countrymen.

Following VE day in 1945, Sir Winston was asked what he had done during those interminable nights of the bombing. He responded that he had retired to his bomb shelter below Piccadilly Square and there before a map of Europe planned the invasion of Germany.

That is faith: Making plans for victory while the enemy is at once building weapons for a siege by land and reigning terror from above. Maybe that is where you are now. Perhaps you have been driven into your bomb shelter in face of fearful circumstances that inspire doubt. What a wonderful time to plan for your spiritual victory!

The Lord finds great pleasure in His children who in faith dare valiantly and move to the farthest boundaries of their potential for Him, and absolutely refuse to live in the twilight of mediocrity. Such faith pleases God. Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11: 30 refers to one of our heroes of the faith, Joshua. It says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down…”

Faith is intangible. That is, it can’t be understood by the five senses. Faith is invisible.

Walls are tangible. That is, they can be seen and experienced. By the intangible force of faith, tangible formidable walls of a great city fell. Those people who followed Joshua had such faith that they even hoped the walls would fall and they did.

Turn to the Book of Joshua, chapter 1. Herein God is commissioning Joshua to take up the conquest of the land where Moses left off. He is challenging Joshua and the people to act in faith.I. FAITH SEES POTENTIAL Verse 8B
Starting in verse 6 the Lord reassures Joshua with truth that is applicable to us today. READ VERSES 6 – 8.

Knowing us to be slow learners, the Lord repeats the essence of the message three times in verses 6, 7, and 9, each time expanding the sphere of encouragement. The last time he adds the exhortation not to fear or be dismayed.

Fear has been our nemesis ever since Adam hid himself.

“Dismayed” means to lose heart and quit. Walter Chrysler observed: “To comfort a dismayed spirit is as difficult as raising the dead.” Well, our Lord did even that.

God says in essence, “Obey my word by faith and I will make your way prosperous, and you will have good success.'” The prosperity and success of which our God spoke was potential and conditional. It was dependent upon keeping His word and doing His will. Find His will and look neither to the left nor the right. Just do it!

When you look to the left or the right, fear takes over. Cervantes wrote: “Fear hath many eyes.” The Bible appeals to us to have a focused vision. Look away from everything that is not Jesus.

Dr. Smiley Blanton wrote: “Anxiety is the great modern plague. Thousands upon thousands of people either destroy their lives or frustrate them because of their preoccupation with anxiety, worry, or fear.”

Faith wasn’t oblivious to the walls of Jericho. Joshua saw them, but He understood God’s will and acted in faith.

We have tried to turn faith into a no-risk policy and it isn’t. The people who followed Joshua had no tangible proof that when they started walking around those walls of Jericho they would fall. By faith they put on their sandals and started walking. They became doers and not hearers only.

Faith has confidence in God’s character even when His actions seem strange or even more so when He seems not to act. The Psalmist affords us a matchless example of consistent faith. Before we read this passage, an explanation is needed. Some tend to think passages such as we are about to read are theory only. Actually these verses were birthed out of extreme adversity. This adversity may not be so different from that experienced by you now. The Psalmist wrote in 119:71:

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”

He follows this theme in 119:75: “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

That is faith where it hurts — when it helps. Faith sees the potential good that can come at the most difficult time.

Through Joshua God said to His people, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”

This is Joshua’s way of saying the battle is the Lord’s and He will not fail us, but WE by faith must use all reasonable foresight in carrying on His work.

In addition to physical provisions for which they were responsible, there were spiritual responsibilities. Joshua 3: 5

notes the appeal: “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

III. FAITH TAKES POSSESSION Verse 11B “possess the land”
The chosen land was close at hand, but it had to be possessed.

An illustration of how active faith works is found in the way John used the Greek word for “believing” in his gospel and epistles. It occurs 98 times and with only one exception it is a verb. That means believing in Christ is an active trust and response.
God was “giving” them the land, but they had to “possess” it. They had to act. Doing so required faith. They had confidence in God’s character. That is, God meant what He said and had the capacity to provide what He promised.

Divine operation often waits on human cooperation. God honors us by allowing us to be in partnership with Him.

The initial and the ultimate acts of faith relate to our salvation. READ EPHESIANS 2: 8, 9.

Our salvation is predicated upon God granting us His favor without us meriting it. It begins with our simple knowledge of our need and Christ’s capacity.

The next step involves our willful intellectual acceptance of these facts.

It is consummated by our faith, resulting in a wholehearted commitment to Christ. It is glad consent for Christ to cleanse you of all sin by His shed blood of Calvary. When by faith you trust Him and repentantly receive Him as Savior, you are born again. Christ is in that instant present in your life. Thereafter He must daily be allowed to be president of your life, that is, allowed to govern your life.

Once you are saved you must never by force or neglect allow Him to be dormant in your life. Rather than dormant, He must be dominant. Any area of your life not occupied by Christ can become a bridgehead for Satan. Any area of your life not under His control is a danger point.

He saves us by grace through faith. If you have trusted Him for the biggest thing in your life — salvation, surely you can have faith enough to trust Him for all else.

Romans 8: 32 reminds us: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.”

He will give you salvation, but you must possess it by faith.